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Riding a Bike for Exercise:
Loose Some Extra Pounds & Manage Weight

Weight loss is the biggest obstacle between most people and current standards of beauty. Part of the problem is that our current standards are based on the less-than-one-percent of the population who manages to stay 15-20 pounds underweight, but the weight loss situation in the U.S. in particular has worsened drastically because we eat like pigs. Food is cheaper in the U.S. than anywhere in the world, junk food makes up a large part of the national diet, and most of us are addicted to sugar. Add this to the fact that most Americans now get about as much daily exercise as the average bookend, and the big mystery behind the explosion of heart disease and intestinal problems experienced by so many Americans is explained with utter clarity.

The common understanding is that combining diet and exercise is the best weight-loss solution. If I had to pick one, I'd choose increased exercise. Exercise raises your metabolism for hours after you're done working out, increasing your fat-burning capacity. It also makes you feel good, keeps your bones strong and reduces stress. A half-hour of aerobic exercise three or four times a week is the general prescription for good muscle tone and healthy aerobic capacity.

--Editors Tip ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Get Fit at Home on a Budget – Inexpensive Home Gyms

                              home exerciseWant to get fit without joining an expensive gym? Home workouts are the best, since you'll be more likely to fit them into your day. Most people who work out at gyms spend an hour a day just dealing with the extra hassle of driving, changing, showering and getting back to their lives! Use that hour exercising when you work out at home.

There are all sorts of things you can use to work on your aerobic fitness. You may opt for buying videos or DVDs with exercise programs on them, or you may want to buy something as simple as a jump rope or an exercise ball. The single most important item for exercise is a good mat: it should be big enough to move around on, while providing padding for floor exercises and a non-slip surface. You can outfit yourself for a great aerobic workout for less than the cost of joining a gym!

See a selection of inexpensive home exercise options that will help you stay in shape without a lot of expense.


Certain Dieting Patterns Make You Gain Weight Over Time

Dieting works, to an extent. The drawback to dieting is that, once the diet is over, the weight tends to return. For people who undertake strict diets that limit their caloric intake without considering their daily nutritional needs, the weight comes back and then some, so that someone who loses twenty pounds on a crash diet may very well gain back thirty. Furthermore, strict diets tell the body that there's a famine on, and the body is a very smart machine. When you start eating again, your body remembers the recent famine, lowering its metabolism to conserve fuel. Your body hangs onto the new calories like grim death, storing away fats, converting carbohydrates to yet more fats, trying to save you from starvation. And there you are, hungry still, but fatter than ever.

The other problem with dieting, especially for kids and teens, is that dieting greatly increases the chance of acquiring an eating disorder. Teaching kids correct eating habits is one way to prevent childhood obesity, but between school lunches and a culture entirely focused on snacking, that had better not be your only strategy. Raising kids who think it's fun to go canoeing, who'd rather go swimming than play a computer game is a better way to keep them at a healthy weight.

A Overall Healthy Lifestyle is the Best Solution

My friend Gerald tried every diet under the sun, but nothing seemed to work. He blamed himself: he'd get so hungry that he'd binge within a week, then feel like there was no point in continuing. He had a funny metabolism, I guess: even on a high-protein diet, he was always starving. He decided that diets weren't going to work. He hated to exercise: he joined a gym, but quit out of total boredom. He tried jogging, but it messed up his knees.

Finally, Gerald went to a nutritionist. She took a look at what he was eating (she had him keep a food diary), and she explained calories and told him about how many he should be eating to lose weight at a normal rate. But once she was done talking nutrition, she spent a lot of time talking to him about exercise. And then she did a remarkable thing. She took him bike riding.

I guess she figured he wasn't motivated enough to go alone, and since she knew his low opinion of all things physical, she didn't even tell him the plan. She just told him to come to their next appointment dressed for exercise, and she had two bikes hooked to the back of her station wagon. She drove him over to a bike path, adjusted the second bike to fit him, and they rode about four miles while she talked to him about calorie burning and oxygenating the blood and the benefits of sunshine and fresh air on the average male couch potato. She talked about how no-impact biking still strengthens bones and builds muscle, which then burns calories more efficiently. (And all the time, young women in Lycra were running past them, bouncing tightly along on perfectly-toned calves. The scenery couldn't have been more conducive to Gerald's conversion.)

Finding Time to Exercise Is Possible

Gerald bought a bike and started riding three times a week. He visits the nutritionist once a month, mostly to brag, because the weight started coming off right away and he looks great. He still eats a lot, but it doesn't much matter because he burns it right off. One of his complaints about exercise had been that he didn't have enough time, but the nutritionist helped him make some practical changes, such as substituting an online grocery delivery service for the two hours a week he used to spend shopping and standing in line. He tricked out his bike with a new seat and ergonomic handlebars that he got at www.nashbar.com, and although he'll never have the interest to be a triathlete, he accomplished his goal and found a new way to meet women.

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