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Fitting Exercise into Your Schedule

Why Develop Your Cardiovascular Fitness?
Too often, we think, people assume that being fit means lifting weights. While total fitness and toned muscles often go together, strength training alone is just one piece of the workout puzzle. Another key component is your ticker – cardiovascular fitness to you sophisticated types. The benefits are obvious and many.

  • To achieve and maintain weight loss.
  • To reduce and maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
  • To reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • To manage high blood pressure.
  • To reduce tension and control stress.
  • To reduce anxiety and depression.
  • To boost your energy level.
  • To keep up with your kids.
Why Build Up Your Physical Strength?
Conversely, we know plenty of runners and cyclists who have done so much cardio training that their heart beats only on the weekends. We applaud their efforts; however, there are just as many reasons to add a bit of strength training to their regime as there are for strength-training devotees to improve their cardio fitness.
  • To increase your lean body mass, which helps you burn more calories at rest.
  • To prevent bone loss, which can begin in your 30s.
  • To reduce tension and control stress.
  • To improve your self-image.
  • Easier pregnancy and delivery. Quicker recovery postpregnancy to prepregnancy shape.
  • To help you accomplish physical tasks such as carrying the baby carriage up the stairs or groceries home from the supermarket.
  • To help you age gracefully. We begin to lose muscle mass in the third decade of life at a rate of about one pound of muscle each year or 8 percent per decade. It's no wonder that the elderly are virtual prisoners in their own homes, often unable to stand without assistance, clean, or shop.
Short Cuts Don't weigh yourself every day – it only leads to frustration since your weight fluctuates throughout the day. (For women, throughout the month as well.) Try weighing yourself at the same time and on the same day of the week once a week. We usually tip the scales first thing every Monday morning.

Why Extend Your Flexibility?
Stretching is probably the most neglected aspect of working out. Why? Because, first, it's hard, especially if you're tight. Second, many people don't feel as if they're doing anything. We're sympathetic to both concerns, but trust us when we say that stretching regularly is essential, especially when those grey hairs start appearing. Here's why:

  • To prevent injury to tight muscles that are not properly warmed up.
  • To maintain muscular balance. What does that mean? Imagine sitting at your desk in that typical forward slouched position. The muscles in the front part of your body become contracted and tight, which in the long term can lead to permanent postural changes (like the upper back hump that the elderly get).
  • To continue being able to perform normal, daily tasks like reaching up in the cupboard for dishes.
  • To continue being able to scratch your back yourself.
  • To continue being able to give yourself a pedicure if you are on a budget.
With proper diet and exercise you can be the best physical specimen that your particular genetic make-up allows you to be. Your goal should not be to look like the actresses or models that peer out at us from every magazine cover and poster. Base your goals on your own desires – a smaller dress or pants size, to be stronger or more flexible. These are goals that are tangible and will keep you interested and motivated.

Values-Based Prioritizing
Values-based prioritizing may sound complicated, but it's really just another way of saying that you decide which aspect of fitness is the most important for you at the time. Is it weight loss? Cardiovascular fitness? Are you eager to get stronger? Once you set your goals, we can help you design a workout stacked in that direction.

The Least You Need to Know

  • Time management is an important tool in being effective and productive.
  • You can plot your time to determine how much is spent doing nonproductive activities.
  • Success with your fitness regimen requires making it a priority.
  • Base your workout routine on your personal fitness goals.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Short Workouts © 2001 by Deidre Johnson-Cane, Jonathan Cane, and Joe Glickman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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