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General Fitness Tips

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      24.08.2009 20:36
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      Take a stroll through the park this time of year and one will see several kinds of people doing their fitness work out. The first kind is the super skinny thin marathon runner with no muscle yet can probably run over 30 miles in a day. Then there's the bulldog bodybuilder physique weight lifter type, the kind of person who has just finished lifting a set of 100KG weights at the gym. Finally there's the over weight kind of person who suddenly decided that they desperately wanted to shift a few pounds for the first time in their life. Most people who go on a fitness program seem to do it to improve their outward appearance, however having taken in part in all kinds of sports and fitness activities it would appear that the amount of exercise one does not correlate to their outward appearance. For example, the weightlifter type actual has a very unnatural and less than optimal physique, muscles lack flexibility, posture is unnatural and as a result there is poor blood circulation around the body. On the other hand the marathon runner has trained their body to run long distances yet their body lacks adequate muscle mass. For this reason, I recommend an exercise program that can be maintained throughout ones lifetime. The most essential is regular walking, at least 2 miles a day. I also recommend general stretching. It's not just about strength and endurance but the body's muscular structure must be optimal. I have friends who never do exercise yet they look in better shape than some people who are in the gym every day. This mainly because they are simply normal weight and their physical structure has good alignment. Regular walking and stretching as well as balanced diet should keep anyone is reasonable shape.

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      13.05.2009 12:27
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      A no nonsense guide to weight loss and general fitness

      "The Internet is for fat people" The words of a friend. Now before you rip into him you to take into consideration that he is in fact an idiot. So with his stupidity ringing in my ears I decided to write this up. It is essentially a no nonsense guide to weight loss and general fitness. I could be all scientific and start quoting facts, percentages and all this other heebeejeebee to make myself sound like I know what I'm talking about but I wont, for two main reasons. One, It bores people And two, I'm not a scientist. --------- Right, with that out of the way I'm going to go and do what I just said I wouldn't and quote some percentages. Losing weight is about 60% diet, 20% weights and 20% cardio. But what exactly are Diet, weights and cardio? Diet: Well a diet isn't what the media portrays it to be, it is in fact just "what you eat regularly". So in my own "insider joke" way I tend to smirk when people are defiant that they are "not on a diet". A diet is not a weight loss program, it is not something builders laugh at, it is not something for fat people, it is not something that celebrities are all on. It is something we are all doing, constantly. Weights: According to the dictionary weights are exercise equipment used for strength training. Which to be fair is quite right, however a weights routine doesn't have to incorporate an 8ft machine that looks something like a torture rack! No sir, weights can be undertaken with anything that has weight for example like a bag of sand, a bag of sugar, a child, a dog, or a small person (although I wouldn't advise the last one, they don't like it when you pick them up) Cardio: Possibly the worst of the three yet the easiest and cheapest to perform! Cardio (meaning cardiovascular exercise) is any form of exercise that benefits the heart. Cardio is essentially Aerobic in nature (meaning it involves oxygen consumption by the body in order to produce energy) and is often and most effectively coupled with long periods of exercise. I.e. running, cycling, swimming and so on. --------- So now that you know what all three are you need to decide how they relate to you. For example ask yourself a few questions. Is my diet healthy? Do I work out hard enough/often enough/at all? Do I do anything cardio in nature? --------- Good Diet bad Diet! Now what I usually get is "How do I know if my diet is healthy?" well you can look at a three basic things. Are you over weight? if you are then chances are you diet isn't up to scratch, if you're one of these rare people that have the perfect diet yet are still overweight then you simply don't move....at all ( as you can see I don't subscribe to this excuse ) What types of foot do you eat? Eating Mac Donald's is not healthy, eating pizza is not healthy, and chewing on large quantities of cheese is unsurprisingly not healthy. Other foods that aren't particularly healthy are chips (fries), ice cream, fizzy drinks (soda), crisps and so on. It doesn't take a genius to work out what is not healthy. Good foods on the other hand are things like brown rice, lean steak (lean means meat that is low in fat), chicken, turkey, whole meal pasta, fish, eggs, oatmeal, or potatoes. Again take into consideration about how much of these you eat. Too much of anything is bad for you. How often do I eat? Not technically diet specific but still important. Three square meals a day was the general rule however this is kinda iffy. I would recommend you eat every 3 hours, now don't go and have dinner every 3 hours, in fact don't have dinner at all! The reason you should eat every 3 hours is to give that vital metabolism a steady boost. Look at it as burning wood at the fireplace, too much wood and you set your house on fire, too little and you die of hypothermia but just the right amount and your sitting pretty. --------- Lifting Weights! The next thing to look at is your weight lifting routine! I can imagine some of the female people reading this thinking "I don't want to be no Amanda Schwarzenegger!" Well ladies let me enlighten you, not only is it incredibly difficult to get to Arnie's size it is also nigh-on impossible for women to do it. Weight lifting is a vital part of getting fit and more muscle means that your body burns more calories. Think of it like a sports car, its big, it's powerful and it eats fuel by the barrel load. You'll benefit from it whoever you are. General consensus suggest Ladies should do more reps (lift more times at a lower weight) and guys should lift heavier with less reps for toned and bulkier physiques respectively. A 10 minute cardio session before lifting weights is a great idea to warm up the body and boost the metabolism. --------- Annoying Cardio! Cardio, the most hated of the three. Cardio is essentially aerobic exercise. You've probably heard of the two types which are Aerobic and Anaerobic exercise. I could write a ten page article on the two but I'm going to keep it simple. Aerobic exercise is generally lower intensity activities performed for longer periods of time. (Running, walking, cycling, swimming) Anaerobic exercise is generally higher intensity activities performed for short periods of time. (Weights or strength training and I think plyometrics are too) To lose weight you should be doing a bit of both, we've covered the anaerobic stuff with the weights but we now need to look at the aerobic aspect. Cardio is hard to advise on because it really doesn't matter what type you do just as long as you keep a good steady intensity for at least 30 minutes a day. Doing say 30-45 minutes at a high tempo on the bike is a good idea but hard, however what exactly is hard? Hard is relevant to the person's fitness, so if you're working yourself at 70 or so percent of your maximum for at least 30-45 minute then that's all you need to do. Anything over 60 minutes is just grinding joints, try not to go over that amount regularly, once or twice is ok but 7 times a week and you'll do yourself an injury and make yourself susceptible to viruses and other afflictions. --------- Some slightly misc issues I wanted to mention were: Fad diets: The low calorie diets I see I the popular women's magazines make me sick, yes they'll work but for how long? Your body is inconceivably intelligent so a five paragraph article stating the simple notion of "eating less" is hardly going to trick it, is it? A few things I noticed about these type of diets and those who are on them Is how fast the weight comes back when your diet is over, the restricted calories will force the body to think there is no food and force it into what is commonly referred to as "starvation mode". When coming off the diet and resuming normal calorie consumption your body will use its aforementioned natural defence to store everything! Just remember the body goes into "starvation mode" a lot faster than it comes out. Another thing I noticed was the inability of these diets to deal with the plateau's of weight loss and fitness. When the body adapts (and believe me it will) the dieter enters what is know as a plateau where weight loss slows down to the point where it almost stops. How do you drop more calories from an already restricted diet? Too low and you'll effect your daily functions and even worse cause serious damage. An effective way to counter act this is to drop calories in stages, say knock 500 off your daily allowance, then in a few weeks when you hit a plateau up it to 750. Water consumption: Water consumption is so ridiculously important that I cant put it into words (which is great for a review...) Your body is made up from about 70% water so please please drink as often as you can, it helps you feel better, flushes out waste products, helps cell renewal, is vital for practically every function and will also help you curb hunger. Anyway that's enough from me, so there it is! A basic guide to something we should all be doing. Its by no means an expert guide aiming to educate the enthusiast but a little bit of help from someone who's been doing it for years. Take care, SB

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        01.05.2008 19:54
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        Stay active

        I would like to share few tips on generall fitness and well being. I think that the stress of modern life and the time prssure that life, family, and work put on us, can only be counterbalanced up to a certain point by the advances of medicine. I believe that the key thing is to keep a healthy body and healthy mind at the same time. In other words, too often we forget what the old Latin used to say "Mens sana in corpore sanum" whicih means, "a healthy mind is found in a healthy body" We need to take care of the food we take, and exercise regularly. We should also try to take in daily light. This is important in winter, when many of us spend too long in the office. We should go out from our office at least 4 times a day during daylight for at least 10 minutes in order to literally "recharge" our batteries.

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          13.04.2008 13:17
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          Keep fit

          How to keep fit? Well, start with the things you eat. We have plenty of bad food on offer in UK. Do not eat at fast food places, do not eat too late and do not use any oil which is not olive oil to cook. And what about exercising? Yes, we should spend at least 30 minutes exercising at least 3 times a week. It is not difficult, even if you do not have access to a gym, you can go swimming, which is a very much low impact sport. It does not make you any harm, and streghten all your body. Cycling is also great, although it may be a problem to do it in UK, when it is cold for many months in the year and it also rains very often. Still, cycling is becoming more and more popular and I recommend it. If you work in an office, take a walk at least for 5 minutes every 90 minutes. Finally, although many of us are partial to a pint or two, we should not overdo with alcohol and only drink it during meals and not without eating

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            12.02.2008 00:20
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            good for yer

            There are three ways to keep one healthy and fit. 1 eat the right thing 2 exercise 3 sleep Eating the right thing Eat a balance diet, meats, fruit, veg etc. For more information read books or do research on the internet. Exercise is second part of keep fit. Walking, running, swimming, playing sports, even vigorous sex is good exercise. Exercise will wake up your body, lose fat, generate muscles and basically make you look younger. Exercise should be approached in organised manner, every day or week should be same, doing too much is bad and doing too little is bad too. Sleep is common sense. All of us need good sleep. I think minimum sleep is six hours if not more. Sleeping allows our brains and body to take a breather. What we eat is what we look like, eat too much and I get fat, eat too less and I look half dead. I find eating different things keeps my appetite up. Exercise gives me the motivation to do other things in life because it helps create stamina and energy which is seriously needed for work and play.

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              10.02.2008 15:58
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              Fitness tips.

              I have a bit os a sweet tooth so it is imporatnt for me to keep in shape both to be healthy but also my job is quite demanding and not only do I have to be fit but also supple as well, fortunately I love dancing so work also gives me some of the exercise I need. Apart from the odd chocolate lapse I do tend to eat healthly and I'm also lucky to have a high metabolism so I do not gain weight even when I do eat more than I should. My first tip is to look at your diet and for me the best thing I ever did was to cut out a lot of red meat from my diet, I tend to eat a lot of salad and stir frys, occasionally I will use pork but more often than not it will just be vegetables in the stir fry. My second tip for fitness is to set up a regime and stick to it, I try and ensure I go swimming at least twice a week and I vary the routine that I do, I also do a couple of gym classes and ensure that I do not just do aerobic work outs but some light weight work as well. The boyfriend tendsto do heavier weights but I joi him for the stomach exercises and general toning while I also do yoga a couple of times a week to help with flexibility and as a form of relaxation.

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                08.02.2008 16:46
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                My personal thoughts on fitness

                I used to hate sport at school so was never taht keen on exercise but by the time I was due to leave school I found that I needed to take more exercise and as such spent a little time trying out a few things to see whta took my fancy. Perhaps my best tip for keeping fit is to find something you really like doing, so many people join the gym because they think that this is the best wa to get fit and then find that they do not enjoy it as it is boring, or they get into a rut and do not like changing what they do. I was lucky because I go to the gym and do the classes which I really enjoy, this means that there is a certain amount of variety to be had as there are different fitness classes to do for all ability and fitness levels. Also the class routines are changed on a regular basis as is the instructors so there is variety, going on a regular basis twice in the week and once at the weekend I have made a few friends and we help each other out with support and sharing the driving sometimes, three of us even went on a spa weekend without the other halves which was great fun. I also play badminton once a week, it is good that these activities are all indoors as it makes going and taking part in the winter a lot easier when the temptation is to stay indoors with a coffee and a big chocolate bar.

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                  06.02.2008 19:02
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                  My routine here should provide you with good ideas of exercises to imrpove your body.

                  It is every man's dream to obtain 6 pack abdominal muscles. I have been working on mine for a while now and they are starting to come through. In my review, I hope to give you the best tips for 6 pack abs as well as a good toning overall. Not only are these exercises for men but for women too, however some may be pushing women a bit much at first! Always start easy and work your way up, and you won't find it as hard but the results will show very well. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My Recommended Routine ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To obtain 6 pack abs, not only do you need to work your stomach muscles a lot, but you need to be fit in general or they will not show! If you have a 'pot-belly'-, then the chances of your abs showing is impossible as there is too much fat and flab over them. So, part of my routine will include general exercise to keep you fit and healthy without putting on weight. Apart from that, my routine goes through a number of different exercises that help to keep you in tone and also strengthen your muscles. Below is a record of my typical daily routine in the way of exercise. I don't always get round to doing it all, but I do make an effort. Running/Swimming **************** Any exercise will do really, but you need to do something to keep you fit in general and to keep you from gaining any weight. I suggest swimming as the BEST exercise, however running is easy as you can do it anywhere and don't need a swimming pool. Make sure you slowly ease yourself into tougher workouts, such as timing yourself and pushing to improve times of the same runs by 10 seconds each time. You can also try doing longer runs or more lengths in a pool for the same amount of time. Always ease yourself into exercise, but stretch yourself to achieve the best you can do. Press-ups ******** At the moment, I do 20 press-ups a day along with all my other exercises. Press-ups help to strengthen the abdominal muscles when you hold yourself in the lower position when your arms are bent for a second. They also work your upper arm muscles, which are used to support your weight when you go down. Start with even 10 a day, or more if you are fitter. I find the best way to do it is to do them slowly and properly and on the last one, I hold it for as long as I can (with my chest touching the floor), until I cannot any longer, and I leave just enough strength to heave myself back up and straighten my arms. This really works your body and holding exercises and returning back to the original position after quick reps is the best way to go about GOOD and EFFECTIVE exercise. The proper way to do press-ups is to have your hands at shoulder width, just below your shoulders, straightened. Your backside is kept down, in level with your back. Your legs are extended right out behind you, and you balance on your toes and arms, which are straight. You then bend your arms and lower down until your chest almost touches the floor, and then you hold it for a split second and lift yourself back up. Make sure you apply the weight evenly to both arms even if you find it hard, or your shape will be different on one side to the other! This is the best way and the proper way to do press-ups, and will give you the best results. Leg Raises ********* These are very effective on your abdominal muscles. The position you must get into is to have your back flat on the floor, with your head on the floor as well and your hands beside your body or under your neck against the floor. When you start, you keep your legs off the ground the WHOLE TIME! You bring them in towards your body, lift them up and go round in a circle back out, making sure you tense your stomach when you bring in your legs. Extend them again and go out and round, not letting them touch the ground to repeat. It sounds hard, but really isn't. You can easily do about 20 of these a day, and I am currently doing 60 a day in two goes. Once again, I think it is very beneficial to hold your legs off the ground when extended on the last rep, which really improves the results as it works your muscles to the max. Sit-ups ****** I actually find that the leg raises work better with me, but the most obvious exercise for abdominal muscles is sit-ups. Sit with your back flat on the floor, head down, but legs bent quite a bit. You then tense your muscles as you lift yourself out whilst exhaling, and then inhale on the way back down to repeat. Do quite a few of these everyday to improve your abs. The most effective but difficult way to do this is to do it off the side of a bed or sofa. Make it so that your body is half on and half off the bed/sofa. When you go down, hold it for a second and then lift yourself back up (making sure you don't fall off the bed). They are much harder to do, but are great exercise and really improve the work on your abs, because you are relying on them or you will fall off that sofa or bed! Weights ******* To improve your arms, the best way is to do weights. However, exercises such as press-ups do improve the tone of your arms in general too, at least they help. Buy any good weights, and start with light ones. Depending on what kind of tone you want, you will either want lighter weights, or heavy ones and maybe a bench for when you get good. If you want a nice tone for endurance exercises such as long distance running, then faster but many more reps of lifting weights is ideal (which are lighter). If you are looking for a really muscular look for pure strength, then heavier weights are needed for slower exercises, but lifting much heavier weights. Start light and go for the heavier ones later on no matter what you do. The best exercises are the simple bicep one, where you hold the weight and lift it up towards your shoulder from in front of you. These work your bicep muscles on your upper arm. Other good ones include where you hold the weight(s) out to the side, and slowly lower them before lifting them back up and straightening your arm out. There are many others too, such as lifting them above your head, holding them there for a second and slowly lowering. ALWAYS be SLOW when doing weights, and don't quickly move them, as you aren't working your muscles anywhere near as effectively as doing them slowly and holding them for split seconds in certain positions. Diet **** Perhaps one of the less obvious things is to maintain good health with a healthy diet! This will help to keep you in good shape, and very healthy. Try your best to have 5 portions of fruit/veg a day. Also, make sure you don't eat too much junk food such as pizza, pasta and burgers. Try to eat more things such as fish and fresh meat. Balance your diet well with things such as nuts for fibre, and dried fruit is one of the BEST foods for health! One tablespoon of most dried fruits such as prunes will supply one portion of fruit - that's how full of goodness they are. Make sure you also have lots of fibre in your diet too, which is found in most cereals and some healthy snack bars too. Stick to the healthy options and you will be fine. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ { C O N C L U S I O N } ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Stick to my routine and I am sure you will have a nicely toned body in no time! REMEMBER: Achieving a nice tone with muscles and even a 6 pack takes time! Don't give up, and keep working and it will soon start to show! I thought the same thing when nothing seemed to be happening, but now I find the exercises and amounts I started with so easy, and my tone is starting to look good too! Make sure you keep fit with some general exercise such as running or cycling is good too, which I didn't mention before. Keep your diet balanced and try to eat as much goodness as you can, and don't pile on the pounds as your abdominals won't even show! Thanks for reading, hope this helped. - Recon -

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                    06.02.2008 09:20
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                    All the sport mentioned is possible to do when you are away.

                    There are many activities that can be incorporated into your exercise regime whilst on a vacation. Whether the vacation is taken by a beach, in a caravan or a near mountains and snow there are many ways to fit exercise into your daily routine. Swimming If the vacation is by a beach or a pool then swimming is an excellent sport to take as a daily exercise. It is one of the best to take up whilst away. It will make the body fit and healthy working every muscle and giving you strength and vitality. It will, also, burn lots of calories compensating for all those extra foods eaten. If you cannot swim, then just simple movements such as jumping or walking in the pool will help. Walking This is another exercise that can easily be taken up on vacation. An hour walk a day can make the world of difference. Take a walk to the beach, to the shops, sightseeing walks or stroll after dinner in the evening. It doesn't have to be a strenuous walk, just easy steps to give you some movement whilst on vacation. Water Skiing If you are an avid swimmer and love water sports, then water skiing is a good exercise too. Take the chance and get out there in the water. Show off your talents at this sport. Be a devil! Pedal Boats Hiring a pedal boat at the beach can give you some form of exercise if you pedal it. It will work those leg muscles and keep them in shape whilst away. You will not have to worry about having to work out at a gym. Ride A Bicycle Hire a bike and pedal around. This is an energetic way to keep you in shape whilst eating your favourite foods on your vacation. It's a brilliant way to tone the body too and burning all those excess calories that have been eaten. Horse Riding If this is available as an excursion sport such as taking a ride along a beach or through countryside then take the opportunity of doing it. It's still exercising. Skiing If you are on a skiing vacation, then skiing will be the ultimate exercise here. If you cannot ski then learn. Even the smallest of movements will be helpful. Wind Surfing This is, also, a beach one. Wind surfing can keep the body in tone, as you are using your balance to keep afloat. So, if you love this sport then do not hesitate doing it. Surfing If you are able to surf or can take lessons, then this will tone your body no problem. The movement and balancing effect is an excellent form of exercise. Using a Gym If your hotel has a gym then definitely take advantage of this. Visit the gym once a day after breakfast or even before. This would be a great way of not having to loose out on your daily regime whilst being away from home. It's not something that most people want to do when away, but it will still keep you in shape. Overall, I would say that swimming, walking, skiing and pedalling a boat to be the most used form of exercise for the majority of people whilst on vacation, but all of the above are still good ways of keeping yourself fit when away.

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                      01.07.2003 22:43
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                      • "finding the time"

                      I've always been big. When I say big I don't mean huge - 'big boned' was the kindlier term when I was a child. As an adult I count myself lucky that my excess weight is distributed proportionatly. I was never the biggest in the school or anything like that but I always had the constant fret that I wasn't average sized. At school this meant the crippling horror of PE, the utter boredom of Sports Day, the cruel punishment of cross country running in the middle of winter which by the way did mean cross country where I used to live! I never ran, I always walked and most often could be found talking to the cows in the field opposite the school. There were catty remarks and cruel smacks of the hockey stick - accept when it came to netball, volleyball and rounders. I was always picked first for those. In netball I could shoot, volleyball I could get the ball over the net with flair and with rounders I could whack the ball so far across the field I could comfortably walk round the bases. Brought up to be constantly mindful of 'danger' in the world, I wasn't allowed a bike, I rarely ran because I might fall over, I didn't do handstands incase I broke my neck (a phobia I've never got rid of), I didn't do forwards rolls for the same reason. I never played 'sliders' on the ice because I was too scared of breaking my leg (it happened to a girl up the road so that was that when my parents heard). I did skip and occasionally jump and bizarrely despite all the parents fears they allowed me to horseride. Exercise for me was something I didn't understand. Super self-conscious of my body I was out of touch with what it was capable of doing. I was afraid of hurting it and desperately fearful of looking stupid. These of course are issues of self-esteem. Looking back I can see the reasons for how I became like that and why I became over-weight. My parents were always good about including fresh fruit and ve getables, but these were in conjunction with crisps and all the rest of the junk. My Dad was starved as a child and consequently there was always a big thing about 'eating all your dinner' and having nice food in the house. Tied in with all that was a constant commentary on how much weight I had put on or lost. Most of the time my confidence was wrapped in ropes of guilt and shame. As an adult I've never really shaken this off although I have come to a place where I now know I am the one in control plus I know a great deal more about what constitues a healthy diet. After a period of bulimia when I was much younger and fad diet after fad diet, some years back I suddenly woke up to the fact that I was screwing my body. My metabolism had gone into starvation mode and without exersize there was no way of speeding it all up. I didn't want to have a bad relationship with food and I didn't have to. It took some time but I was growing in awareness that food really wasn't the problem it was exercise. In fact, I eat a very healthy diet - vegetarian, health conscious, ethically minded - fruit, veg, tofu, nuts, seeds, sprouts etc. Of course I have the occasional bit of chocolate or cake but I don't crave them. No longer do I reward myself with food as I was taught to as a child although that's possibly how the smoking happened but that's another story... I've never got to that place of 'accept yourself as you are' - not even after reading 'Fat is a Feminist Issue' and years of therapy. I don't belon the the fat is fit fanclub. I can tell myself a billion times that I'm fine as I am and that little voice inside will shout back in dissent! I honestly applaud those who can get that place in truth and be comfortable whatever size they are. Personally I think they are the rarity. At 35 I suddenly find myself curious about what my body can do, how it can move, the shape it could be, the experience of living happily in my skin. I don't drive so I walk just about everywhere but most of my time is spent sat at my computer so over the years I have noticed how joints creak and groan and limbs seem harder to get moving in the morning. I guess I really am now at that age where I am far more conscious of how I am shaping my future as well as my body depending on what I do now. So I began to think about what I could do for exercise. It's funny how people assume when you are larger that you don't like exercising. Sure there were some things I was nervous of but in fact there's many things I enjoy about exercise. I do have a strong competitive edge so when I can't compete with others I compete with myself. I would have loved to join a gym and go everyday but all these places are far too expensive. The local leisure centre is a no go area as far as the gym's concerned - it's the hang-out for the dodgy guys and gals of gang-land. I did venture into the place a few weeks back after a friend persuaded me to play squash. I've never played before but swayed by the promise of a completely enclosed court so no one could see me I went. I enjoyed it, I was also in danger of blacking out after 15 minutes it was so fast and hot. In my borrowed trainers and bright red top that matched my face I must have looked a right sight. I enjoyed the game though and hope to go and play again although since the centre has had a recent face-lift, prices have trebled so unfortunately can't make it a regular event. What did capture my attention though was the fact that this leisure centre is technically supposed to be open for everyone but obviously had something against larger people. There are turnstiles through to the changing rooms and sports areas and these are absolutely tiny! I got through okay but I was very aware that if anyone with a serious weight problem wanted to come down and use the facilities they'd have absolutely no chance. Hell, even a body builder type would be hard pushed to get through those stiles. It was humorous in an ironic way but I also felt annoyance too. Why are larger people being kept out of the centre? But I digress... So out was a gym, I don't like swimming in a pool as it damages my hair too much not to mention body conscious issues. Running though free is out because I couldn't bare the thought of anyone seeing me, a local belly dancing class out for the same reason. Undeterred I started dancing around to music at home and running up and down the room. At first I was utterly knackered after a minute but gradually I build up to 15 minutes running with the aid of a cool trance/dance album. Goddess knows what my neighbours underneath me thought! I did start to notice a difference, not just in how long I could run for but also how I felt within myself. Exercise is brilliant for anxiety problems and soon I began to notice that I'd feel better if I did exercise and worse if I didn't. If my nerves are bad I shake, sometimes visibly, sometimes on the inside. Sometimes it's just that my head won't shut-up! Exercise is fantastic for all of this! After some time though I began to feel a little bored with the routine and also aware that I wasn't really exercising all my body. I wanted to tone my limbs as well as get my heart moving. The next step was to borrow an exercise video from a friend and therein dawned the light! Of Course! Why hadn't I thought of exercise video's before? Cheap, widely available, a huge range and utterly private, here was a whole exercise area I had at my fingertips (depending of course if you can bend that far *grin*). Carrying my new found exercise class home with me I vaguely remembered I'd borrowed a yoga video from someone else about 6 years previously! Some dusty ferreting later, I decided to make an immediate start. I'm afraid I've lost the cover so can't tell you who the video is buy (It's called Yoga for Health I think) but suffice is to say that the general demeanour suggests early 80's. I'm afraid that after half an hour I was incredibly frustrated and almost completely unable to do any of the so called 'gentle' postures. The instructors also had that slightly disturbing air of calm that reminds one of the eye of a hurricane. It reminded me most of when I used to go to a yoga class where everyone in the room could bend themselves round a lamppost and I struggled with the most menial of positions. Not to mention the fact that of course I could never try the headstands due to above phobia. Don't get me wrong, I think yoga is utterly fascinating and ultimately a wonderful way of calming and strengthening mind and body but whether it's any good for unfits like me is another matter. Perhaps in this case yoga is really one of those exercises that should only be done in a class with experienced teachers at absolute beginners level. Next I moved onto the other video. The Y Plan Countdown. 'A great new shape in 36 days' is blazoned on the cover. Now I'm not one for believing all these fad claims and promises of the perfect body in next to no time so that didn't really interest me. It's presented by Jill Gaskill who has cheery airs of those instructors on ITV morning shows and a very scary Anthea Turner who's fixed unsmiling grin could make blood turn to stone. Each workout is only 12 minutes long which initially sees ridiculously short but by level three it'll be the longest 12 minutes of your life. What interested me was that the video has 4 levels and works on each muscle group of the body. I was delighted to find that the first level was comprehensive and easy to follow and that I could complete the workout without too much exertion. I didn't do the 12 days of that one as I figured if it was too easy then it wasn't really a challenge. Level two certa inly moves up a gear. I followed the plan exactly as stated, gradually moving up to level three. By the time I was doing level 3, I already began to notice a change in my body and what it was capable of. By day 36 I could see that my shape was more defined and I felt stronger and more balanced. Again I have to say that doing the same video over and over is a tad repetitive. No matter - plenty more to choose from and the idea I have is to build up an array of them so that I can choose the style of workout I want and the aim. I have just invested in a Kathy Smith video (Body Basics) that I found on Ebay. Kathy Smith is apparently a fitness guru who's success was at it's height in the 80's. With her tighter than tight leotard, leg-warmers and Farrah hair this one is not for the faint hearted on any level. 80's 'dance' music provides a backdrop the agonising hour long workout but boy do you feel good afterwards. I am deeply suspicious of the claim in the blurb that this is one for beginners. I'm certainly not fit by any standards but I do have at least some movement. I struggled to do most of it when I first started. I think if someone had a serious weight problem or other health problems they would find this routine almost impossible. Although Kathy does do an introduction and points out a few do's and don'ts there's some movements where I've wondered if I'm in the right position. In the Y plan alternative positions are suggested if you have difficulty - nothing of the sort here. In the end some of it comes down to guesswork and trying to feel if the right or wrong muscles are being used. I think now I've got used to all apart from one lot of the leg exercises where I just can't seem to feel 'the burn' in the right place. Not of course that any of us should be going for the burn these days. If it burns stop! Initially the whole pace of the workout seemed fast and furious with one move flo wing into another so quickly I thought I'd never be able to follow it. After doing it a few times though I'm already finding it much easier to follow. It coves the following - warm-up, 2 levels of aerobics and workouts on arms, stomach, legs and buttocks. Afterwards is a nice cool down session. Many of the exercises seem to be based on dance moves and there's also a hint of Callanetics, the in craze of the time that features small movements with big results. Seems easy to put your arms out at shoulder height and lift and lift a couple of inches but after about 50 of them your arms feel like they are about to drop off. Body Basics is also one of those that assumes we all have living rooms that span to the fitness studio with lots of dancy type aerobics that has you falling over furniture. I have to shift everything out of the way to start with and have had to compromise on some skipping across the room because there's a danger I'll smash into the wall! Criticisms aside I do enjoy this one. The 12 minutes of the Y-Plan have faded into obscurity now. The cool down uses some moves from yoga so I do get the benefit of those that twist the spine and relax the body without the hair raising fear of paralysis. After two weeks again I am noticing improvements in my movement, strength and general shape. I don't own a pair of scales and of course muscle weighs more than fat - something that people who start exercise and diet at the same time forget and then feel despondent about. However all my clothes are loser and my hand eye coordination (coordination in general in fact) has improved as well. Another video I've just got is the 3 minute a day face-lift with the peachy skinned Jilly Johnson. Apart from the fact I feel like I have been dumped with the pages of Women's Weekly the exercises are quite simple and keep the muscles of the face in good form. I noticed with a giggle that for the silliest of expression s Jilly uses a model rather than demonstrating them herself. How the model does them without laughing I don't know. I get the giggles everytime I do them but if you follow the whole routine you do get that comfortable workout ache that makes you feel reasonably virtuous. There are a myriad of video's out there for all different levels, interests and abilities. I'm going to look into getting a tai chi one as I used to go to a class and loved it. May be I'll try this Pilates that everyone's been going on about. I'm looking forward to discovering both the good and bad. Exercise video's are regularly sold on Ebay for a few pounds each and therefore it doesn't have to be expensive. Behind closed curtains I am gradually changing my shape, my weight, my self-image and confidence for the better. Of course someday when I'm ready I may come out and surprise everyone by taking part in some from of exercise infront of others - remind them that infact I'm actually a sporty one hidden in a slightly hippyish guise. I have a little thought that maybe one day I might go on a run or even climb a mountain but I guess I might have to knock the last few fags I smoke on the head for that one. My greatest aim of course is to get back to horse-riding, something that I was pretty good at when I was younger. Oh for the love of horses! If you want to exercise but either don't have enough money or are too self-conscious, invest in some exercise video's It may surprise you to find that you actually enjoy them! I've found the following site helpful for choosing videos. Of course there are reviews on Amazon too which will give you an idea of what other's thought. http://www.exercisevideosreviews.com/list.html Exercise is not just about acquiring the body beautiful, it's also about reconnecting mind body and spirit, trusting the movements you make and coordination. Exercise, keeps your heart healthy and mind clear and gives you poise and grace as you re-establish contact with your physical self. Study after study has shown that only those who exercise in conjunction with a healthy diet maintain their weight after a major weight loss. Exercise like healthy eating is part of a life-change and not something you can just do once every 6 weeks. As with all things, if you are very overweight, have health problems or haven't exercised for a long time speak with your doctor first before starting a new regime. I didn't but then that's just me. I don't want to be responsible for strained limbs and heart-attacks!

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                        25.11.2002 00:41
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                        I lead a largely sedentary if mobile way of life. I sit in buses, trains, cars, taxis and planes. I sit at least 8 hours a day at my desk in an office. I tend to work slowly and obstinately through the seemingly impenetrable drudgery of my debilitating office hours and fight off uncontrollable fits of something I like to call by the noble name of narcolepsy. (Or am I flattering myself?) I sit or lie in bed watching TV for hours on end (at times ? at very bad times, indeed). I sit in receptions, parlours, two-to-four-star hotel rooms, congress halls, theatres, cinemas and what not. I go to sleep lying on my side, but my legs are positioned as if I were sitting on an imaginary chair (and so are my wife?s ? in a way, she is sitting in my lap) ? in bed. I am sitting now. Mankind invented chairs long before spectacles. A chair is as an integral part of me as glasses. It?s a good idea to put a pillow at the base of your spine when you know you are going to sit for hours. Shift your body as much as you can. Use a shoe box as a prop and keep one foot higher than the other at any time. You?ll find these and other simple and practicable ideas in Total Fitness by Morehouse and L. Gross. I?ve been putting them into practice for two decades. Back pain is only one of negative consequences of lack of movement. Sedentary lifestyle and stress inevitably result in constipation, too. When I was younger (and wiser), I used to go in for quite a number of fitness programmes on a mature basis. I would take an interest in everything related to fitness, healthy lifestyles and wellness. One day I set upon a weight-free workout programme by Joel J. Ancowitz published in Exercise For Men Only in the late 1980s. This high-quality programme contained an exercise that proved to be a much more effective antidote for constipation than any known over-the-counter laxatives. J.J. Ancowitz proposes that you stand, feet about 15 cm apart, with you r toes turned inwards and heels outwards, hanging over the edge of a step or a phone book. You may want to hold onto a wall or a chair for balance. Press up into your toes and slowly return down, your heels descending lower than your toes. Alternate the starting positions of your toes and heels. Complete two sets of 20 repetitions. In my experience, I found that standing on a telephone book is unnecessary. That means that you can hardly imagine circumstances that would prevent you from performing the exercise. One important point is to drink plenty of water throughout the day or, at least, a glass before the session. You may sit thinking. You may sit reading. Or you may sit doing nothing at all. After four sets I bet you?ll most surely find yourself on a toilet seat ? meaning business.

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                          31.05.2002 03:38
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                          They are all out there, skinny and beautiful - Britney Spears, Calista Flockhart, Jennifer Anniston.... The list is endless!! But they aren't real women, they have dieticians and personal trainers and real women have 9-5 jobs and cake shops to avoid! Wrong!!! Anyone can do it. Little things make all the difference. OK, so I am a cross country runner - I enjoy exercise. But I acknowledge there are lots of women out there who hate it. So how to lose weight/get fit without exercising is quite easy - although to really do it properly, excerise is a must, so get that dusty cycle bike out of the closet and put on your sports kit.... But in the mean time, here are a few ideas to keep active, from the minute you wake up til the moment you fall back to sleep.... * get up early, this means you are active for longer and burning more calories * put your alarm clock across the other side of the room so you have to jump out of bed to turn it off...that goes for you mobile phone and get rid of your swivel desk chair, when you need something get up and walk. And stop using the remote control! * have a good, simple breakfast...this speeds up you motabolism * wear light clothing, if you are slightly cold then you body burns calories heating you up * don't exercise on an empty stomach as your body will start storing energy in preparation and that's when you put on weight * whilst sitting at your desk, straighten and bend your legs, slowly or clunch and unclench your buttocks to tone up the old bum * When carrying your shopping bags, slightly bend your elbows so you are carrying the full weight * run up the stairs * whilst cooking the tea, do 20 bicep curls with each tin of beans * When hoovering dance about to some music * don't eat a big meal and then go to sleep...this is how sumo wrestlers get so enormous! In fact, don't eat anything after 8pm * I also heard somewhere that carrots and celary take up as many calories to digest as they provide...it that's true, then they are good foods to snack on See, it's easy to increase your daily activity levels without really trying too hard!! And now, as promised, here are some exercises that Britney herself does.... * the old faithful sit up...don't sit all the way up, just get your head a few inches of the ground and hold for 3 seconds * side-ways sit ups...same thing, but bend you legs over to one side so you are working the muscles down one side of your stomach. * Lie on your back and cycle your legs, holding it for 2 seconds when each leg is outstreched Britney does 600-1000 sit ups a day....I do 60 and I think that's enough! I got all the Britney info from a magazine, I'm not a close friend or anything!! So there we have it, my alternative guide to keeping active, fit and healthy , but as I already said, true exercise is really the only way to do it! And next week, I'll tell you how to get Kylie's bum......

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                            24.05.2002 21:01
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                            Too tired for the gym? Too busy? Enthusiasm fading? WHAT NONSENSE! Summer is here and you want to look and feel good don’t you? Well read the following tips and get your arse in to gear! +++++++++++++++++++++++++ + Workout with a friend + +++++++++++++++++++++++++ Train with a friend or partner. Exercising with a friend is likely to make you more successful at exercising consistently. You will get to know each other’s routine and can comment on each other’s performance. You may find that you are motivated by the fact that your friend is doing a certain exercise, and you feel you have to do what they do to keep up. It adds a certain competitive edge to your workouts that will get you going and it’s all in good spirit! Also, knowing that someone is waiting for you to exercise with them can be great motivation to show up and get it done! +++++++++++++++++++ + Build a routine + +++++++++++++++++++ Get your body and mind used to a routine. Try to exercise first thing in the morning, every morning (I know its hard to drag yourself out of bed but it’ll be worth it one day!). Our bodies were made to be active on a daily basis, and when we are active, all kinds of wonderful things happen... We can even get healthy and fit! People who exercise 6 to 7 days per week first thing in the morning are much more successful at exercising consistently than those who do the 2 or 3 day thing. Its all about going to bed half an hour early and waking up half an hour earlier than you normally would. It doesn't have to be a huge workout everyday. Just get out there and take a 30-minute walk! (If you have a dog, make its day and take it for an early morning walk!) Once you get into a routine it will become like second nature to you and you will find that it’s actually very difficult to break! +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ + Make your wo rkouts enjoyable! + +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Have fun whilst working out! Don’t let it feel like a chore! If you don't feel like going, go anyway - but make it enjoyable. There may be days when you are just really not in the mood. If that is the case then do something low impact like swimming, and then follow it with a sauna and Jacuzzi perhaps. This is better than slouching on the sofa at home in front of the television… If you are a walker, you may want to get a good cassette or CD player to listen to music or books on tape, etc. If you are exercising indoors, set up a TV so that you can watch it while exercising. Alternatively, you may just prefer peace and quiet. Do whatever makes exercise most enjoyable for you! You are much more likely to exercise consistently if you enjoy it. +++++++++++++++++++++++++ + Get your moneys worth + +++++++++++++++++++++++++ Sometimes I don't feel like going to the gym, but the thing about paying for a membership is you want to get your money's worth, so you keep on going. If you pay monthly fees to use the gym then this will also motivate you to get your moneys worth for the month. You have paid for the facilities so USE THEM! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ + Monitor your improvement + ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ If you look for improvements it encourages you to keep going. See results and get compliments. That's really motivating! GO FOR IT! +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ + Personal Trainer/Training Regimes + +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Many gyms set up training regimes to push you, and the advisors will help you, and it's less expensive than a personal trainer. You make an appointment, so you have to go, and then they push you harder than you would ever push yourself, so you get a much steeper curve of improvement. This is worth lookin g into if you are really serious about getting into shape and want fast improvements. ++++++++++++++++++++++ + Set yourself goals + ++++++++++++++++++++++ Set yourself short-term and long-term goals. You have to know where you are going in order to get there. Short-term goals can be as frequent as every workout. Challenge yourself each workout. For example, try to lift more weight or do more reps or cover more distance in a given time than you have previously done. This way you will have something to aim for each workout and this makes it more fun and gives meaning to each workout. Accomplishing all these small goals will eventually lead to hitting your big goals in the long run. Write down a goal. I found that going to the gym without a clear goal in mind doesn't get me anywhere. When you write down your goal in a place where you see it everyday, it is a constant reminder in where you want to go. Another pointer is to remember how you are going to feel and look once you reach your goal! +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ + Know the benefits of exercise + +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ We are more motivated to do things that we will benefit from. The more we benefit, the more motivated we are. For example, if I told you I'd give you a million pounds to take a 30-minute walk tomorrow morning, would you do it? Of course you would! The benefits of exercise are not quite that compelling, but they are pretty motivating! You will benefit tremendously from consistent exercise. For many people, that's very motivating! Here is a list of reasons that I put together to highlight how you may benefit from regular exercise: · When you can run up the 3 flights of 10 steps to your office and not be out of breath when before you couldn't. · Realising that you are no longer worried about your waist size when looking in the mirror because you look G REAT! · When you are naked in front of your partner and don’t feel self-conscious! And being able to wear minimum clothes on holiday without being embarrassed about how you look! · When other gym users and staff start treating you like a regular and new gym users ask for your advice! · Having a lots of people tell you that you look GREAT! · You may look younger from what you want people to think that you are. · Shopping for nice clothes is no longer a task but a pleasure as you now have a wide variety of clothes that can fit you. · Money saved from not boozing/smoking/eating junk can go towards something great and fun, or even towards that holiday to a sunny beach in the Caribbean for you to show off your body. All of the benefits are great when you think that all you have to do is about 45 mins a day, which truly is not too hard. ======================================================= MY THOUGHTS ====================================================== You know that feeling when you say you are going to do a workout or run, then find a reason not to, sleep in…work late…whatever! You feel guilty for a bit, and then think, "I'll do it tomorrow! I used to do that, until I actually started going. It takes willpower too, but if you go once, and don't push yourself too hard, you will be dying to get back out. Also, I always finish my workouts knowing that I could do more, then, when I tell myself that I could have done a faster time, or longer distance, I am more motivated to beat my target next time. One thing that I have found is that is once you go to the gym, you see people that are already in great shape and that is motivation in itself. If I feel like I can't be bothered, I make myself go by reminding myself that it is only one hour out of the whole day. And when people comment me on how much I have chang ed or how good I am looking, I know that it has all been worth my efforts! ====================================================== END QUOTES: ====================================================== "Action leads to motivation, which leads to more action" ”The more you do, the more you'll feel like doing; but doing something comes first.” An optimist goes to the window every morning and says, "Good morning, God". The pessimist goes to the window and says, "Good God, morning!"

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                              09.05.2002 22:55
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                              Lacking in motivation? Want some advice? The aim of this opinion is to suggest some really simple things you can do to dramatically increase your fitness levels. I believe that before you start any kind of fitness program you should sit down and think about what you want achieve, give yourself a realistic timescale, decide how much time you can set aside each day etc. but most importantly why you want to do it!!! Go out and buy yourself a cheap A4 desk diary. On the first note page list your thoughts on the above and set yourself a clearly defined but realistic goal; what is realistic? Depends on different people, but I would say 0.5 - 1lb a week?!! Remember this can increase as your raining progresses and you begin to understand more about how your body works. This book will be your own private record of what you have done. Use it to write down your achievements and thoughts as your fitness program progresses. If you do something you feel guilty about i.e. munch a King Size Mars bar then write this down. Remember the point of this diary is to monitor your lifestyle and once you have filled it in for a few weeks it will soon become apparent where you can make changes. Sometimes when you are trying to diet you begin to feel low, in this case the diary serves another purpose. Open it and read the positive achievements you have made, be it a 3 mile run / walk or loss of weight. Before you know it your mind will be focused again and your need for a sugar fix will pass. (That is the theory anyway). Keep the book to yourself, it is your own personal record, be truthful to it, and you are being truthful to yourself. I know it sounds cheesy, but it is worth it. Okay so you have your book, where do you begin? It is really amazing just how easy it can be, you just have to want to do it!! Get enough sleep 8 hours per day, this will help your body to recover from exercise, and maintain a healthy immune sys tem. Don’t over sleep, if your are in the luxurious position of being able to sleep for 12 hours a day, get up earlier as just the extra four hours movement is an extra four hours of burning energy. Eat your breakfast, include fresh orange, high fibre cereals etc… Lay off the sugar if you want to sweeten things up then cut up some fruit and add that. Try skimmed milk, I know it isn’t the nicest to start with, but after a few days you soon get used to it, believe me. Breakfast will stop that empty feeling when you’re tempted to fill up on chocolate biscuits on your tea break. If you are sill hungry then go for fruit. Apparently the scent of a banana actually tricks your brain into thing you are full? I have read this somewhere but I am not sure where!!! Breakfast will also kick start your metabolism and get your body ready for the hard day ahead. For lunch go for something with a bit of energy perhaps a pasta salad or baked potato. I find this helps prevent that afternoon energy slump I so often seem to get. If you go for sandwiches, go for wholemeal bread, lay off the mayonnaise and add plenty of salad to bulk it out. Have some fruit or yoghurt and a bottle of water. The same goes for dinner. Go for a low fat option, if you are having chicken, why not opt for turkey instead, put a couple of portions of different vegetables along with the meal. This will bulk the meal out and fill you up. Perhaps fruit for a pudding. I am not a believer in fad diets. I believe that a healthy balanced diet is the key to success. You should not deprive your body of what it needs to function. The human body will function most efficiently when it is given everything it requires. It is worth pointing out that you should drink about 2 – 2 ½ litres and four – five portions of veg per day. This will help your body work more efficiently, keep you hydrated, improve your skin and a whole host of ot her benefits. I like to think of water as being nature’s own fuel!!! Cheesy again!!! I will point out that you should go for pure water as I have found that some flavoured waters seem to carry a whole load more calories than you would expect. How do burn those extra calories. These suggestions are ridiculously simple!! Don’t use the television remote and put the remote at the other side of the room. This means you will burn calories every time you want to change the channel etc… and your muscles will benefit from the exercise gained from getting off your butt and doing something!!! Use carrier bags instead of black bags!! This will mean more trips to the bin outside meaning more calories burned. Do your household chores more often, dishwashing, ironing, hovering etc.. Not only will you benefit from the exercise, but the mental benefits of living in a clean environment are not to be knocked. Use the stairs instead of escalators and lifts. If you find this too much to begin with then start off just doing it once a day until you don’t bother using the lifts at all. Never go shopping on an empty stomach, also buy less you will need to make more trips to the supermarket and subsequently burn off more energy doing so. Have more sex!!! If you are fortunate enough to have someone to do it with!!! Woman can use this as a great excuse to go shopping!! If your bloke needs to get fit then drag him along. It is amazing how many calories he will burn being dragged from one store to another and back again. I will point out that this may not do much for his mental well-being!!! And if it the woman who needs to get fit, then you can use your own fitness as an excuse to spend even more time shopping. (I know it is a sexist remark, but go along with me!!!) I could keep going for hours, but you get the idea, these simple changes in your diet and lifestyle will make a huge difference. As far as exercise goes if you are trying to lose weight focus on cardiovascular workouts. Go for a walk gradually building up to a run. Cycling is my favourite form of exercise and it can be a great thing to do with your mates. Swimming is a superb form of exercise. If you are looking to hone and tone then you need to focus on both weights and cardiovascular fitness. You need to work all of the muscle groups. I would suggest light weights of high repetitions say 12-14. If it is physical strength then work on the weights only with higher weights and lower repetitions, but don’t neglect your cardiovascular fitness. Remember to warm up and cool down. This prevents cramps and gets the blood moving around the muscles. Stretching itself is also another good way to help improve muscle tone. No matter what type of exercise you are doing, start off gently, even if it is too easy, and let your body get used to the movements and techniques before you begin to gradually add weight and increase intensity. I would strongly recommend joining your local gym. You would be surprised just how friendly the people can be. After all we are all in it together and you would be amazed at some of the hints and advice people will give you if they think you are doing something wrong. I am always more impressed when I see someone trying their best than simply showing off. I have not gone into detail on the types of exercises you should do, everyone is different. The web is a vast database o information, just go to a search engine and you will be amazed at what you find. Alternatively buy yourself a video or a book / magazine from your local store. Hopefully someone will find this opinion of help, and if so then it was worth the last 35 mins or so spent sitting at the computer when I should have been out running or something!!! (only joking)

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                                21.04.2002 22:25
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                                Disability and fitness. No matter what your condition or ability it is important to remain as fit as you can. To remain fit you need to exercise, exercise is not always the iron pumping, all bulging, heavy sweating Arnie types we see in the films, and on the holiday beaches of America. Fitness and exercise is especially important for those of us with disabilities, it helps keep our bodies working and allows for better, and faster, recovery from things such as surgery and set backs, things like colds, flu or other forms of illness. Just like anyone disabled people can, and often do, claim all sorts of reasons for not being fit, or even trying to get fit. Indeed it is probably easier for the disabled to claim this, we are, after all, less able and therefor find it harder to keep fit don’t we? The simple answer, in most cases, is no. I am sure most of you will have seen the huge range of fitness video tapes for sale, and among these you can find programs that are specifically made, and suited to, disabled people. Many good exercises can be done while seated and many more with little or no major mobility requirements. Of course, as with any program of fitness or diet, you should consult with your doctor before you begin, indeed they may even be able to arrange for you to join such a program at your nearest hospitals physiotherapy department. In fact it is probably more important for the disabled to have a controlled exercise plan. I began my exercising, following the injury to my spine, while still in hospital recovering from my first ever operation. Many of the exercises I was asked to do seemed stupid at the time. Raising my arms as far as I could just five times each side, or lifting my legs for 10 seconds a couple of times, plus other very simple, very minor, movements which, over a short period of time began to get easier to do. By the time I was able to get out of bed, around 16 weeks later, I was feeling quite strong, not at all w eak as I had been told I may. I was in a wheelchair at that time but found myself able to use it quite freely and on my own, this was due to exercise, plain and simple. I will list a few of the exercises I still do every day, at least three times a day, and hope this will show you how easy exercise, and thereby fitness can be. Standing: Feet together arms stretched out to each side not raised just straight out. Rotate you arms 10 times in a forward motion, and repeat in a backward motion. Feet apart and hands on hips. Turn your upper body, from the waist, to the left, as far as you comfortably can 10 times and repeat to the right. Feet together with hands down by your side. Bend forwards, again only as far as is comfortable, and stand again, do this 10 times, repeat this but leaning back. Standing straight turn you head as far to the left as you can, do not stretch it, and as you slowly turn it to the front again nod your head up and down, like a nodding dog, do this 10 times to each side. Seated: Sitting up straight, feet flat on the floor stand up slowly and then sit again, remember each time to do this slowly and controlled. Holding on to the chair with your left hand turn your upper body to the right, do this just 5 times. Repeat this by holding on with your fight hand and turning to the left. Still sitting straight up raise your feet and legs, only as far as if comfortable, straight out in front of you. After this exercise shake your legs freely so as to relax them again. Lift each leg in turn and this time rotate your foot 5 times, again shaking it to relax after the exercise. Lifting each leg again this time simply pull your feet towards your body and then point them away from it, again 5 time each way. If you are mobile, in as much as you can walk a little, then find some steps, or stairs. Step up on to the first step by placing one foot on the step an d then bring the second to join it, do the same back down. Do this 5 times. The above exercises are the start to every session and are the least you should do but if you feel any added pain, or are going through a bad time then leave them. The idea of any exercise is to help you not hurt you. The saying “no pain no gain” is not true and should not be considered a rule when doing any form of exercise. If you are experiencing pain then it is a fair bet the exercise is either being done wrong or you should not be doing it at all. It is from these very basic, simple, exercises that you can build a program for yourself. Over a period of time you could find yourself even managing some sit ups, walking, even press ups but the key word here is “time” Never rush and never force yourself, give your body the time it needs to adjust to the new demands you are placing on it. As you build your strength you will find yourself able to attempt slightly more energetic exercises, like running on the spot, or using a training bicycle. These bigger exercises will start to form a cardiovascular program, don’t let the term worry you though, all it means is that you exercise so that your heart beats faster than it does at rest. This need not be by much to be beneficial. Again the best pace to obtain coaching, or a program is at your physiotherapy department but more and more commercial gyms are now becoming aware of the demand for the lighter programs, both for the disabled and the elderly. You can find any gyms in your area in the yellow pages and a telephone call could be all you need to arrange a free session to see if it is right for you or you it. A good gym owner will be aware of the needs of each type of person and should be able to plan a good set of exercises to suit your demands. It pays to check out the qualifications of training instructors, just to make sure you are in the hands of someone that knows how to help. Always remember that you are exercising to your limits and not trying to compete with anyone else, if you can do this you may be surprised at just how much fun can be had while doing yourself some good.

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