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Holidays are coming, save time, stay the course

It snowed last night. On our evening walk we saw Christmas trees up and houses decorated. It seems the holiday preparations begin earlier each year. If you’re someone who loves to decorate early, I understand. It’s cold and dark. The trees and the lights are cheery and festive.

Here’s the thing, the holidays get busy. Soon we’ll be shopping and planning our menus. Don’t put your cardio training on back burner. There are 6 weeks until the end of the year. I want you to finish strong, feeling your best and proud of yourself. Then start 2023 on a healthy and happy note.

Here are 3 tips to help you keep cardio in your schedule and get the most out of it during these busy weeks ahead.

1.High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is not only time saving, but it’s the most efficient cardio for women 50 plus. Include two or three 20-30-minute HIIT workouts a week. Menopause requires different workouts than we did when we were in our 20’s and 30’s. Men in midlife will benefit from this as well. Any workout can be turned into a High Intensity Interval Training. If you walk, add intervals in which you walk faster or uphill or run. If you do cardio classes, push yourself harder by increasing your speed or add in a step. Do what works for you. You can follow the example below for a quick and effective workout.

Warm Up for 5 minutes. At minute 5:00 go as hard as you can for 30 seconds.

At 5 minutes and 30 seconds, recover walk around, walk downhill, move your body but let your heart rate come down.

At minute 7:00 or 7:30 go hard again, as hard as you can.

after 30 seconds recover, walk around, slow your pace

Repeat this for 15-20 minutes total, then cool down for your last 5 minutes.

Not only does this workout save you time, it is more effective than getting on a piece of equipment and just going through the motions for 45 minutes to an hour. You’ll keep your metabolism elevated for a longer part of the day and it’ll be easier on your joints.

2. Steady easy cardio like walking around, cleaning the house, raking the leaves or shoveling snow are the other most effective forms of exercise for women and men in midlife. This is great news! If you’re outside putting up Christmas lights, going for an evening walk or doing marathon shopping, you are in your zone. Get this form of cardio in every day. If you need a little motivation, ask Santa for a fitness tracker and see where you’re at.

Studies show that people who get 10,000 steps a day consistently and stick with it can reduce blood pressure and body weight and improve bone density. “Walking is man’s best medicine.” -Hippocrates

3. Schedule your workouts ahead of time. HIIT training is best done early in the day. Choose two or three mornings. If you exercise only 20 minutes total, five minutes to warm up, ten minutes of intervals and a five minute cool down. Plan to get your steps in throughout the day. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, start increasing your steps and push yourself a little more each week. Pass the elevator and take the stairs. Park further away in the lot, even if it’s cold.

Keep it simple, keep it quick and remain consistent! You’ll start the year on a high note and we can build from there.

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