New Year's Resolutions: Watching Diet And Exercise
With an abundance of holiday cookies, candies and special dinners, it is easy to see how the waistline can expand during the holidays. Unfortunately these extra pounds can translate into decreased energy and a decline in overall fitness. As evidence, excess body fat has been linked with ailments like coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes and others. Consequently, as we consider New Year's resolutions, we must choose an exercise regimen that we can successfully maintain throughout the year. With the help of an exercise program, it is easier to lose weight or maintain a current weight level.
Decreasing Calorie Intake and Increasing Energy OutputOne of the first keys to successful weight loss is understanding your energy intake each day and balancing that against an energy output. This means looking at how much food you eat each day and evaluating how many calories are subsequently burned up during exercise and daily living. Experts often refer to this as the "energy balance." This means that if you take in more calories in a day than your body needs, the extra calories are stored as fat. If you do not take in enough calories to meet your body's energy needs, your body will utilize the stored fat. Exercise plays a role in this equation because exercise will help ensure that stored fat, rather than muscle tissue, is used to meet the energy needs.
Livening Your LifestyleWith the benefit of modern technologies, many Americans lead a passive lifestyle in their work and recreation environments. But exercise is one of the most important elements for overall fitness. If you don't already have a regular exercise program, start one. If you lead a passive lifestyle, liven it up with more exercise. It is easy to supplement your exercise activities with a host of recreational pursuits such as gardening, bowling or social dancing. You can also put more "steps" into your day by walking to a nearby grocery store, parking several blocks from the office or using the stairs instead of the elevator.
Complementing a Weight Loss Program with ExerciseAs we mentioned earlier, weight loss may represent a #1 priority on the New Year's resolution list. If it does, consider that exercise can help build muscle tissue and reduce body fat. It is important to note that fat does not "turn into" muscle, as is so often discussed. Fat and muscle are completely different and can not be turned into one another. While exercise may stimulate the need for increased intake, the higher level of exercise (or output) will balance the need for increased food. In some instances, vigorous exercise can suppress appetite. Physical activity can also be used as a beneficial substitute for in-between meal snacking, offering a healthy solution to more passive activities.
Tips for A Successful Exercise Initiative
- Adopt a specific plan and write it down.
- Set realistic goals as you go along.
- Keep a log to record progress.
- Include weight in your log.
- Upgrade your fitness program as you progress.
- Recruit support of family and friends.
- Share your success with others.
- Avoid injuries pace yourself.
- Perform appropriate warm-up and cool down.
- Reward yourself.