5 Warmer Weather Workout Tips

Spring is just beginning and it's a great time to get out of the house and back in shape. Exercise will not only help you kick off the winter blues and blahs, it will also get you on the right track to lose weight and improve your health—right in time for warmer weather. Take these 5 post-winter workout tips.

1. Cardio Burns Calories
The number one cause of weight gain is inactivity. Evolution shaped our metabolic functions for a life on the move, but today we live more sedentary lives. Consider that our ancestors were hunter gatherers who spent most of their natural lives walking long distances to gather food, chase prey, and sometimes be chased. Nowadays, we're eating more and moving less. When you take in too much energy in the form of food, but don't burn it up in the form of exercise, your body stores the energy, or calories, for a rainy day—bad news for your waistline and long-term health.

Speed up your metabolism and burn excess calories with cardiovascular activities like walking, biking, aerobics, lap swimming, tai chi, and yoga stimulate the metabolism. Anything that gets your heart pumping will burn calories. If the conventional gym membership doesn't appeal to you, what about dancing, rollerblading, jumping on a trampoline, golfing, or gardening?

Whatever you choose for physical activity, you should be practicing it in your optimum zone. A healthy range of heart rate during exercise for the average person is between 90 and 120 beats per minute. A sports medicine specialist or trainer can help you find your individual ideal range of heart rate.

If weight loss is your goal, try taking B-Slim, a nutrient-rich dietary supplement designed to be part of a sensible overall weight management program.

2. Work Up to Your Workout
From my research and clinical experience, I believe that it is best to exercise 4 times or more per week, for 30 minutes. If you are just completely out of shape for whatever reason, start your exercise program gently and gradually. You may want to exercise only five minutes a day to start with, but the key to results is to do it every day. Incrementally increase the time you exercise by adding five additional minutes each week. By the end of the sixth week, you'll be up to 30 minutes-and feeling incredibly good!

3. Weight-bearing exercise
As you are working out your heart and burning calories, don't neglect your bones and muscles. Moderate load-bearing exercises are essential for bone density and muscle strength, which becomes especially important as we age. Add to your exercise routine: 20 minutes of weight-bearing exercise, 3 or 4 times a week. As with muscles and muscle tone, you have to use it or lose it. Work your bones and they'll stay strong. Weight-bearing exercises include walking, working out on elliptical machines, aerobics, and resistance training with light weights to develop bone mass density.

Consider supplementing your bone building with Dura-Bone, which contains bone and tendon-strengthening Chinese herbs.

4. All-in-one exercises
Take up tai chi for one-stop-shopping: cardio benefits, improved balance, bone building, and stress management. An ancient choreographed meditative exercise that is increasingly popular outside of China, tai chi is a gentle low-impact activity that yields all the major benefits of exercise without putting strain on your body. Do it 30 minutes a day, three times a week, and you will have balance physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Water workouts are another way to get all the benefits of exercise with one activity. Not only is swimming a great form of cardiovascular exercise, it also can help fight osteoporosis. For people that find themselves disabled by worn knees and hips, water acts as the perfect cushion for joints. Check out your local health club for water exercise classes.

5. When exercise is too much of a good thing

Some exercise aficionados go from spinning exercise to power yoga to running on treadmill machines, with barely a break in between. There is a point at which more exercise will exhaust and damage your cells and system instead of energizing and repairing them. The name of the game is to only exercise to the point that it makes you feel good. If you feel tired and achy instead of energized 15 minutes after your exercise session, you are going beyond the limit of what is healthy for you.

Another unhealthy exercising pattern is the "weekend warrior"—people who don't exercise much during the week but go to the extreme on weekends, engaging in vigorous physical activities like mountain biking or high-impact aerobics. There is nothing wrong with these intense activities, but when they are done infrequently, they often lead to injuries. Many studies show that regular, moderate exercise does more for your health and waistline than periodic intense workouts.

I hope this article helps you finds you on the road to fitness!

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

--Dr. Mao

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To learn more about Dr. Mao and other natural health tips, go to askdrmao.com.

To purchase Dr. Mao's book, "Second Spring," click here.

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