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February 20, 2015 EDITOR

Five easy activities to keep you fit, healthy and in shape

Five easy activities to keep you fit, healthy and in shape

Not a fan of the gym? You’re not alone, but suffering from “Gymphobia” doesn’t mean you can’t stay fit and in great shape! Harvard Medical School’s special health report says the following five easy (and economical) activities can help you get and stay in shape and lower your risk for disease. They’re suitable for any age or fitness ability, you can do them anywhere and they don’t cost a fortune in monthly gym membership or personal trainers.

 

1. Swimming. This is known as “the perfect workout” and if you live near the sea, pool or sports centre, then it’s an easy one to do. Why is it so good: According to Dr. I-Min Lee, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, the buoyancy of the water supports your body and takes the strain off painful joints so you can move them more fluidly. Research finds that swimming can improve your mental state and put you in a better mood.

2. Tai Chi. This Chinese martial art incorporates movement and relaxation and is good for both body and mind and it’s been called “meditation in motion”. If you don’t fancy going out on your own and feeling a little self conscious practising in the park etc, go to a Tai Chi class. Tai chi is made up of a series of graceful movements, one transitioning smoothly into the next. It’s particularly good for older people or people recuperating from an injury or illness.

3. Strength training. Strength training isn’t just for those who like staring at themselves in the mirrors by the free weights or doing pull ups in highly visible outdoor gyms and it doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly develop bulging biceps. You don’t have to use any weights at all. There are plenty of strength training exercises that work simply with your own bodyweight and you can do them anywhere (Click here for a good workout diagram). If you want to do weights though, lifting light weights won’t bulk up your muscles, but it will keep them strong. “If you don’t use muscles, they will lose their strength over time,” Dr. Lee says. The added bonus is that muscle also helps burn calories. “The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, so it’s easier to maintain your weight,” says Dr. Lee.

4. Walking. Who doesn’t love walking? It’s SOOOO very easy and relaxing. It’s simple yet powerful and if you put a little bit more effort in than just strolling along aimlessly, it can help you stay trim, improve cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, keep blood pressure in check, lift your mood and lower your risk for a number of diseases (diabetes and heart disease for example). According toe Harvard Medical School, “a number of studies have shown that walking and other physical activities can improve memory and resist age-related memory loss”. Start with 10-15 minutes at a time, then build up to 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week. If you walk instead of driving or getting a bus it also saves you money. Double win!!

5. Kegel exercises. You won’t really notice any outward muscular change with these exercises (although they can really help with posture and do help train stomach muscles), but they do a hugely important internal job and that is to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder. Strong pelvic floor muscles are incredibly important for us girls. They help with childbirth and recovery and they can go a long way toward preventing incontinence and bladder weakness in later life. To do a Kegel exercise correctly, squeeze and release the muscles you would use to stop weeing or prevent you from passing wind! Teachers sometimes say to imagine you’re trying to do a zip up on a particularly tight pair of jeans! Do alternate quick squeezes and releases with longer contractions that you hold for 10 seconds, and the release for 10 seconds. Work up to three sets of 10-15 Kegel exercises each day.

 

    Aside from the above activities, the trick is to simply stay active. Daily activities like cleaning, vacuuming, sweeping, walking up and down stairs (instead of taking the lift), gardening, dancing in the bathroom or bedroom, stretching or doing sit ups while you’re watching TV – it all helps.

     

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    5 Simples Ejercicios Para Estar: Delgada, Saludable y en Forma

    ¿No eres fan de ir al gimnasio? Pues no eres la única, pero sufrir de “gimfobia” no significa que no puedas mantenerte delgada y en forma. El reporte especial de salud de la Universidad de Medicina de Harvard indica que cinco simples y económicas rutinas de ejercicios pueden ayudarte a mantenerte en forma y bajar tu riesgo de enfermarte. Estas rutinas son aptas para cualquier edad y capacidad física, también puedes practicar estos ejercicios en cualquier lugar y no te costará una fortuna en cuotas de gimnasio o de entrenadores personales.

     

    1. Nadar: Se le conoce como el ejercicio perfecto, y si es que vives cerca del mar, alguna alberca o centro deportivo, entonces te será más fácil hacer este deporte. Pero porqué es tan bueno, de acuerdo con el I-Min Lee, profesor de medicina en la Universidad de Harvard, la flotabilidad del agua soporta el cuerpo y absorbe la tensión de las articulaciones dolorosas para que puedas moverlas de forma más fluida. Las investigaciones muestran que la natación puede mejorar la salud mental y te dan un mejor estado de ánimo.
    2. Tai Chi: Este arte marcial chino combina en un solo ejercicio el movimiento y la relajación, es bueno tanto para la mente y el cuerpo, también se le llama “meditación en movimiento”. Si no eres de los que disfruta salir por tu cuenta y practicar este ejercicio en el parque mientras te relajas y entras en conciencia de ti mismo, entonces puedes unirte a alguna clase de Tai Chi.
    3. Ejercicios de fuerza: Los ejercicios de fuerza no son sólo para los que les gusta admirar sus músculos en los espejos de los gimnasios. Tampoco significa que este tipo de ejercicios te harán crecer tus bíceps. Para realizar esta actividad ni siquiera necesitas usar pesas. Existe una gran variedad de ejercicios de fuerza que podrás realizar utilizando sólo tu propio peso y puedes realizarlos en cualquier lugar. (Haz click en la siguiente liga para obtener una rutina completa) Si de cualquier manera quieres hacer pesas, puedes usar pesas ligeras que aunque no aumentarán el tamaño de tus músculos sí los fortalecerá. “Si no usas tus músculos, éstos se debilitarán. Además hacer músculo te ayuda a quemar calorías, mientras más músculo tienes, más calorías quemas, así te será más fácil mantener tu peso”, nos dice el Dr. Lee.
    4. Caminar: ¿A quién no le gusta caminar? Es tan simple y relajante. Es muy fácil de hacer pero potente y si pones un poco más de esfuerzo en lugar de sólo pasear sin rumbo, puede ayudarte a mantenerte delgado, mejorar los niveles de colesterol, fortalecer los huesos, a mantener la presión arterial bajo control, a levantar el ánimo y reducir el riesgo de un gran número de enfermedades (diabetes y enfermedades del corazón, entre otras). De acuerdo con la Universidad de Medicina de Harvard varias investigaciones han demostrado que caminar y hacer otros ejercicios físicos pueden mejorar la memoria y reducir su pérdida debido a la edad. Empieza con 10 minutos diarios, después incrementa de 30 a 60 minutos al día.
    5. Ejercicios de Kegel: Con este tipo de ejercicios no notarás cambios en los músculos externos (a pesar de que ayudan mucho con la postura y fortalecen los músculos del estómago), pero hacen un trabajo interno muy importante al fortalecer los músculos del suelo pélvico que sostienen la vejiga. Tener músculos fuertes en el piso pélvico es muy importante para nosotros las mujeres ya que esto nos ayuda durante el parto y su recuperación así como también ayuda a prevenir la incontinencia urinaria. Para hacer un ejercicio de kegel de forma correcta, aprieta y suelta los músculos que normalmente usarías para detener el flujo de la orina. Los maestros dicen que puedes también imaginar que estas subiendo el cierre en unos pantalones muy ajustados.

      Además de las actividades mencionadas, el truco es mantenerte activo. Las actividades diarias como limpiar, aspirar, trapear, subir y bajar escaleras, arreglar el jardín, bailar en tu recámara, o hacer sentadillas mientras ves la televisión, te ayudarán a estar en forma. 

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