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Great ideas to meet our challenge

Thursday, December 01, 2011

My fitness club that is manged by Health Fitness Corporation www.hfit.com had these great suggestions that they've given me permission to share. They resonate well with all of the great ideas the SP gives us. I have always had trouble keeping my fitness stuff as a high priority. These are some sneaky ways of fitting in some extra calorie burning activities.

1. Do Your Home Work
The scenario: A festive cookie exchange at the office causes you to miss your yoga class, company's coming tonight, and the house is a mess. Lucky you! Housework is the best way to fit in a workout without even knowing it. Scrubbing, sweeping, vacuuming ... they all burn calories. Even cooking fires up the calorie furnace, especially if you're moving around the kitchen. So put on perky music and boogie down while you bake.

2. Shop Until You Drop…Pounds!
Use shopping as exercise too. The best thing about going to the mall is all the walking. That translates into a calorie burn. To maximize that burn, carry your own holiday packages, then unloading them after every stop. If you're going to buy something at 10 different shops, go out to your car between each store. To encourage yourself to make those multiple trips to the parking lot or to take the mall stairs instead of elevators wear a pedometer. A pedometer really encourages you to ... get moving. You have to go shopping, so you might as well get a workout as you're doing it! Keep your pace brisk and you can burn 250-300 calories an hour.

3. Make Snow Your Ally
When it's snowing, it's time to bundle up and enjoy the free gym outside. The best calorie-burners are those that bring the heart rate up to a cardiovascular training zone. For most healthy people, the American Heart Association recommends an exercise target heart rate ranging from 50% to 75% of your maximum heart rate, which is normally calculated as the number 220 minus your age. Snowshoeing is a great way to get into that range. Snowshoeing is fantastic because absolutely anyone who can walk can snowshoe. The big bonus: you'll blaze through some 563 calories an hour doing it. And don't forget cross-country skiing which offers a complete body workout, building balance and coordination while burning about 650 calories an hour. Prefer other winter sports? Downhill skiing flies through 352 calories an hour, while ice-skating glides through 493 calories an hour.

4. Get on the Ball
When it's too cold to be outside, get bouncy inside -- and strengthen your core muscles -- with exercise balls. Exercise balls, also known as fitness balls and balance balls, are large vinyl balls in various diameters ranging from 18 inches to 3 feet. Your workout with an exercise ball can be as easy -- and fun -- as sitting on the ball and bouncing lightly to gently work your core muscles (the muscles surrounding your trunk and pelvis). A ball workout can also be pulse-pounding, if you use your ball as a prop for crunches, pushups, leg lifts, or squats. Too pooped to prop? You can even burn a few calories simply sitting on the ball and working to maintain your balance.

5. Walking is a Winner
For most of us, walking is the easiest way to burn a few extra calories during busy times. The trick (after a good warm-up) is to keep your pace strong. Try power walking, high-stepping, or climbing stadium stairs which fire up major muscle groups like the quads and gluteals. Recruiting more muscle fibers during a workout is like stoking a fire ... the embers burn for a longer period. That means even when you're lounging by the fire later, you'll still be burning away extra calories. If you keep up a moderate walking pace, expect to burn 250-300 calories hourly.

6. Do a Good Deed
Combine a few of our calorie-burning tips -- shopping, cooking, walking -- and do a good deed in the process. You can gently increase holiday season activity by making goodies for your neighbors, then taking a brisk stroll around the neighborhood to drop off your homemade gifts. Or burn about 700 calories an hour participating in a holiday fund-raising race, such as the Arthritis Foundation's Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis, held in various U.S. cities in December. Locate all kinds of races near you at www.coolrunning.com. Good deeds and a good body -- what a gift!

7. Travel Your Way Trim
When the temptations at home are just too great, escape them by getting away for the holidays. Get away for a ski trip, go ice-skating -- go do the things you're always wanting to do anyway. Even getting from here to there provides opportunities to burn calories. If you have to travel, be sure to wheel your own bags, only take what you can carry on, and lift the bags yourself. And don't forget to walk, walk, walk. Walk between terminals, take the stairs, stroll between gates while you wait. Even if you're on the moving walkway -- walk!

8. Sit Tight and Workout
Every holiday includes downtime when family or friends gather around the television for a parade, a game, or a favorite old movie. Why not use that time to burn a few calories? Instead of sitting with your full butt on the couch, get to the end of your seat and bend your legs up off the floor, hands on the seat to give you balance, and do crunches. You can also get your triceps trim by doing dips off the edge of the couch (or airport seat), firming your thighs with seated leg lifts, and building biceps by grabbing a water bottle and doing curls. A workout in your comfy chair? It's a Wonderful Life indeed!

9. Maximize Motivation With More People
To keep your motivation at peak, get fired up with group fitness classes. Being in a group can really help motivate you. Gyms and rec centers offer all kinds of classes to choose from, from spinning, yoga, and aerobics to ballet, kickboxing, aquacising, and Pilates. Want something more free-form? Get a group of friends and family to join you outside for an hour of making snow angels, sledding, searching for the last colorful leaves, hiking, or ice-skating. A bonus: Workouts with loved ones not only keep everyone's calorie counts in check, but exercising together can help build stronger relationships, too.

10. Bonus Holiday Fitness Tip:
Just set a goal. Having a specific objective is a great way to motivate yourself. Set goals for how many workouts you want to get in during the week. Even if it's fewer than you usually do during the rest of the year, be sure to reward yourself for meeting your objectives.
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