By Lisa Leath Turpin, Health & Wellness Coach
This is the season for Thanksgiving—that is giving thanks and being thankful. Last year I wrote that I was thankful for movement, aka. being able to move. This year I’m thankful for that again. Use it or lose it, as it’s said, but oh so true. If you find yourself a little more achy or feeling weak, you can do something about it. You have much more control over how you feel than you realize. Technology, longer work hours, and larger life demands make taking care of yourself challenging. But just like an athlete methodically and specifically trains for their event, starting small and building to their personal best for competing, so must everyone. If life or work demands more, then the worst thing you can do is stop moving or exercising, because you will become weaker and weaker and life will become even more cumbersome. An individual that follows a good exercise routine will have much more stamina than someone who doesn’t. That’s the very definition of why we exercise. We put our bodies through challenging actions (stress) to train it to handle any actions (stress) that life dishes out. If I ask you how you would like to feel, I’m pretty sure you would say: To feel energized, strong and with stamina regardless of your age. So, any movement is good. Start small, set realistic goals, don’t get too down on yourself if you fail to meet your expectations, and JUST MOVE! Regardless of any limitations you have, use modifications and rise above. If one body part is injured or limited, then work the others. Movement = Calorie Burning, period! No matter where you start, you can always progress with time, consistency and determination.
Here are some strength ideas to keep you moving using bodyweight so you can work out anywhere with or without access to a gym, etc. Lunges, Push-ups, lying Bridge Dips, Squats, Side Squats, Side Moving Squats, Dips from a chair or table or stairs, various planks, hyper-extensions (lying face down on the floor), Pilates moves or Yoga. When using body-weight for your workout, you should aim for fairly high reps, i.e. doing as many as you can before you begin losing your form. Start with your major muscle groups which are your Legs/Back/Chest because movements that are meant to target your major muscle groups are compound movements, meaning you have to use a combination of muscles to perform the exercise.
For example: When you want to work your chest, you have to use your arms and shoulders to do so. It’s the same with training your back. So, you might succumb to injury if you work your arms first, fatiguing them out, then ask those same arms to assist in working the chest or back. Legs are a little more resilient, but still probably not smart to fatigue out the hamstrings then ask them to assist in squatting or lunging which is meant to target quadriceps and glutes (thighs & butt). Or Just get out for a walk or bike ride. The beach is an amazing place to exercise, because the extra challenge of the soft sand. Walking in the soft sand alone for a good 20+ minutes will tone your legs and burn calories all over better than just about anything else. Then add push-ups, planks and dips and you have a super good and simple workout.
Holiday Health Challenge: This holiday season I invite you to join me in “Weigh Down to Christmas.” For the next 60 days/9 weeks, let’s see if we can keep our weight the same. The objective is to not gain weight during the holidays. Don’t worry about losing—just don’t gain! Indulge a little ,but also stay active to counterbalance the extra calories. If you’d like an accountability partner, write me at email@example.com.
Tip: Taking a walk after a big meal not only burns calories, but the energy needed for the walk will use up any sugar you ate before it gets stored. This is a great way to help control blood sugar levels. This is not to be confused with vigorous training directly after a meal; that would counterproductive and could be too hard on your system. But a nice walk will help blood sugar and your weight as opposed to sitting on the couch while full.
Fun Healthy Protein Pumpkin Mousse:
Ingredients 60g canned pumpkin puree, 225g nonfat Greek yogurt, 30g vanilla whey protein, 27g fat free cool whip, 12g fat free sugar free cheesecake pudding mix. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least an hour. Add cinnamon, maybe whipped cream, or spice on top and ENJOY!