EXERCISE

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Exercising has a lot to do with the way we look. It not only helps in trimming us down, but it improves our blood circulation. It makes our skin look better. It also boosts our energy when done regularly.

When we exercise, we have to strike a balance between intensity and duration. For best results we have to find a pace which allows us to sustain the activity for 30 minutes. We're better off walking at a moderate pace for 30 minutes rather than trying to jog and ending up exhausted after 10 minutes.

For those who have tried and failed to find that 30 minutes of your day to devote to exercise- here's good news: A Stanford University study shows that by staggering workouts throughout the day, we can achieve the same benefits that would result from a single, longer workout. Exercise spurts of 10 minutes 3 times a day enable people to reap the benefits of exercise- a healthier heart, lower risk of osteoporosis and greater longevity-without having to take a big chunk out of a busy schedule. A sample workout would go like this: Jump rope in the morning before your shower, climb stairs at lunch time , then take a brisk after dinner walk, or do sit ups while watching the TV news broadcasts.

Actually , according to Sidney Filson, author of Jump into Shape, 5 minutes of rope jumping a day is a great way to get in shape and stay that way. Five minutes of jumping rope is equal to a set of tennis or nine holes of golf. When jumping, breathe through your nose at all times, jump and land as lightly as possible, and always come down on the balls of your feet.

Another study showed that 75 % of those who exercised in the morning stuck with their routines as compared with only 1/4 of the people who work out in the evening. Morning exercisers were less apt to run into obstacles that forced their evening counterpa rts to put off their workouts. The morning exercisers also enjoyed better self esteem and a positive mental attitude that lasted all day, which encouraged them to keep at it. You can start with stretching in bed and maybe you'll have the energy and enthusiasm to keep going.

If you are more conscious about your need to exercise, you will find many opportunities during the day to firm your buttocks, stomach, arms, etc. Just standing in line at the supermarket you can contract your buttocks, and tighten the abdomen. Or to exerc ise thighs you can stand ta ll and tighten and release knees again and again. What I do is while watching TV, I do sit ups on the bed, or while reading I do all sorts of exercises for the arms, etc. . I also run around with Josh, my toddler,-- playing basketball with him, or running while I put away his toys and books- just finding opportunities to add movement to my day. If you ride the bus, there are also several exercises you can do to tighten stomach muscles, release neck tension, etc.

The healthiest all around conditioner for feet and legs is walking. To use walking as a shape-up exercise, you'll need to walk about 5 miles a day. An average adult walks about 1 1/2 to 2 miles each day so you just need to be more conscious to walk more and whenever possible. If you're walking to lose weight, your goal should be walking 15 minutes 5 days a week, then increase gradually.

Another thing I want to point out is posture: our posture dictates how good our clothes look on us. If you slouch, even if your clothes fit you, even if it is the most flattering color on you, even if it is the most beautiful dress, you will still not look the way you planned to look.

If you stand up straight and imagine yourself hanging from a string running from your chest bone to the ceiling like a puppet with your shoulders down- that is the correct posture. Maybe you can practice doing this in front of a mirror if you have a prob lem with your posture. When you walk, practice also swinging your leg from the hip joint rather than from the knee. The stride will be smooth and elegant.

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