Summer is just around the corner, and if you’re like many other people, you’re planning your beach vacations, spring cleaning, and taking in the gradually-warming weather. With that warmer weather comes less clothing, and for some people, less confidence in how their bodies look. However it’s not too late to get in tip-top shape for those sunny, summer months! Here are a few ways to look your best this summer! (Always consult with your physician before starting any exercise routine).
There are two basic type of exercise: Aerobic and Anaerobic.
1) Aerobic (Cardio)
If you’ve put on some pounds, the best way is to incorporate a lot of cardio into your lifestyle (as much as you can, anyway). This involves raising your heart rate for sustained periods of time. Doing so allows oxygen-rich blood to reach your muscles, oxygen intake and outtake, and lowers body fat. It helps in everyday life for basic functions such as climbing stairs. Some activities that are good for cardio are walking, jogging, swimming, and stair climbing. Incorporating just a bit of cardio into your life can make a big difference. If you have a very sedentary lifestyle, don’t overexert yourself. Gradually ease up to longer periods of cardio. For instance, start with 2 minutes a day of jumping jacks and work your way up to walking around your neighborhood. Keep it up, and next thing you know you’ll be able to jog for an hour!
2) Anaerobic Exercise (Weightlifting / Strength Training)
Whereas aerobic exercise allows for oxygen intake, anaerobic means without oxygen. The focus is on muscle and strength training which buildings lean muscle, improves tendon, ligament, and joint function, improves posture, slows down aging by preventing osteoporosis, improves mood by releasing serotonin an dopamine in the brain, and hey let’s face it, most people strive to achieve a toned body because it’s considered attractive!
There are many methods of strength training: weight training, yoga, and Pilates to name a few. Weight training involves strengthening the muscles through heavy or resistance-based movements on specific muscle groups. Free weights and gym machines fall under this category. Yoga is a strength training practice for your physical, mental, and spiritual bodies. The physical benefits of Yoga are increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, improved athletic performance, weight loss, depletes stress, and more. If your summer goal is to lengthen and strengthen your body for better efficiency, then Yoga is for you.
Pilates are a cousin of Yoga; both stretch you out and strengthen for daily physical endurance, but there are some differences. Yoga (learn here) is thousands of years old, rooted in the mind-body-spiritual connection while Pilates began in the 1900s by Joseph Pilates and focuses on the connection that the body and mind are connected. Pilates sometimes uses machines and focuses on core and spine strength, while Yoga uses every muscle in the body.
If you choose Yoga or Pilates, in the case of having a great summer body, remember that eating healthy also helps! Take out processed foods, refined flours and sugars, and fast foods. Focus on fruits, veggies, nuts, legumes, beans, and healthy fats (fish, coconut, avocado, and olive oils).
We all have busy schedules, but if you can carve out just 15 minutes out of your day to begin an exercise routine, you’ll be on your way to a healthier, fitter you in no time!