3. Enjoying Your Activities

There are many types of activities available to you. Obviously whatever you choose, you should enjoy. But some exercises offer greater benefits than others do.

Aerobic Conditioning

If you want to cut through the fat fast there is nothing like a good aerobic workout. An aerobic or cardiovascular activity uses oxygen to increase the blood circulation. This makes your heart pump harder and become more efficient. In addition to trimming off the fat, there are tremendous benefits from safely getting your heart rate up. You can expect to feel better and improve your overall general health. It can lower blood pressure, strengthen the lungs, lower cholesterol, and help prevent heart disease and other medical illnesses. The energy aerobics can give you is dynamic.

I have often said that if most people would give it a try they would never want to quit. The high from a good aerobic workout can help you manage stress better. For maximum benefits, do some form of aerobics three times a week for a minimum of twenty to thirty minutes, moving your large muscles at an even pace. Some aerobic activities include jogging, fast walking, biking, dancing, skating, and skiing. It is important to monitor your heart rate to keep your workout both safe and effective.


Aerobic means “with oxygen” and denotes activities where oxygen demand can be met continuously during performance, such as walking or jogging. Anaerobic means “without oxygen” and denotes activities where the muscles are using oxygen faster than the heart and lungs can deliver it. These activities include quick stop-and-go movements, like in baseball, and tennis. You’ll need plenty of both to be in shape.

Everyday Moderate Activities

Everyday moderate activities that are low in intensity may not be considered aerobic but are still very beneficial. Consider doing activities such as gardening, cleaning house, raking leaves, mowing the grass, playing with children, and leisurely walking to help you keep moving. Although these activities may not seem that you are doing much, they are just as important as aerobic activities for overall health and weight maintenance. Accumulation of these types of activities adds up to more calories burned overall. Remember that you need to accumulate at least thirty minutes of activity a day for MyPyramid to work.

Strengthening Exercises

Exercises that include weight bearing or resistance training should also be a part of your exercise routine. Resistance training helps strengthen muscles and bones; improves overall conditioning, endurance, and balance; and assists in preventing injuries. Strength-training exercises should be incorporated into regular exercise programs at least twice per week. You want to be sure to work on all your major muscle groups in the upper body, lower body, and core. The core includes the abs and your lower back.


Muscle weighs more than fat, so building up muscle can initially add a few pounds rather than taking them off, but in time this will reverse. So go for the burn! Muscle sure is better than fat, isn’t it?

Even walking is considered a form of resistance training. If you don’t have weights you can use cans, water bottles, or inexpensive stretchy tubing.

Flexibility Exercises

Exercises that improve flexibility such as stretching, yoga, and Pilates are those that help to move your joints in all areas of motion. You really need to stretch if you want to prevent injuries. If you have any aches and pains in your joints, stretching can help you to move your body more freely. Stretch the muscles in your shoulders, knees, elbows, hips, and ankles. I even stretch my toes. Stretching helps elongate the muscles and connective tissues. Hold each stretch for at least twenty to thirty seconds. Do not bounce but hold the stretch. Stretch whenever you can. I do in front of the TV, in my car, right now as I’m writing, and at the gym. Experts have conflicting opinions as to whether you should stretch before or after strength training. I favor a five-minute cardio warm-up, followed by my workout, and ending with a stretch.

4. Rest, Relax, Reduce

For optimum workout results you have to rest. I don’t mean take a nap in the middle of your home workout. Wouldn’t that be a nice treat? Follow these suggestions:

  • Make sure you get your sleep so that the body functions at its best.
  • Never work the same muscle group two days in a row with weights. For example, if you worked the chest and back on Wednesday you would rest those muscles on Thursday. On Thursday you could choose to work other muscle groups such as the lower body. It is on the day of recovery that the strengthening and firming really occurs.
  • Be sure to rest in between sets of repetitions. If you do eight arm curls, stop and rest for thirty seconds before you do the next set of eight.
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