By Monifa Maat “The Healthy Motivator” (www.TheHealthyMotivator.com & www.southbridgefitnesscenter.com
CAN DO TIP Week #32 Put Fitness on your Dessert Menu – Part 1 of 2
Look, I have a moderate sweet tooth and yes, I’ve probably eaten one too many ginger cookies in my lifetime. Despite these challenges, for years I have practiced a very healthy addiction: After-dinner exercise or as I like to call it “Dessert Exercise”.
According to a recent study by the American College of Sports Medicine, light exercise (low intensity, short duration) following a meal may actually lower triglycerides (major form of fat stored by the body) which evidence has shown can cause an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke.
What are the benefits to shorter, low-moderate intensity workouts? Here are just a few:
- They are easier to adapt into one’s daily activities. One 10- minute workout after each meal may be a lot easier to swallow than scheduling a 30-minute workout every day both logistically and psychologically.
- Low-moderate intensity exercise actually aids in the digestion process by effectively massaging abdominal organs through constant contractions helping to eliminate toxins stuck in the colon and throughout the body.
- Low-moderate exercise throughout the day increases real energy levels, not the fake energy that comes from a blast of coffee or a cookie –even the ginger ones that I like. Exercise helps deliver fresh oxygen to the heart and lungs increasing energy and reducing fatigue.
Contrary to some beliefs, 10-15 minutes of light to moderate exercise such as stretches, low impact calisthenics, yoga, Bed Aerobics Fitness Flow® before bed actually relaxes the body in preparation for sleep.
Whenever I exercise before bed, like clockwork, not only do I fall asleep quicker, I stay asleep longer and without the use of an alarm clock wake up feeling more refreshed and energized.
One of my favorite after dinner exercises is the “Twister”, Step #3 in the Bed Aerobics Fitness Flow® therapeutic bed exercise system. This exercise in particular helps strengthen and firm the abdominal muscles and aids in digestion.
The Twister can also be done on the floor but I most prefer a firm bed for joint support particularly if one has difficulty getting down and up from the floor.
Setup: Lie down, face up, knees to your chest and spread your arms out horizontally on both sides of the bed. You may grip the edges of the mattress if able.
Step 1: Fold your knees to the right, while simultaneously turning your head to the left.
Step 2: Draw your knees back to your chest.
Step 3: Fold your knees to the left, as you simultaneously turn your head to the right. Repeat this sequence for 10 – 15 reps as you alternate folding your knees from right to left.
Bed Notes: Keep your abdominal muscles contract, pressing them in toward your lower back throughout this entire exercise sequence for back support. Keep breathing deeply in and out.
Monifa Maat “The Healthy Motivator” is a certified fitness expert, community health advocate, author and creator of Bed Aerobics Fitness Flow®, a faith-based, therapeutic bed exercise system designed to benefit everyone, from the chronically ill and mobility challenged to the athlete. Email: Monifa@TheHealthyMotivator.com.