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Wednesday, January 4

January Jump Start!

January – Jump Start! 
You've been told a million times that exercise is good for you, and it's true.  It's not just those "runner's high" endorphins—regular exercise can actually improve your life in many ways.   

We’re going to focus on the three main areas of exercise, and getting started in all of them!
1.   Cardio
2.   Strength Training
3.   Stretching

Seven Reasons Why You Should Exercise
  • You'll Improve Your Memory – 
    • Thanks to the extra oxygen being cycled, exercise can boost your memory.  Some folks come up with their best ideas while exercising!
  • You'll Have Better Posture - 
    • One of the best ways to fix your posture is to exercise the muscles holding you back.
  • You'll De-Stress - 
    • Got stress?  Exercise is a great way to combat it!
  • You'll Sleep Better - 
    • The best time to work out is in the morning or the afternoon, rather than before bed—if you exercise too closely to bedtime, it can actually have the opposite effect!
  • You'll Have More Energy - 
    • Exercising in the middle of the day can leave you feeling more energetic and productive for the rest of the afternoon.
  • You'll Get Sick Less Often - 
    • People who exercise regularly are half as likely to get a cold than people who don't—I’ll take those odds!
  • You'll Live Longer - 
    • Sitting all day is killing you—and just a bit of regular exercise can stave off the reaper for a while.

Seven Tips for Getting Off on the “Right Foot”
1.   Equipment : Invest in the right clothing and shoes - this will make your exercise more pleasant and help to prevent injury.  A good sports bra, non-chafing outfit, and comfy shoes will mean the difference between keeping at it for ten minutes or an hour.  Get fitted at a specialty store, so that you know which shoes to buy for your foot type.  You can find good deals at Amazon or RoadRunnerSports.
2.   Set a realistic goal : Maybe you want to run a marathon....eventually.  Start small, with a local 5K.  Sign up for it now and start training!  Work your way up from there...10K, half-marathon, etc.
3.   Pace yourself : Warm up with a jog, and then stretch for a bit to get your muscles ready.  Start running slowly and build up your speed.  If you feel lightheaded or dizzy, stop and go at a slower pace the next time.  You will see improvement if you keep it up!
4.   Food is fuel : You shouldn't starve yourself or stuff yourself.  Eat carbohydrates to give you the energy you need for running, and protein to help rebuild muscle afterward.  Don't fall into the trap of thinking that because you are running, you can eat whatever you like!  Eat healthy foods to fuel your wouldn't put nastiness into your car engine and expect it to run, would you?  A great post-run snack bar is the Luna bar, which is high in protein and comes in several flavors.
5.   Water :  When you sweat, electrolytes are lost - so if you're going to be running a very long time, you might consider a sports drink or Nuun tablets.  However, if you're going less than an hour, water is crucial and generally all your body needs for replenishment.
6.   Find the balance : Build your mileage slowly.  Start with one mile and work your way up.  Sure, you can go brag that you ran ten miles yesterday, but if you can't walk for a week afterwards, you're only hurting yourself.  Also, pushing yourself too hard too soon will lead to injury.  At the same time, do push yourself.  If you don't, you'll never get better.
7.   Keep it moving : When it's scorching hot or polar cold; when the world is covered in mud; or when you're just not in the mood to run - mix it up.  Dance, do yoga, strength train, play active games with the kids....keep your body moving to keep your cardio going!

Related Articles :

Stretching will reduce risk of injury and allow you to safely lead an active lifestyle.

How long have you been sitting down where you are right now?  I'm guessing the answer is "a while."  Take a moment to do the desk stretches shown above.  No matter where you work, taking a minute (a few times each day) to stretch will improve your outlook.

Stretching improves circulation and increases blood flow to the muscles.  You can stretch anywhere, but always remember to hold your stretch.  No bouncing!!  For more guidance, try a simple stretching DVD.


Six Things Weight Training Does for You
1.   Helps keep the weight off for good. 
2.   Protects bone health and muscle mass.
3.   Makes you stronger and fitter.
4.   Helps develop flexibility and better body mechanics.
5.   Boosts energy levels and improves your mood.
6.   Boosts metabolism, which translates to more calories burned.

Weight lifting can simply mean lifting your own body weight.  Push-ups, jump squats, lunges, and mountain climbing are all examples of exercises that provide strength training.

A good set of adjustable weights is perfect for the space-crunched home gym.  In a pinch, toning bands work well, too!

Try the arms and legs challenges presented below.  Build upon each challenge for thirty days and watch yourself tighten and tone quickly!
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