The beginning of the spring season just passed us on the 20th of March. Can you feel the “fever” in the air? Are you excited and anxious about the weather warming up and being able to spend some time outside? Are you looking forward to all the wonderful fresh vegetables that are awaiting us? How are you doing with that “New Year’s Resolution” to get healthy?
I really recommend everyone take some time to revisit their “why.” What do you want to create by following the Take Shape For Life program?
Well, here are some pointers to take a look at as we refocus on what we want to create and move into the new, fresh, spring season!
Exercise: What a great time to get moving! The temperature is warming up. Things are growing and budding and blooming! You can have a start fresh too.
Like most other adults, people who are obese or overweight can benefit from a quality exercise program designed to manage their weight, increase aerobic endurance, lower blood pressure and make positive changes to their health. However, unlike others who are already hovering around their ideal weight, obese individuals have special needs, needs that are important to address to avoid physical injuries and medical mishaps.
If you’re obese or overweight, the first step you should take before beginning an exercise program is to make an appointment with your physician for a complete physical examination.
Choosing the Best Exercise: Obese and overweight individuals have special needs. They carry additional weight on their bodies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year that places extraordinary demands on their musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. For many, the best place to start a fitness program is in the pool. The water works with the natural buoyancy of our body’s fat to help relieve stress from the ankles, knees and hips. If the thought of swimming laps turns you off, look into water aerobics classes at your gym. The pool is a great place to begin an exercise program.
Other good exercise choices are none weight-bearing activities like bicycling. Look for activities that are gentle on the muscles but demanding on the lungs.
After your first month in your exercise program, discuss alternative modes of exercise with your health coach, a TSFL trainer or your own personal trainer. It’s a good idea to have several things you can do — indoors or outdoors. Look for things you can do while traveling. Don’t let business travel or your vacation derail your exercise program.
Regardless of what exercises you choose, you’ll approach them the same way. Start slowly, progress slowly and stay consistent.
Begin by exercising 10 to 15 minutes at a time. If you can manage more, all the better. Listen to your body and avoid putting undue stress on your musculoskeletal system, especially in the beginning.
After you’ve passed the first hurdle of sticking with a consistent aerobic exercise program for several months, start adding 10 to 15 minutes of weight training to your routine several times a week. Weight training will not only burn more calories while you exercise, it will also build more metabolically active muscle tissue that will help you to shed the extra pounds.
Vegetables: Another great thing that happens in the spring is the arrival of fresh vegetables. Let’s discuss a few spring time vegetables that are allowed on the Take Shape For Life 5&1 weight loss program.
Asparagus: Although asparagus’s peak season is considered to run from April to May, in warmer climes, the green spears can appear as early as February. In addition to being easy to prepare – steamed, grilled, oven roasted… the choice is yours! – asparagus packs a whopping 114% of recommended daily allowance (RDA) per 1 cup serving of vitamin K, which is important for bone health, and nearly 66% RDA of folate, which helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
Mustard Greens: Great for infusing a little flavor into your salad or as a side dish all on their lonesome, mustard greens – whose season runs through the end of April – are perhaps most prized for their high vitamin K, A and C content. Like the three musketeers, these vitamins team up to fight free radicals and protect the body against the types of cell damage that could leave it susceptible to health conditions. In addition, mustard greens contain numerous nutrients that can contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system, including beta-carotene, vitamin B6, folic acid and magnesium. For the ladies, mustard greens also provide calcium to boost bone strength and may also help temper some symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and sleep interruptions.
Radishes: Although available year-round in the supermarket, we include radishes simply because they won’t be around when the temperature soars and we think you need to get ‘em while the getting’s good! What’s so great about radishes? Well, the little red and white bulbs pack a hefty dose of vitamin C, which serves as both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and also serves as an excellent source of potassium, which is important for kidney and blood health.
Fennel: When selecting, look for bulbs, with short, tight, overlapping celery-like stalks with feathery leaves. Choose fairly large, bright white bulbs on which the edges appear fresh. Bulb should be compact, not spreading. Flavor is similar to anise or licorice, becoming milder when cooked. Can be braised, grilled, roasted, steamed and even served raw. Fennel is a good source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium.
Okra: When selecting okra, choose short, less than 3 inch long pods with a velvety feel. No bruises or discoloration. Best used in Creole or Cajun-style dishes to thicken and add flavor. Complements tomatoes and peppers. Okra is an Excellent source of vitamin C and folate. Good source of fiber.
Spinach: Look for Firm, fresh, crisp deep green leaves. Should be no blemishes, insect damage, or wilting. Use small raw spinach leaves in salads with mushrooms, red onion. Steam, using only the water that clings to the leaves after washing. Season with shallots, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. Good source of potassium, magnesium and iron.