Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Keeping up with your exercise sessions

Become a Stair Master!

Keeping up with your exercise sessions — a walk, a bike ride, a strength-training workout, a fitness class — is great and goes a long way toward burning calories and making you feel fit. But don't forget the importance of working more physical activity into your daily routine! One easy way to remind yourself is to think about every little step you take!
Simple choices, like regularly taking the stairs instead of the elevator, keep your body burning calories all day long. Short bursts of activity like that can really add up — which is especially important on days when you can't find time to work out. Here are some tips on stepping your activity up a notch:

* Climb on. Take the stairs instead of elevators and escalators at home, at work, and anywhere else you can. In addition to burning more calories, you'll save time — a University of South Carolina study once showed that waiting to ride an elevator takes 20 seconds longer than climbing up one flight of stairs. And you've probably seen people zip past you on the stairs while you've been stuck standing on a crowded escalator.

* Split it up. If you need to go up several flights and can't climb them all, try a combination of the stairs and the elevator. Remember, every step counts!

* Take it down. Don't forget to take the stairs on the way down too. One study of hikers in the Alps found that hiking downhill (similar to going downstairs) had unique health benefits — it helped lower blood sugar levels (whereas going uphill lowered cholesterol).

If you're used to skipping the stairs, think again (unless, of course, you have knee problems or other health concerns that make stair-climbing unsafe for you). Today, see if you can take the stairs at least once when you normally wouldn't. Then tomorrow, do it twice. In no time, you'll be a stair master!

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