Five tips for exercise rookies
VAIL CO, Colorado
Living at your peak means being at your physical, mental and emotional best. It means understanding the “ins and outs” of your body’s essential functions and learning how nutrition, physical activity and medical care can help you live better and longer.
This fall, health enthusiasts – from nutrition newbies to exercise experts – will have the opportunity to learn firsthand from some of the nation’s leading health and fitness experts on how to live at your best. Living at Your Peak, slated for Sept. 13-15 in Vail, is an interactive summit designed to promote lifelong health and fitness.
Leading up to the event, the Vail Daily will offer health, wellness and fitness tips from Living at Your Peak experts. This week, tennis legend and Living at Your Peak keynote speaker, Martina Navratilova, shares her tips for staying motivated if you are new to working out.
1. Exercise with a friend, focusing on workout frequency rather than length of time spent during each session.
Try to find someone who has similar fitness interests and goals as you so you can motivate one another. Years ago I had a good friend, a fellow athlete, who would ask me: “When are you going out to practice?” and I would tell her that I didn’t necessarily exercise on a consistent basis. She’d insist that we work out on a regular basis. That’s the kind of friend we all need, to keep us from talking ourselves out of exercise.
2. Condition yourself, focusing on the quality of the activity rather than on the quantity of time spent engaged in it.
All top-level professional athletes start with a pre-season training program to maintain peak performance. You can train that way too – for a specific activity, such as preparing for a race or keeping up with your kids, or for a better shaped bum, toned arms, a flatter belly, longer muscles or all of the above. Your pre-season training program might be jogging on a treadmill to improve your aerobic fitness or working out with weights to condition your body. Also, try a new form of exercise, such as a dance fitness class, a yoga-pilates fusion class or some new machines at the gym. Changing your exercise routine and trying new things will fire up your enthusiasm and help you avoid falling into a rut.
3. Step outside the gym.
In many parts of the country, summer’s long days and warm temperatures make for pleasant walks, jogs, bike rides or hikes. I love to hike through the aspen groves in Aspen. While uplifting my spirits, I’m getting an amazing workout.
4. Eat well.
If you’re going to stay active this fall, energize yourself with quality food. Eat nutritious foods-and often. For sustained energy levels throughout the day, eat smaller, more frequent meals (i.e., six meals of approximately 300-450 calories each) of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, while limiting energy-draining foods such as fatty meats and dairy foods, refined sugar and processed foods. Natural health experts recommend a rejuvenating diet of at least 50 percent raw foods, fresh fruit and vegetable juices.
5. Be patient with yourself.
Make changes gradually. For some people, that may mean a month; for others, a whole year. Realize that you’ll have good days and bad days, but what’s important is that you’re doing your best.
If you follow these tips and consistently take better care of yourself, you’ll reach your own peak performance. You’ll look and feel better and increase your odds of preventing, even reversing, life-threatening illnesses. Who knows? You may live to be 100 years old or more, still vital, still in robust health. I don’t know about you, but I intend to die at a very healthy old age.
The greatest women’s tennis player in the history of the sport, Martina Navratilova competed on the WTA Tour in singles and doubles for an amazing 22 consecutive years from 1973 to 1994; she then returned for regular doubles activity from 2000 to 2006, before retiring a Grand Slam champion at age 49.
To register to attend Navratilova’s keynote speech and learn more about other Living at Your Peak opportunities, visit http://www.livingatyourpeak.org.
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