Wine X Vol 3.2
by Tammy DuBose
Fall is in the air and winter’s not far behind. As the leaves turn from green to gold, so our lives change from the ordinary daily routine to the twilight zone of holiday fever. Gone are the days of consistent exercise. This time of year we become nibblers and tasters of the pleasures of life.This is the perfect opportunity to start planning your holidays with an eye on your waistline. I like to call it “play.” Face it: it sounds much more enjoyable to say “I’m going out to play” instead of “I’m going to exercise my brains out.” So let’s take a few minutes and plan our play time.
Plan it Wisely
Finding the time to keep fit around the holidays is always a problem. So plan your days using a large calendar, leaving room for the unplanned party or holiday dinner that’s sure to come your way. Decide weather you should play in the morning, afternoon or evening. Once the time is decided, plan what you’re going to play.
This is where you can really get creative. Use your play time to come back to yourself. Or to unwind from your long day. Or use it as an escape route back to your childhood. Whatever you decide, remember: play is as good for you mentally as it is physically.
What to Play? How to Play?
If you’re like me you’re busy from morning to night, with little time for a break. Take the stairs. This’ll allow you to burn calories and firm-up those thighs. And if you’re really into it, add weights to strengthen your bones.
Then there’s the sack lunch workout. Take a brown lunch bag and fill it with your toys — a jump rope (for cardio), an exercise rubber band (for strength training), and an apple, banana and low-cal sandwich for the actual lunch. (Yes, you get to eat!) Twenty minutes of jumping rope is an amazing cardio blast. Follow that with 15 minutes of arm work with your exercise rubber band. Finally sit and enjoy lunch.
The Holiday Party
You’re caught at the office party and the boss insists that you try the wine. Great! You were supposed to play after the party. Try the wine. You don’t want to get fired. But remember: alcohol causes dehydration. So drink an equal amount (or more) of water. You’ll still be in the swing of things while, at the same time, combating the dehydration effect.
Next, grab a partner and start dancing to the beat of the holiday swing. Not only will you burn off a moderate number of calories, you’ll get to play with a friend. This just might keep you away from the holiday table, too. But remember: play nicely.
No Time for Losers
I know what you’re saying: sometimes there just isn’t any time to work out. Well, darlings, here’s my advice: make it, damn it! Skate, walk or bike to work. Take the stairs. Walk to lunch. Be creative. Your body will thank you.
The Urge to Splurge
Diet is a key component of staying fit. Resist the urge to splurge. Be disciplined — stop eating when you’re no longer hungry. Sounds like a no brainer, I know, but most people eat too fast, and by the time the stomach screams “STOP!” they’ve already shoveled in another helping. So here’s how to fix that. Start by allowing your body to feel hunger. Nothing new, I’m sure. But eat slowly. Enjoy every single bite. As your mother would say, chew your food. Sip your wine and ponder its depth and richness of flavor. Then stop eating when your body feels full. This’ll take some getting used to. But I promise that by using this approach you’ll get great results.
Okay, the holidays are now in full swing. You’re losing the commitment to your exercise regimen. Not to worry. Take your favorite holiday tunes tape, put it in your Walkman and jog to the gym. Or better yet, bike there. On the way home, pick up some holiday gifts. (Your bonus is building muscle strength as you tote all the goodies home.)
I Got to the Gym. Now What?
Considering that your workout facility will most likely be filled with the rest of humanity — desperate to look their best for that New Year’s kiss — having an exercise prescription will keep you well ahead of the crowd. A well-thought-out program is one that supports both cardiovascular fitness and muscle strengthening.
To get you warmed up, try the treadmill. Studies on exercise equipment have shown that the treadmill is the most effective machine for getting your heart rate up and for burning calories. Remember: increase the speed and grade (slope) slowly for the safest results. Those of us with knee problems may elect the stationary bike as our way to fitness. This is also very effective for raising your heart rate and burning off calories. Suggested time for either of these exercises is 20 to 30 minutes.
Strengthening your muscles requires that you make choices on what area of the body to work on, and then to work on them on alternating days. This’ll prevent injury and keep you from overstraining. Once the choice is made, check out your friendly personal trainer and ask for a few tips. The most common muscle areas to work on are: arms, gluts and abs.
If you’re like millions of Americans, group exercise is your play of choice. There are many group exercises to choose from. Here are a few of the most popular ones.
Spinning — One of the most intense biking drills around. This will firm and sculpt you legs, gluts and pull in those abs. The calories seem to melt away.
Cardio Kickboxing — Get out all your aggression and, at the same time, work your upper back, shoulders, hips, thighs and abs. This is in-your-face play!
Cardio Dance — If you love Latin, hip-hop or swing, there’s sure to be a cardio dance class for you. This is pure fun — the kind of play that just doesn’t get any better.
Yoga — Contrary to popular belief, yoga is no lightweight. There are many styles and forms which vary from instructor to instructor. All will require you to use your own body weight to build strength as you stretch. Powerful!
Last but not least remember: this is your play time. The choices are endless. And there’s no need to run a marathon when a walk around the block will do. Play in the snow with your favorite person or run in the rain and laugh like a madman!
As always, remember to check with your physician before starting any exercise program.
Relax. Enjoy. Play. Happy Holidays!
Suggestions for a quick effective workout
Take a fast-paced walk or jog around your block. Get your heart rate up for 20 to 30 minutes. Cool off, and then attack those abs. The most effective abs workout is one that works the various muscles in the ab group — upper, lower and laterals.
First: Upper abs. Lie flat on your back. Place your feet on the floor, and clasp your hands behind your head. Slowly, in two counts, contract your upper body toward your knees. Keep your elbows open as you curl up. If you can see your elbows out of the corners of your eyes, they’re up too high. Open them up more. What you want is to curl up like the letter C. Exhale as you come up and inhale as you roll down. Repeat this exercise 12 times.
Next: Lower abs. In the same position on the floor, place your hands behind your head. Bring your knee towards your chest, making sure your lower back remains in contact with the floor at all times. Now extend your right leg out and keep your foot flexed. Bring it back in toward your chest, and repeat this action with the left foot. If you feel a strain in your lower back, extend your leg out at a higher level. Repeat this exercise 12 times with each leg.
Finally: Laterals. Still on the floor, bring your knees up, drawing your heels toward your butt. Clasp your hands behind your head. Now, rotate your torso — take your right shoulder toward your left knee. Make sure it’s your shoulder, not your elbow. Come back to the center and then back down. Repeat this, taking your left shoulder to your right knee. Do this exercise 12 times on each side.