The ABC’s of living well
by Mary Chase
So that New Year’s resolution is nagging at you, wondering when you are going to act on those thoughts. However, you’re overloaded with the media’s overwhelming amount of information this time of year about what food and exercise are best for your body. So I’m going to cover the basics or the ABC’s of eating and exercising well in the New Year.An easy way to approach the eating is by counting calories. Caloric information is available on about every food, including meat in 2011. Here are some good caloric standards to go by: a healthy active woman should eat between 1600 and 2000 calories a day. An active man should consume between 2000 and 2500 calories daily. Now keep in mind if weight loss is your goal this year one pound of fat is equal to about thirty five hundred calories. Yes that’s right, 3,500 calories to lose just one pound. With that staggering statistic remember that your caloric intake should not fall below 1100 calories a day to complete normal daily activities.
Now for exercising there are a couple of types of exercise to consider. The surgeon general suggest at least thirty minutes of intense cardiovascular exercise most days of the week. What this translates to is at least thirty minutes of exercise four or more days a week. The intense exercise means you should get 65-85 percent of your maximum heart rate. An easy and relatively accurate formula to calculate your exercising heart rate is to take 220-age which is approximately your maximum heart rate.
Cardiovascular exercise is only one aspect of being in good shape. Another is strength training. Strength training can be done with free weights, machines, or your own body as resistance. You should do strength training at least two to three days a week, with a day of rest in between sessions. Why strength train you ask? Strength training is a better fat burner than cardiovascular exercise for one thing. It can also increase bone density which is a concern as your body ages. Higher bone density can ward off pesky problems and help to a faster recovery if you do break or injure something.
The final aspect of a well rounded fitness routine is flexibility. You should practice some sort of flexibility exercises one to two times a week. That may be stretching for you. I personally love a great yoga class. In the last couple of years I have regularly practiced yoga at least once a week. It has really improved my previously barely adequate flexibility. Plus it’s a great opportunity to relax and become in touch with what your body is telling you about how it is functioning.
I hope this has helped you find some clarification to the sometimes daunting world of diet and exercise. Now go forth and bring those 2011 resolutions to fruition!