Lose a Dress Size in 8 Weeks – exercise
Aerobic exercise increases blood circulation, making it heart and lung healthy. But it also burns fat from all over the body. Remember: No matter what anyone tells you, you can’t spot-reduce fat. You can, however, tone and tighten specific muscle groups. Strength or resistance training increases your metabolic rate — that’s the rate your body burns fat — and helps stave off osteoporosis by building healthy bones.
“This combination of eating less than you burn and aerobic and strength-training exercise will turn you into a fat-burning machine,” Price said.
It’s also very important to drink lots of cold water to aid in fat loss and muscle gain, says Fred Hahn, exercise instructor and owner of Serious Strength in New York City. “Just by drinking at least a gallon of refrigerator-cold water a day you’ll burn approximately 150 calories . That’s because it takes about 150 calories to heat cold water to your body temperature of 98.6 degrees.”
So how do we begin? Most fitness experts agree the best way to begin is probably the easiest way — walking. It costs nothing and the only equipment you need is a good pair of comfortable walking shoes.
“Walking is low impact and easy on the joints,” said John Hinkle, a personal trainer and exercise physiologist for the Duke Center for Living, part of the Duke University Health System. “But it’s important to warm up your leg muscles by stretching both before and after walking.
“You should walk at a comfortable pace, stomach in, swinging your arms for momentum — especially uphill — and relaxing your shoulders,” Hinkle said. “It’s important to avoid doing too much too soon. Work up to it. Ideally, you might try to work up to walking briskly for 30 minutes. If you can walk one mile in 20 minutes or less that’s pretty good.
“We recommend trying to incorporate walking uphill or steps into your aerobic workout. But we don’t recommend walking with hand or ankle weights,” Hinkle said. “They increase the blood pressure and place stress on the joints.”
Price says her rule of thumb is to walk as briskly as you can and still be able to talk. “It’s OK to speed up and slow down if you have trouble maintaining the same speed. Just keep moving.”
Hinkle suggests the following warm-up exercises:
- Calf stretch — This can be done outside on your street’s curbing. Stand on the edge of the curb, heels facing the street and toes facing the sidewalk. Hang your heels over the edge and gently stretch your calf muscles by pushing down on your heels. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. “This loosens the muscle and connective tissue, lessens the chance of any tearing and makes the joint more agile,” Hinkle said.
- Quadriceps stretch — This is accomplished by standing with your feet flat on the ground. Bend your knee and lift your leg behind you. Grab your foot and gently pull your foot up behind you until your knee points straight down. Make sure your back is straight. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch to the next foot.
- Hamstring stretch — This can also be done curbside. Stand with one foot on the curb and one in the street and back a little. Slowly lean forward on your curb foot and stretch. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then switch to the next foot.
For beginners, Touber suggests marching in place for three minutes as a good pre-walk warm up as well as a good warm up for strength training. Various types of pushups, abdominal crunches and squats are excellent types of strength-training exercises.
“The types of these exercises that use the weight of your own body for resistance work very well — and typically burn more calories,” St. Michael said.
Remember, you shouldn’t strength train every day. “Twice a week or every other day is good,” Price said. “Muscles get stronger on rest days. That’s when they repair themselves. Do enough repetitions of an exercise that you’re fatigued on the last one. And remember, form is essential. It doesn’t do you any good if you break your form.”
But that’s not enough. You’ve also got to make each repetition count by using good cadence repetition — start to finish, Hahn says. “It’s not only important for safety, it also minimizes momentum, which makes the exercise more effective.”
Generally, Hahn says, a good rule of thumb for cadence repetition in strength training is this: From your starting position, count five seconds to reach your up position then count five seconds to reach the down.
“It’s also important to know that strength training is not just for looks,” Prince said. “It’s the best thing you can do for yourself to keep strong and independent through the decades.”