Back in July, I wrote a blog detailing some simple ways on how to slim down without hitting the gym. Now that Spring is here, and summer is just a few months away, what better time than to get your mind, body, and soul, together by working it out in the comfort of your own home?
For me, fitness is a way to release any type of negativity that I may encounter. From a bad day at work to pent-up frustrations, working out is an alternative to bad habits that I have incorporated into my lifestyle and so should you. Now, I am not advising anyone to run out and join the nearest gym, especially if you are not consistent with a daily regimen, but you need to start considering how does your overall health influence your well-being?
For those of you who are unaware, heart disease is the number 1 killer of Americans, and stroke is the second leading cause of death. As alarming as those statistics are the risks of getting those diseases are even higher amongst African-Americans. However, African-Americans can improve their odds of preventing and beating these diseases by understanding the risks and taking simple steps to address them.
With proper education and resources, you can be on your way to a healthier you sooner than later. Below are a few at home fitness routines that will help you beat the odds of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes, which is also a leading health disparity with African Americans.
Stay in Balance
Before I start listing healthy foods to eat and which workouts will produce the best results, it is important to mention that being balanced throughout your life is what will keep you from falling off the wagon. As many times as, I stopped or started a “health journey”, I quickly realized that once you do too little or too much of something, it becomes more difficult to get on the right path.
As you settle into an active lifestyle, you’ll probably discover which foods give you the most energy and which have negative effects. The key is learning to listen to your body and balancing what feels right with what’s good for you.
Before you get started you want to:
- Focus on making breakfast a part of your routine
- Fill up your fridge with healthy workout snacks
- Dedicate 30-45mins of exercise at least 2-3 times a week
The right balance of fuel and exercise is what will push you to do your best and to see results throughout the process.
Contralateral Limb Raises
I know it sounds tough, but don’t let the name scare you away. This workout is great for toning the upper body area and is easy to do.
From your starting position, contract your abdominal/core muscles to stabilize your spine and slowly extend one hip (raise one leg) a few inches off the floor while simultaneously raising the opposite arm a few inches off the floor.
Keep both your leg and arm extended and avoiding any rotation in each. Maintain your head and torso position, avoiding any arching in your back or raising of your head. Hold this position briefly before returning to your starting position.
No equipment is needed for this, and the areas of focus are the hips, back, butt and shoulders.
Counting the Right Carbohydrates
According to the Mayo Clinic, about 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories should come from carbohydrates. This is especially true if you exercise regularly.
Choosing the right kind of carbohydrates is important when choosing a healthier lifestyle. Too many people rely on the simple carbs found in sweets and processed foods. Instead, you should focus on eating the complex carbs found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
Whole grains have more power than refined grains because they can be digested more slowly. They can help you feel full for longer and fuel your body throughout the day. Whole grains can also help stabilize your blood sugar levels. Lastly, these quality grains have the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body running at its best.
Walking is simple, yet powerful. It can help you stay trim, improve cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, keep blood pressure in check, lift your mood, and lower your risk for several diseases. A few studies have shown that walking and other physical activities can even improve memory and resist age-related memory loss.
All you need is a well-fitting and supportive pair of shoes. You want to start with walking for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time. You can walk around your neighborhood and over time, you can start to walk farther and faster until you’re walking for 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week or even escalating to running.
Eating Healthy Fats
Unsaturated fats may help reduce inflammation, and they help provide calories. While fat is a primary fuel for aerobic exercise, we have plenty stored in the body to fuel even the longest workouts. However, getting healthy unsaturated fats helps to provide essential fatty acids and calories to keep you moving. Healthy options include:
- oils, such as olive oil
Squats aren’t just for women who want a perfect butt. Squat jumps are a great way to increase heart rate and to add a little cardio to your routine. This exercise can be done whether you are a beginner or expert and no equipment is needed.
It is suggested, you first learn how to squat and land before attempting to jump. Once you have mastered the hip-hinge mechanism, begin with small jumps, but emphasize your landing mechanics. Only progress to more explosive jumps once you have mastered your landing mechanics.
Keep in mind that each of these tips listed above may vary from person to person. Depending on health factors and preconditioned diagnosis, consult a health care physician before starting any new fitness routine.