Thursday, June 19, 2008

Steps for a Better Body

This is an exerpt of an article by Caroline Bollinger of Prevention

Ready to start an exercise program? Just making the commitment is an amazing first step. To ensure success, here are seven surprisingly simple, research-backed strategies that can help you overcome the most common roadblocks to weight loss. They'll motivate you through the ups and downs of any new workout routine, so you'll stick to it and reach all your fitness goals.

1. Learn what "build slowly" means

Be realistic about your abilities. Experts say to progress gradually, but most of us don't know how to translate that into real-life terms — especially those who used to be active but have gotten out of the habit.

2. Keep an activity log

Hands down, lack of time is the number one reason we struggle to keep exercising. Yet studies find we may have more time than we think.

3. Prepare for post-workout hunger

Exercise can boost metabolism for a few hours, but burning more calories can increase your appetite. To avoid the munchies after exercising (and eating back the calories you just burned), try to schedule workouts so that you have a meal within an hour afterward.

4. Be alert to prime drop-out time

About half of new exercisers quit in the first few months, research has found. But support, either one-on-one or in a group, can keep your momentum going. "Getting help specific to your particular issues is key," says Fernstrom.

5. Take breaks

Missed a workout? Don't worry: Your waistline won't notice. Brown University scientists found that people on a 14-week weight loss program who took occasional breaks from working out lost an average of 7 pounds — about the same amount as those who never missed a day. "Just pick up again as soon as you can," says Fernstrom. In the long run, it's the habit, not the individual days that matter.

6. Splurge — then get up and move

One date with a pint (or even two) of ice cream won't doom your weight loss unless you let guilt keep you off track. In fact, French researchers discovered that obese exercisers who bicycled for 45 minutes 3 hours after a high-fat meal metabolized more stored belly fat than those who cycled on an empty stomach.

7. Put the treadmill in a pretty room

If a workout bores you, don't do it. "Research shows that if you enjoy an exercise, you'll stay with it, so keep trying activities until you find something you like," suggests White. Or jazz up a ho-hum workout with music or audiobooks. Just don't try to exercise in some dark, dreary corner of the house.

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