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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Exercise log

I normally don't exercise much, but these days I'm making it a point to do at least 15 minutes of any exercise, whether it's cardio or muscle toning.

I usually don't mind sports, and sometimes would actually be the one who's the most excited about it. My problem? Muscle strength + durability and cardiovascular strength. I actually learnt about both of these from my PE theory classes, but I clean forgot about the types of exercises to increase both muscular and cardiovascular strength and durability.

Muscular strength refers to the strength that your muscles have, and they don't have to be bulging like Dwayne Johnson's or Vin Diesel's to be considered strong. Muscles bulge only if you binge on protein, which is mainly what our muscles are made of. Muscular durability is related to how long your strength lasts before you get tired. Since I don't exercise much at all, my muscles get tired and seize up very quickly.

The cardiovascular system has something to do with your heart, lungs, and blood circulation. The better your cardiovascular strength, the longer the time span that your body can supply oxygen to the muscles. If you are out of breath easily, then your cardiovascular strength is pretty weak. Cardio exercises are also the best way to burn fat.

So usually at home, I'd do some jumping lunges, which is the same as the picture, with the difference that I stay where I am, just adding a jump in between lunges, which helps tone the leg muscles. Then some butt exercises here and there, and some push-ups. For some reason, I like to do my push-ups on soft surfaces like mattresses - I find the workout easier if my knees actually feel comfortable, as compared to a cold, hard tile floor that I usually did my push-ups on in high school.

I've tried doing this - it's a 7-day abs workout to burn fat and tone the muscles. It's supposed to be English, but the one that my friend gave me was in Chinese. However, I think the physical demonstration itself is sufficient. I saw effects on the first day already, and was determined to continue, but my determination was undermined by food and sleep.

Every time I have a whole day completely free of classes, I tend to make my younger sister exercise with me, with some DVDs that we have. Yoga, belly dance (my favorite XD), modern group dancing, Latin dance workouts, and we recently acquired a Jane Fonda workout VCD, but we've yet to try that out.

However, religious hard work pays off - I'm starting to see less orange-peel skin on the back of my thighs, and ... dare I say it - my butt looks nicer. My tummy has also decreased in size, though I don't know about my weight.

Ever since primary school, we've all heard from various teachers and pep talks that exercise is good for health, yada yada yada~ And we have to maintain a balanced diet to keep our immune system strong and bla bla bla. That is all easier said than done, and I mean that very seriously.

We're so completely used to having everything easy-fied for us, and some of us eat ready-to-eat food on a daily basis, not knowing what stuff they put into our food. Try following all those "healthy" rules in the book - regular exercise, and strictly follow the food pyramid where your food in concerned. I think some of us may find that nearly impossible.

BUT DON'T LOSE FAITH, DEAR PEOPLE! I HAVE ... uh ... an alternative? Nah. Just some tips. I'm no workout, diet or health guru, nor do I want to be. I like eating, and though I'm not really sensitive to the various tastes and flavors of food, I enjoy eating delicious meals. I like to snack, especially when I'm emotionally upset. Especially where chocolate is concerned, I'm wary about trading my milk chocolate for dark chocolate.

Here's some tips:

  • Roughly estimate the fat, oil, sugars, and carbohydrates in a dish or meal. Based on that estimation, make your decision.
  • Where salads are concerned, look for salads with really green veggies, some beans, and preferably a vinaigrette dressing. Caesar salad is by far the most unhealthy of salads - croutons, iceberg lettuce (lower in nutritional value than its greener counterparts) and unhealthy dressing.
  • Veggies doesn't only mean greens and carrots, you can flavor it with some pepper, vinegar, and even veggies that are flavorsome on their own such as olives and tomatoes.
  • Avoid creams, fried foods, cheesy stuff, pastries - usually the most common things that people would say are packed with calories and fats and whatnot.
  • Totally omitting all the stuff you love would make you feel just miserable - snack and indulge yourself every now and then. Limit your intake of these indulgences, though. Make it something like a treat for yourself every time you reach a goal or complete a mission.
  • Go at your own pace, rest when you need, but try to push yourself to complete the workouts you've planned or are following.
  • For best results, do the workout for a span of 10-30 minutes (depending on your goals), rest for 2-5 minutes, then continue.

Another disclaimer: I'm no professional, nor do I claim to be one.

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