What is a summer fitness challenge? It’s a program where you make changes that add up to a fitter, healthier body. You don’t have to do everything at once, either. Start by eating healthier. Summer is a great time to load up on fresh fruits and vegetables. They’re less expensive and readily available. Make it a habit to have fresh fruit and veggies cut up and ready to eat in your refrigerator. Substitute the healthy snacks for those with added sugar or highly processed food. That one small change can make a huge difference in your weight over a few months time.
Increase your physical activity.
Try getting up earlier to exercise or workout over your lunch hour or after work. If you aren’t ready for a program of exercise, start by walking more. Park further from the store and walk. Take the stairs not the elevator. Start slowly. Workout three days a week for 30 minutes if you’re doing a program of exercise. Work up and increase that exercise to five times a week. As your fitness level improves, increase the intensity. Switch up to interval training, where you workout hard for two minutes and then take it easier for two minutes with a recovery pace. Switch back to a higher intensity and continue to alternate.
Add a new veggie to your diet every week.
Each week focus on increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables. If you haven’t tried beet root, buy a fresh one and steam it. You’ll be amazed at how sweet and tasty it is and how good it tastes sliced on salads. Make sure you increase your water intake, too. Instead of drinking sugary soft drinks, switch it out for water. If you want to add a little flavor, make infused water that adds flavor without adding calories.
If you aren’t doing strength training, cardio and flexibility training, add it.
You need all types of workouts to be fit. Cardio or endurance training is what many people focus on, but it’s important to have strength and flexibility training, too. Strength training has proven superior for weight loss. It helps build muscles and burns tons of calories. The more muscles you have, the more your metabolism increases. That’s because muscle tissue require more energy to maintain than fat tissue does. Flexibility training helps prevent injury and cardio builds endurance.
- Track your progress every step of the way. Record how long you exercised and what you did each day. Include tracking your food intake. Food journaling can help you see where you need to make changes.
- Use daily activities to add even more exercise. Walk to lunch. Take the steps not the elevator. Park further from the grocery store and walk, or walk or ride a bike to the store.
- Find fun, but active avocations. Ride a bike, take hikes or swim for fun. If you don’t have time for a hobby, let your housework keep you in shape. Put your whole effort into cleaning and do it fast and with vigor. It’s a form of exercise that gets the house or lawn clean, making it a double bonus.
- You can take more flights of stairs as you get fitter and walk further. If you work on an upper floor, climb stairs until you tire and take the elevator from there. Get off the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way to work. As your fitness improves, take the steps further and get off the bus earlier.
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