Sometimes Eating Right isn't Enough!
As lovers of food, we dietetics students are obviously on board with eating right for health. No one can deny the health benefits that come with increasing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in the diet, and cutting back on sweets and high-fat foods. The research also supports this notion. Medical nutrition therapy has proven to be beneficial in the management of several disease states including diabetes, heart disease, and renal disease, just to name a few.
However, the key to a truly healthy lifestyle includes not only good nutrition, but also EXERCISE! Exercise has benefits that simply cannot be gained from diet alone, such as improving mood, relieving stress, and enhancing cognitive function.
But people often experience barriers with exercise, such as the time it takes, the costs associated with equipment, gym memberships, etc., and the fact that it can get repetitive and boring.
The benefits of exercise far outweigh the barriers - but often times the barriers win, and we don't exercise as much as we should. Here are some workouts that may help overcome the barriers that stand in the way of daily exercise.
The 15-minute "I didn't have time to exercise today" Workout:
Find an open area inside (or outside) and complete these exercises, one after the other with no breaks!
3 rounds of:
• 1 minute jumping jacks
• 30 seconds squats (see picture below)
• 30 seconds squat hold with arms up
• 1 minute burpees
• 30 seconds push-ups
• 30 seconds mountain climbers
• 1 minute high knees (act like you're sprinting!)
**To make it easier: do exercises slowly at a comfortable pace
**To make it harder: add a jump to each squat
The 30-minute "I don't have any equipment and don't want to pay for a gym membership" Workout:
• Cardio: 25 repetitions of each:
o "Box" jumps: use a stair or sturdy bench, jump up and back down
o Leaps: stand on one leg, jump up in the air and land on the other leg (aim for height!)
o Squat jumps: regular squat with a high jump
o "Jump rope" with a twist: pretend you have a jump rope and twist your hips to the right and left as you jump
o Rest 1 minute, repeat cardio exercises 2 more times
• Strength: fill two grocery bags to an appropriate weight, and use them as dumbbells (use a gallon of milk, several bottles of water, or some canned fruits or vegetables)
• Do 3 sets of 15 for each exercise, then move on to the next exercise (see pictures below)
1. Biceps curls
2. Squat with an overhead press
3. Bent over row
4. Upright row
5. Triceps dips: use a stair or sturdy bench
• Core: 15 crunches, 30 seconds of bicycle crunches (repeat 3 times)
**To make it easier: use less weight in grocery bags or decrease repetitions
**To make it harder: add more weight or complete exercises as fast as you can
The 45-minute "I'm tired of doing the same exercises every day" Workout:
• Repeat this circuit 3 times: (use weights when possible)
o Speed walk/jog/run 1 mile
o 5 triceps push-ups: push-ups with elbows staying close to the body
o 10 single leg squats (each leg): stand on one leg, lower body in a squat position, and back up; do these slow and controlled
o 15 forward shoulder raises: stand with arms down, lift them up straight in front of you until reaching shoulder height, then back down (see picture)
o 20 crunches on a Swiss ball (see picture)
o 25 chest flies: lay on your back, start with arms and weights extended up above your heart, keep arms slightly bent as you lower arms toward the floor and back up to the starting position. Do on a flat surface, or stay on the Swiss ball for a challenge! (see picture)
o 30 walking lunges: do 15 forward and 15 backward
o Plank hold 1 minute
**To make it easier: do circuit once or twice instead of 3 times
**To make it harder: complete circuits as fast you can with no resting
Remember, exercise doesn't have to be long and strenuous to be effective. Find little ways to be more active throughout your day, like taking the stairs or going on a walk when you can. As future dietitians, we should always be promoting healthy lifestyles, which includes both good nutrition AND exercise!