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Diet Action Steps

Do 2 more cardio exercises this week than you normally do

Of the three major elements of exercise Ė cardio, strength training and stretching Ė cardio is the more popular and more common choice. It has major weight loss benefits and is easy for exercisers at all levels to pick up. Running, stair climbers, elliptical, swimming, walking and biking are all good examples.

Cardio (or aerobic) exercise moves your body at an accelerated pace, during which your heart and lungs do their best to keep up with increasing needs for blood and oxygen. Have you ever noticed that when you run, the first part of your body to hurt is usually your chest? Thatís because your heart and lungs are being pressed to their limits. The results are burned calories and a stronger heart and lungs.

You donít have to start running five miles right away to get the benefits of cardio. Cardio for some is not cardio for others. For Olympic runners, it takes a very swift pace to be considered cardio. For others, brisk walking can be considered good cardio exercise. Itís important to know what level of exercise will accelerate your heart enough to burn calories (about 60% of your maximum heart rate). Itís also important to regularly step up your cardio program and challenge your body to improve beyond its current fitness barrier.

This Action Step is also a perfect opportunity to become a fitness adventurer. Instead of adding on to your usual routine of walking or running, try something new, like rollerblading or riding a bike. Head to the park and give the exercise trail a shot. Or gather some friends or family together for a game of basketball or to toss a Frisbee. You may re-discover one of your favorite activities from years past or discover a new one. Even if nothing beats your usual exercise, it will add a little variety to your workout and make fitness that much more a part of your everyday routine.

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