Pilates for Weight Loss

These days, weight loss is a major issue that almost everyone is concerned about. That is because the sedentary lifestyle is catching up and making obesity part of modern living. Unfortunately, beauty and sexiness are often linked with having a fit and slim physique. Thus, weight loss is considered as very important for a person’s overall appearance and confidence. Liposuction is very popular these days as a form of instant and effective weight loss. But for people who do not like the idea of undergoing surgical procedures, Pilates could be a good surgery-free alternative.

Pilates is a form of an exercise program that was developed by a physical fitness guru named Joseph Pilates during the height of the World War I. It is an exercise program that was developed to focus on flexibility and core strength. Specifically, the exercise program could bring about more ideal muscle tone that in turn could lead to a ‘taller and streamlined’ appearance. The tasks involved in the exercise could help you engage your core muscles (comprising of abdominal) and inner back muscles (especially those in the mid-back and lower back section). Thus, it could help you improve your overall posture, keep your back stronger, and attain a better posture.

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What people usually like about Pilates is that it does not require too much. The tasks could be done right at the comfort of your very own home. You may use a half-inch thick mat or just the floor. The exercise routines could take just several minutes to complete. You do not need any special equipment or tools. This is because the program is much focused on overall and targeted body movements. You could learn Pilates in many ways: through instructional videos and manuals or through guidance from experts or class facilitators.

Pilates is an exercise that is designed strategically for both men and women from all ages. The benefits are derived from the basic movements. When you do a Pilates movement, you are subjecting your body to a range of motions. There is no need to force the body to go further beyond what it could comfortably handle. The movements may be slow but they are more effective in burning stored calories. Proper and recommended pattern of breathing also helps make the exercise tasks more effective and relaxing. Overall stance is improved as well.

Not only does Pilates tone abdominal muscles. It is also effective in reducing back pains and lowering the chances for development of osteoporosis, especially in aging women. Combined with several other forms of cardiovascular exercises, Pilates could do a great wonder in losing those unlikely excess pounds at the shortest time possible. If you are aiming to lose those flabs that make your tummy area look awkward, you should strive to do Pilates exercise routines regularly. Pilates could also be considered as a mind and body exercise due to its highly targeted resistance in every movement. The exercise program is recommended for everybody, especially athletes, dancers, and obese people.

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Brief Look at Pilates Movements

It is just logical that Pilates is currently one of the most popular exercise programs. More and more people are getting into it because of the health and physical benefits it provides. Other than that, peer influence is also one important factor that helps make the popularity of the exercise program further rise.

Pilates involves a great deal of physical discipline. A person needs to be properly motivated to be able to conduct the tasks involved. The activity is also very relaxing. Many people assert that Pilates helps them achieve overall relaxation after a long day of work. Through proper breathing techniques along with required body movements in the exercise, people could achieve physical coordination, strength training, and relaxation at the same time.

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Indeed, Pilates helps people not just achieve physical goals. The exercise also helps them improve body balance and overall posture. Specifically, Pilates is aimed at helping people develop balance between aligning spine and proper breathing (inhalation and exhalation). Let us look at the basic movements when doing the exercise routines in Pilates.

The footwork

More emphasis is given to footwork in Pilates. That is because muscles in the legs and in the lower part of the body are the main focus and source of strength in the exercise. Surely, you would be moving your body muscles but control and balance is dictated by the biggest muscle group, which consists of the foot and lower body muscle group.

You could choose to do a variety of Pilates footwork tasks. You could take in combo or single exercises. The combo exercises are naturally consisting of a set of leg exercises infused and integrated into a Pilates exercise. Example of which is the ballet combo, which is an integration of a number of ballet movements specially modified for Pilates. There is also the sleeper style of exercises for Pilates.

Lying positions

Other than the footwork, you should also be aware of the different supine or lying positions when doing the exercise. Such exercises really help the body achieve total relaxation. Take note that while the body is in the relaxed state during supine positions, movements still are burning calories to achieve benefits similar to those from regular exercises.

Supine positions could be strategic if you would observe proper form. This is why you should be guided by a professional. Attending a regular Pilates class is one way to learn effective and proper lying positions in the program.

Rowing movements

If you are observing Pilates exercises, you must have noticed that there are tasks that resemble movements in rowing. Such movements are also recommended and are required in every Pilates session because they facilitate proper coordination between breathing and different muscle groups all across the body.

Overall, you would notice that Pilates exercise routines involve a combination of footwork, supine positions, and rowing movements all rolled into one. It could be the main reason why Pilates is very effective in extracting sweat from your body, which in turn helps burn up stored body calories.

 

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History of Pilates

If you aim to understand the power Pilates has in strengthening your body, it would be appropriate to take a short glimpse at the history of the exercise program. You may have the impression that Pilates is like Yoga, which has been developed thousands of years ago. Be informed that Pilates was only developed in the 1920s, during the height of the World War I.

It was 1880 when a sickly baby was born in Dusseldorf, Germany. The boy was named Joseph Pilates. As a very young child, Joseph was contended in watching his friends jump, run, and play games. He was not able to do the same because his weak body was frail. That was when the methods of Pilates were conceived by the young Joseph.

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Joseph was very determined to find ways to improve his physical strength, stamina, and overall health. He then set a lifelong quest for an appropriate fitness program and exercise. Joseph not only succeeded in overcoming his physical frailties. Eventually, he mastered them all. As he aged, Joseph stood to become an accomplished gymnast, boxer, skier, and yogi.

During the World War I, Joseph took an internship in England. There he worked as a male nurse, treating and attending to injured victims of the war. He was very convinced in his own belief that specific exercises could effectively help in the rehabilitation of badly damaged bodies. Most of the patients he handled were not really able to move. Joseph’s determination to help patients gain mobility and strength was undeterred.

He then rigged up hospital beds of war patients with springs and straps. At the same time, Joseph created several series of strategic exercises that aim to help move patients’ joints through great ranges of motion. Such exercises aimed to also help patients develop flexibility, endurance, and muscle strength. Surprisingly, most of Joseph’s patients were eventually able to finally get up and then move around on their own.

Joseph, together with his wife, moved to New York City in 1923. There, the couple opened a fitness studio that aimed to provide rehabilitation to injured dancers. Several famous dancers that became clients of the studio were Martha Graham and George Balanchine. Since then, word about the Pilates method spread like wildfire.

Soon the renowned Pilates method became an exercise of choice not just by many dancers but also by many professional athletes and entertainment icons. For many decades, Pilates was enjoyed exclusively by the elite community. It was a form of an exercise program that was enjoyed only by the rich and the famous.

However, in the past decade, Pilates found its way to reach more people. Many membership gyms and fitness clubs have started offering Pilates classes and sessions. Many people have since then discovered for themselves how Pilates could truly help them effectively gain flexibility, strength and body balance. Most of them have been awed by the fact that they need not spend more time at the gym just to attain desired results. Not surprisingly, Pilates emerged to become among the hottest trends in fitness and health.

 

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Fitness Apparel

In a sports apparel specialty store you will delight at the wide range of clothing plus accessories that is available in the market. Specific sporting apparels like golf, fitness exercise, equestrian and yoga are very much available. The apparel for sports like surfing or rafting and even mountaineering are abounds. The wet-suits are perfect for surfing apparel. The sports apparel include caps, batting gloves and rafting vests. Here’s a short list on how to choose your sports and fitness apparel.

 

The Golf Wear

The golf apparel can be found in any specialty sport store. The golf apparel usually includes a trouser with a t-shirt. In golf apparel, comfort is the most important factor. Chinos are also very popular golf wear. Hats and caps of varying designs and makes are also available. Of course outlandish gears worn by some professional golfers are also available.

 

The Running / Fitness Wear

The running apparel is best made with cotton to retain moisture that causes friction and might lead to possible chafing. The running shorts and tights including the cotton socks are the basic running gear. When running apparel is being chosen, try to select a base layer top which keeps you dry for an extended run. Comfortable and fit running shoes must be matched to keep you fresh on the run.

The fitness gear pertains to all kinds of apparel including aerobics and gymnastics. The multi-colored tights and leotards are the best and most comfortable during a workout. The fitness gear must be selected with care. Choose the proper material and correct size when selecting the fitness gear is a must.

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The Athletic Apparel

The athletic apparel must be chosen with the climate and weather in thought. An apparel that is not suited for the weather will hinder the performance of an athlete. A popular athletic wear is the running or jogging pants with a drawstring waist. These type of athletic apparel can be purchased at discounted rates. The all weather gear is designed to keep most of the elements out. An athlete depends on the athletic gear to perform at his best.

 

The Equestrian Apparel

The equestrian gear is mainly about breeches and boots. There are specialty equestrian stores that stock clothing and other equipment for riding. The casual equestrian gear could be riding breeches matched with a plain shirt. The paddock boots available also at equestrian apparel stores complete the set for an equestrian. A pair of riding pants and a jersey can be bought at an equestrian apparel store. When having lessons on riding, you may want to look online for equestrian stores to see and choose an outfit which lets you ride with great style and comfort. A little pricey in most cases but may be worth the price. A western style of gear is also available in specialty shops.

 

The Yoga Apparel

The yoga apparel must be very comfortable and loose for easy movement. A t -shirts and a loose-fit short are basic yoga apparel which will keep you fresh and comfortable. Also, it does not cost much. The designer yoga apparels are available at special yoga stores. Yoga Capri pants and unitards are available at yoga apparel store. The special Asana clothing can be found at very exclusive yoga outlets.

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Dieting for Success Making it Happen

Dieting is far too often approached from the mindset of impending failure. Too many people have tried and failed so many diets in their past that they try the next new diet with the absolute knowledge that they will fail in this attempt as well. Guess what? They will.

Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can or think you can’t you will always be right.” If you think you are going to fail at this diet you are dooming yourself to failure before you even deprive yourself of the first bite. Think about that before you begin because only a true masochist could find pleasure in perpetuating this vicious cycle without ever stopping to wonder why none of the other diets have worked for you. Henry Ford also said, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently”. In case you were wondering I would say his words are quite profound. Seriously though, if you do not examine the reasons for your failures you are certainly dooming yourself to repeat them and if you are already planning to fail why on earth would you even try?

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You are the only person who can take control of your need to eat. You are the only one who can pay attention and notice when you are eating for emotional fulfillment and when you are eating from necessity. You and you alone can get yourself out of your chair and on your feet. You are the only one that can take the responsibility for the condition in which you find yourself. There are medical exceptions but even in these situations if you are trying diet after diet and failing over and over again then you must at some point in time realize that it is quite likely not the diets that aren’t working.

We must all be accountable for our successes and failures in life. It is no different when it comes to dieting. There are few better feelings in the world than for someone to notice and compliment your efforts. If you are very obese unfortunately, it may take a little more time for people to actually notice the weight you’ve lost. Too many men and women give up simply because no one noticed and that is an incredible shame. Give your dieting practices an opportunity to work before you decide they are a failure and you just might surprise yourself with a roaring success.

The truth is far too few people hold themselves accountable to their dieting and weight loss goals. This means that far too many people are giving up without really ever bothering to give it an effort. If you have an issue holding yourself accountable to your dieting plans, perhaps you would do well to diet with a partner. This helps you not only set goals but also to meet and exceed challenges along the way. A partner can also benefit from the partnership as he or she will be challenged and feel the need to perform better than if he or she were dieting alone.

You must hold yourself accountable to your stated dieting and weight loss goals in order to achieve any lasting results. If you have not had dieting success in the past, then perhaps it is time to bring some degree of accountability into the picture and make it happen.

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The Stomach Exercise All-Star

There are plenty of stomach exercises out the for those who want to shape their core and strengthen their midsection. This may be both a blessing and a curse. It is easy to find plenty of exercises and routines that work the midsection, but how does one know which ones are any good? Well, listed here are what appear to be some of the best around, according to recommendations by fitness experts. If you want to work on your stomach, but are not sure where to start, then this “all-star team” may be a good jumping off point. As with any workout routine, be sure to consult a professional before beginning and always warm up properly to avoid injury.

 

Crunchless Crunch

Regular crunches are great for working the rectus abdominus (the muscles at the front of your stomach), but they do very little for the transverse abdominal muscles deeper in the midsection, plus they tend to put strain on your back and neck. This first exercise corrects that, working the transverse muscles with no back or neck strain. Essentially, it involves trying to pull the belly button in towards the spine. This can be tricky, as it involves using muscles which you may not be used to activating. To start, either lie or on your stomach or kneel. You might want to try both ways and see which helps you feel the exercise better. Relax your body as much as possible, then try to use only the lower abdominal to move your belly button toward your spine. Hold for ten seconds. If holding for ten seconds feels easy, hold for a longer period. The goal is to hold the contraction until you either cannot feel it, or you feel other muscles working harder than the transverse abdominus. When you feel this, let the contraction out.

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Hip Lift

Remain on your back for this stomach exercise. Put your arms at your sides with palms facing up to the ceiling. Put your legs straight up in the air so that the soles of your feet are facing the ceiling and your legs make about a ninety degree angle with your torso. Keep your knees unbent and as straight as possible. Now, contract your ab muscles so that it feels like your belly button is being pulled toward your spine, while at the same time gently lifting your hips off the floor. Raise your hips to height of a few inches, keeping your legs extended straight upward. Hold this position, then slowly lower your hips back to the floor. Repeat for an entire set.

 

Long Arm Crunch

For this stomach exercise, remain on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Lie back and extend your arms straight back on the floor as though you are reaching above your head. Contract your abs and slowly lift your arms, head and shoulders off the floor to about a thirty degree angle. Hold it, then slowly lower your shoulders back to the floor. Repeat for an entire set. Be careful not to lead with your arms, keeping them straight and alongside your head.

Some other honorable mentions include the vertical leg crunch, torso twists, and any Pilates routine that emphasizes the core. Feel free to research some of these exercises more once you have mastered the three above. Now that you are armed with some of the better stomach exercises, you are on your way to a trimmer tummy!

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Fitness Trainer: Boredom Busters

One of the biggest obstacles to staying on track for fitness is losing motivation. People are just starting an exercise program can find themselves quickly tired of the same routine. Keeping exercise appealing and maintaining a good fitness perspective is key to long-term success.

If you have to watch the exact same episode of your favorite television show every day for the rest of your life, you would probably be banging your head against the wall by the end of the week. You would change the channel, pick up a book, or do anything you could to avoid something you once enjoyed.

Yet, many people starting on a fitness program feel compelled to follow the same routine, day after day after day, and consequently fall off the exercise wagon due to sheer boredom.

That is why, most people would want the services of a fitness trainer in order to provide them the different portions of the fitness program in a more livelier style.

Fitness trainers are actually those who are expert in analyzing and creating a fitness program that is right for you. They are the ones who will calculate your appropriateness to a certain program with regards to your “fitness level,” create the program according to your specific needs, and keep you stimulated and inspired by giving you activities that will not bore you.

But then again, as with other entities included in the fitness world, not all fitness trainers are created equal. They may vary from the different training that they have, the health education they have acquired, and the skills that they have learned.

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Hence, it is important to consider some factors that will determine if a certain fitness trainer is right for you. Here is how:

Certification

Like any item or product, the quality is sometimes measured and determined through the certification that goes with it. Hence, before you choose your fitness trainer, it is important to verify if the trainer is duly certified by a highly regarded fitness association.

It is also best to choose a trainer that has a CPR certification or first aid qualifications.

Education/Training

Be sure to choose a fitness trainer who had acquired an adequate training and education as far as health and physical fitness is concerned.

Even though it is not necessary, trainers who have acquired education connected with health or any other related field will definitely have an edge over the others.

Knows how to give the right attention

A good fitness trainer should know how to provide his or her client an undivided attention whenever their session is going on. In this way, the trainer will be able to focus more on the details that needs attention and immediate considerations.

Knows how to track development

It is best to choose a fitness trainer that knows how to track his or her client’s progress as far as fitness is concerned.

In this way, the trainer will be able to generate new activities and training designated for a particular result of the client.

Good Personality

Since you will be dealing most with your fitness trainer, it is best if you will look for somebody with a pleasing personality, somebody whom you can be comfortable. It is best to hire the services of somebody whom you can easily get along with.

Boiled down, the services of a fitness center and the contributions it can give you while working out on those belly fats, are, indeed, one of the best help that you can get from a professional person who knows what he is doing.

Hence, it is best to choose the best person who can give you the best services that you need so that you will never get bored again.

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Dieting Without Sacrifice

So many people view dieting as some sort of cosmic punishment or sacrifice for not having the perfect body. They believe that enjoying food is somehow bad for them, which couldn’t be further from the truth. If you want to be completely honest with yourself, when it comes to dieting, it isn’t about giving up food or flavor; it’s about discovering new foods and flavors. At least that is what it is for those who truly love food as well as adventure.

There are many spices out there that can make even the blandest of foods a little exciting. Fish and chicken are popular diet foods because they are lean meats. However, adding a little blackening seasoning is a great way to put a little punch in your meal that will make it taste great without packing on the calories of dressing marinades or soaking in butter before broiling. You do not have to stop there. Italian seasoning can also add a little flavor to your kitchen without adding the extra calories that you are working so hard to avoid.

There are all kinds of seasonings that will work well in this instance. Many great seasonings for chicken also make great additions to chicken that will be included in salads for healthier lunches or salad wraps. Grains are good for you when you concentrate on whole grains. They are quite often the primary source of fiber in a diet and you need fiber almost as much as you need water. At any rate, simple things that spice up the same old lunch can have a huge impact on your enjoyment of food.

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You can even enjoy the occasional treat when dieting as long as you do so sparingly. The key when dieting is to learn about proper portions and moderate indulgence. You can find all kinds of low sugar or low carb desserts on the market that you can enjoy sparingly. You can even find sugar free or low calorie candy in some cases though you should keep in mind that calories, particularly when it comes to candy you eat unconsciously add up quickly and you must pay close attention to those things you put into your mouth.

My point in all this though is that you do not have to sacrifice flavor in order to diet. You can live without butter; there are many substitutions on the market that are quite remarkable. But seasonings are a great way to add a lot of flavor for a tiny bit of effort on your part. Desserts are also great and you can find many dips and sauces that can be made with fat free or low fat mayonnaise or sour cream in order to cut a few more calories during your dieting process.

These dips and sauces can often make a great substitution, when paired with vegetables, for those chips and dips we love so much and often miss when dieting. Cucumbers, green, red, and yellow peppers, broccoli, and carrot sticks all have a nice little crunch to them that when combined with a good low fat dip can help cure the crave beast for greasy chips that often rears its head when dieting.

If you watch your calories carefully during meals you should be delighted to know that there are many little snack treats that are prepackaged in 100 calorie packs for your enjoyment. This means that you can indulge on occasion in those treats that you love most without sacrificing all your dieting efforts in the process. These snack packs have become one of the best marketing ploys since the invention of diet colas. We all want the benefits of losing weight and will readily admit that if it were a simple process we’d all be thin. However, having something like these hundred calorie snack packs to carry you through the worst of your cravings can mean the difference between dieting success and failure. They are definitely the difference in the old way of dieting and the new way of dieting without sacrificing flavor.

 

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Stomach Exercises to Work Off Those Love Handles

A major complaint of people who want to look more fit is belly fat. Specifically, a large number of people have trouble with “love handles.” Far from lovely or lovable, these are deposits of fat that take up residence on the sides of one’s lower torso, around the external oblique muscles. Traditional crunches and sit-ups will not do much for this sort of chub, as they mainly work the abdominal muscles and not the obliques. The good news, however, is that there are a few stomach exercises which specifically target the obliques, helping trim love handles. As with any new physical activity, consult a professional before beginning and be sure to properly warm up to avoid injury.

Side Bend

A simple exercise, side bends are also probably the most effective method for losing love handles. Start by standing upright. Position your feet shoulder width apart and bend your knees slightly. Lower your whole torso to one side, then back to the other. Lean only side to side, not backwards or forwards.

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Torso Twist

This stomach exercise is also effective at reducing love handles, and is good to do right after the side bends in your routine, as it is also done in a standing position. Again, with feet shoulder width apart, slowly twist the body to one side, then to the other. The key here is to twist from your torso, not from the hips. As much of the twisting work as possible should be done by your oblique muscles, not your hip flexors. Keep your torso upright with no bending.

 

Side Crunch

The next two stomach exercises require you to get off your feet and lie down, preferably on the floor or other flat surface. Use a mat or towel as a cushion if you have a particularly hard floor to work with. Lie down on one side. For simplicity, let us say you are on your right side to start. Bring your right arm across your waist so that your right hand comes to rest on your left side. Touch your ear with the fingertips of your left hand, so that your left elbows winds up pointing straight upward. Lift your shoulders up off the floor while simultaneously raising your left leg to height of about twelve inches (30 cm). Contract your obliques as you do this. Hold for a few seconds, then gently lie back down. Do this for an entire set, then switch to the right side.

 

Seated Knee Drop

First, position yourself on the floor so that you are resting on your hipbones (not sitting on your butt). You can put your hands on the floor behind you to keep yourself stable in this position. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Put your ankles together. Now lower your knees to the right. Your feet will roll on to their sides, but should remain on the floor. Continue this lowering move until your knees are about six inches above the floor. Hold for one second, then go back up and down to the left side. Move slowly and under control, using your stomach muscles rather than momentum to raise and lower your legs.

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The Importance of Physical Fitness

One of the simplest and most effective ways to bring down blood glucose levels, cut the risk of cardiovascular disease, and improve overall health and well-being is physical fitness and exercise. Yet, in our increasingly sedentary world, where almost every essential task can be performed online, from the driver’s seat, or with a phone call, exercising and being physically fit can be tough case to sell.

 

In reality, everyone should exercise, yet survey shows that only 30% of the United States adult population gets the recommended thirty minutes of daily physical activity, and 25% are not active at all.

 

Inactivity is thought to be one of the key reasons for the surge of type 2 diabetes in America, because inactivity and obesity promote insulin resistance and other factors that trigger other kinds of diseases.

The good news is that it is never too late to get moving, and exercise is one of the easiest ways to start controlling the onset of any kinds of diseases. For people who are already candidates for some serious diseases like diabetes and heart failure, exercise and physical fitness can improve the condition of some parts of the body like insulin sensitivity, lower the risk of heart disease, and promote weight loss.

In 2003, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism had published an issue regarding the result of their study and found out that lack of exercise and physical fitness were the key factors behind obesity and other serious diseases like diabetes.

Hence, it is extremely important for a person to stay healthy and be physically fit in order to avoid such illnesses.

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Getting Started

The first order of business with any exercise plan, especially if you are a “dyed-in-the-wool” couch potato, is to consult with your health care provider.

If you have cardiac factors, your doctor may want to perform a stress test to establish a safe level of exercise for you.

Certain complications of some diseases will also dictate what type of exercise program you can take on. Activities like weightlifting, jogging, or high-impact aerobics can possibly pose a risk for people with diabetic retino-pathy due to the risk for further blood vessel damage and possible “retinal detachment.”

Health experts also contend that patients with sever peripheral neuropathy or PN should avoid foot-intensive weight-bearing exercises such as long-distance walking, jogging, or step aerobics and opt instead for low-impact activities like swimming, biking, and rowing.

If you have conditions that make exercise and physical fitness a challenge, your provider may refer you to an exercise physiologist who can design a fitness program for your specific needs.

If you are already active in sports or work out regularly, it will still benefit you to discuss your regular routine with your doctor.

The bottom line is that physical fitness and exercise should not have to be a rigid activity and should not come off strong. Your exercise routine can be as simple as a brisk nightly neighborhood walk, walking the dog, or simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The important thing is that you keep on moving. Every little bit really helps a lot.

In the end, you will realize that the many things that good food can bring you are equally the same as what physical fitness can do for you.

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