Spring into Fitness: Cardiovascular Fitness

Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise is continuous movement that gets your heart pumping more quickly and your breath coming a bit faster. It strengthens your heart and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing your risk for heart disease and stroke. It stimulates your immune system, helps control diabetes, reduces anxiety and depression, and helps lose or maintain your weight.

How to start your cardiovascular program:

1: Type of activity: Choose any activity that is fun for you. The choices are endless: walking, running, Zumba, kickboxing, jump rope, tennis, or swimming. As long as the movement has you moving continuously, gets your heart pumping  and your breath coming a bit faster.

2. Intensity: To gain cardiovascular benefits it is important to be exercising at an intensity where you feel like your body is working and being challenged, but not to the put where you feel like you need to stop moving. Intensity can be monitored by measuring your heart rate or using Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE).

3. Duration: 20-60 minutes. Start slow and build up. You can also break down activity into 10 minutes of exercise 3 times per day.

4. Frequency: 3-5 days/week.

5. Progression of Exercise Program: Set new goals, try new activities, increase duration and/or frequency.

Remember these are basic guidelines to follow and are modifiable depending on your current fitness level and goals.


Spring Clean your Diet

Get out your industrial-strength garbage bags and start using the following tips below to spring-clean your diet.

Things to trash:
· High-calorie dips, spreads, and condiments: Bye-bye nacho cheese sauce, French onion chip dip, blue cheese dressing, and mayo. Replace with salsas, vinaigrette dressings and mustards. Check to make sure these items are free of added sweeteners.
· Fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt: Stick with sugar-free, plain variety and mix in your own fruit or nuts. Choose Greek yogurt for more protein.
· Anything with trans fat
· Kids’ breakfast items
· Snack and sugary drinks

Stock up on the following:
· Lean proteins (chicken, turkey breast, fresh fish)
· Produce: Broccoli, spinach, apples. Cut up veggies in advance to save time and have healthy snacks accessible.
· A giant water pitcher to keep track of your H20 intake
· Rolled oats and canned beans
· Raw almonds, walnuts, pecans, and pistachios
· Tea