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• Diet, exercise essential to healthy lifestyle

September 7, 2012
By MIKE MUKLEWICZ - The Scene , Times Leader

With another summer in the rear view and autumn quickly approaching, it's evident by now how each of us feels, personally, about this year's fitness effort. No matter where you turn, fitness is simply a broken record. Whether it be magazines, commercials, or those little rectangle banners at the bottom of our apps that we all love so much- you can't hide from the best new way to shed those ol' pounds.

Let's face it, society has turned us into greedy and gluttonous creatures. Who doesn't like a 16oz. double bacon cheeseburger with barbecue sauce seeping out the side? Or is cheesecake more your style? *looks down at feet*

The problem is that by definition, only 1 out of every 5 of us exercises enough. Getting in shape takes a combination of two things - exercise supplemented by a healthy diet. Now, we can't just pick one here because if it's a choice - who wouldn't pick just a diet? You can talk about how many carbs and grams of sugar you're not consuming right from where these words are being typed. It takes no effort, so of course that would be any easy choice. There's no substitution for either and one will flop without the other. Period.

No matter what level of fitness you currently sit at, it is worth trying. All our goals won't be the same. Whether you'd like better posture, muscle tone, stamina, or cardiac health- there's definitely something that can catch any ones eye in the fitness world if you look. The first step Nike hit right on the head with their three-word marking slogan- Just Do It. Nothing can be completed without the first step and you can't get to a top of a mountain with a singular leap.

Most people would concur that technology is a negative when it comes to becoming a healthier individual, as many of us use all our nifty inventions to make us that much lazier. Again, if you look around, all those little inventions can motivate you. Microsoft's hands free video game console, the Kinect, for instance can have you dripping sweat in a 4 square foot area in your living room. Yes, this still counts! Why wouldn't it? Who cares there's a crazy silhouette in your window for your neighbors to see! You're jumping through a virtual obstacle course or dancing to Katy Perry's new hit! It's still effort and being active. Head into your App Store or Google Play Store and download a GPS running application. Coming home to the results and progress at your fingertips really is a satisfying sense of accomplishment as you desperately gasp for breath the next 15 minutes after a jog.

A very overlooked aspect is the fun can be had and the games that can be played. It isn't all push ups, panting, running, and other strenuous activity. Everyone should become involved in a life sport, no matter the level of competitiveness. Pick something that you can make a lifelong activity such as golf, or tennis. It's fun to see your skills progress as you hone your skills.

While most people ultimately look for trimming up and building cardiac stamina, others look to build mass. Most people would assume that the more intense the work out, the better it must be. So, someone that is lifting weights in the gym gets the most optimal outcome from their effort. Wrong. Most people that lift weight or resistance train rush through their workout as the next allotment in their daily schedule barrels towards them. In this fast paced world, the one thing that technology can't be cut down in terms of fitness, is time and effort. Taking your time, staying form in your reps, even with light weight is more beneficial than struggling to max out and do your one big rep of the day so the people working out next to you are impressed. Put forth effort in each individual exercise and stay discipline. This sounds like common sense to most people, but we must slow down and pay attention to what we are doing for a mere 30 minutes- two or three times a week. You are allowed to put down that dreaded iPhone for more than a 5-minute interval. Twitter isn't going anywhere either. If anything, post your workout results to your social network.

Locally, there are probably more programs and gyms closer to you than you might think. Google Maps, anyone? The market for these types of studio workouts have yet to reach mainstream in its entirety, but the ones that are around- are taking off. Zumba classes are popping up out of the woodwork. There are a variety of workout programs depending on your area, and definitely worth checking out if that might interest you. An interesting find is OV?CrossFit at the St. Clairsville mall, a small facility where the same workout is done by everyone, only manipulating weight and resistance, allowing a clean friendly mesh of the people from various ages, fitness levels, and gender, all while maintaining their own pace and optimal outcome.

Nationally, fitness has slowly began to reach mainstream as the aforementioned classes and groups begin to take structure. In New York City, there are 100+ member yoga classes done on the quads of parks. Other days there are 100 colorful bright exercise balls with their foam mat counterparts arranged beneath it, accompanied by people eager to make fitness not just another run around the block - pun intended.



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