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mindful minute

We are freed and imprisoned by our thoughts

Mindful Fitness

 Written by Mark Fontaine

 Exercise does more than just tone your body, it boosts self-esteem, improves mood and revs up metabolism. So suck it up and get moving! 

 Set a goal. Working towards something helps motivation.  Make your goal realistic.  If you have been a couch potato for over a decade, don’t set yourself up for failure by having a goal of running a marathon by Easter.

 Record your progress. Write down what you have achieved regularly. Seeing how far you have come is a great motivator.

 Start small. Don’t over do it. You may want to consult your doctor. Stay at around 70 percent of your maximum heart rate at first. As the weeks progress and you become stronger and more fit, begin to up your intensity for best results.

Accommodate your body clock and schedule.  Are you a morning person? Do you have childcare obligations in the morning or after work?

Be consistent.  Say to yourself, “I eat every day so I need to burn calories every day.”

Make physical activity fun. Listen to music.  Run on a scenic trail.  Watch a favorite television program while you ride an exercise bicycle or walk on a tread mill.

If you find yourself tired of the same old exercise routine, chances are your body is too. It’s time to switch things up if you want to see results.  Do you need to enlist a friend to push you to workout when you really don’t want to and vice versa? Is it time to invest in a workout video game, or purchase a martial arts, yoga or pilates DVD?  Don’t be afraid to mix things up.

Work around the weather. You may need to run before sunrise or sunset to beat heat.  You may need to walk in a mall to avoid cold or rain. Do not let unfavorable weather sideline your program.

Eat mindfully.  It takes about 30 minutes on a treadmill to burn off the calories in a donut. Eat a couple donuts and you could be running for a very long time. Regular workouts will increase your metabolism and help you burn off even more calories between workouts. Do not exercise without proper nutrition.  If you workout on an empty stomach, you will burn muscle as opposed to fat.

Gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Work toward 85 percent of your maximum heart rate for optimal results.

Throw in some circuit training. This is an exercise technique that uses a series of moves in rapid succession without any rest in between. For example: push-ups into squats followed by jumping jacks. This method allows your workouts to attack several muscle groups as well as strengthen and burn fat at the same time.

Another way to intensify is to try incorporating high intensity interval training. This simply means working short 30 to 60 second bouts of cardio into your strength training routine.

It is very important to be mindful of your form when exercising.  This will not only help prevent injuries, it is the key to getting the results you want quickly. Think quality over quantity. Take the time to perfect your form.

Remember, six pack abs are not about crunches. You cannot spot reduce fat. The best way to get washboard abs is by burning the fat off on top of the muscle through nutrition, cardio, and total body resistance training.

Are you pressed for time?  Each little thing helps.  Can you squeeze in 3-10 minute blocks into at least 5 days a week?  Be creative. 

Choose a nutrition plan that fits your body type.  It should be adjustable to your lifestyle so that you won’t get off track with your goals.  Be mindful that nutrition and fitness go hand in hand.  If you are not eating right you will not achieve the best results.

Buy clothing and shoes that are comfortable.  Good shoes may be expensive but are essential.  You may want to extend the life of your expensive shoes by limiting their use to indoor workouts. 

Never get down on yourself if you suffer a setback. We all skip a workout here or there.  The key is to not fall into a pattern of avoidance.  If you are feeling particularly tired, sore or sick, could you at least manage a 15 minute stretch routine?  If so, do it.  At least you will have done something and will have some momentum going forward.

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