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60 Second Fitness Fixes

Are you ready for water?
Are you ready for water?

Getting fit isn't just about spending hours in the gym, long runs or special diets. If you have 60 seconds to spare, here are some things you can do to live a healthier life.

Drink one tall glass of water before every meal, it may reduce your desire to eat. In a rather remarkable study done at Virginia Tech in 2010, subjects were instructed to drink a 16-ounce glass of water before every meal.

Over the course of the three-month study the water drinkers lost an average of 15.5 pounds compared with a loss of 11 pounds for the control group. After a year the water drinkers lost even more weight for a year-end total of 17 pounds weight loss. Meanwhile the non-water drinkers gained weight and ended the year with an average of only 9 pounds weight loss.

Take a couple deep breaths and make sure you're utilizing your entire lung capacity. When you breathe deep, you're taking in more energy producing oxygen. Here's how to see if you're doing it right.

Look at your chest and abdomen while you're breathing. Now place one hand on the part that rises and falls the most during each breath. If your abdomen is moving more, you're doing fine. But, if your chest is doing most of the moving, you're not utilizing the lower part of your lungs. Breathe in through your nose and concentrate on filling your abdomen with air. Your abdomen should rise and your chest should move very little.

Stand up and do jumping jacks for 60 seconds. Now I'm the first to admit that a minute of cardio exercise isn't going to do a whole lot, but once you're on your feet, stay there for 15-30 minutes. Researchers found that people who sit for the majority of their day are 54% more likely to die of a heart attack. Doing jumping jacks gets you out of your chair and reminds you to spend more time standing.

See how many pushups you can do in one minute. Jumping jacks help work the legs, pushups target your upper body. They'll help you build strength to deal with everyday activities.

Check your pulse first thing in the morning. Ideally your heart should be beating less than 75 times per minute. In a 20-year study on more than 4,000 Frenchmen, researchers learned that if you have a resting heart rate LESS than 75, you reduce the risk of an early death by 20 percent. However, if your heart rate is OVER 75, it increases the risk of an early death by an astonishing 50 percent.

The study showed that the higher resting heart rate was usually an indicator of other problems, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and restrictions in blood vessel diameter. When your heart is continuously being forced to work harder (the higher rate), just like a machine it will wear out quicker.

Every morning you wake up with a resting heart rate above 75, schedule time to squeeze in 15 minutes of cardio exercise.

Turn on some music. Researchers discovered a psycho-biological effect that when people listen to music they become more relaxed, muscle tension is reduced and both blood flow and lactate clearance is higher. Music also provides a "distraction effect" that lowers the influence of stress caused by fatigue. In other words, when you're tired, music can help revive you. You just need to choose music that's upbeat enough to get you excited.

The key is making sure the tempo of the music matches the heart rate you want to achieve. If you're doing something that requires more energy and you're target heart rate is 100 beats per minute, the tempo of your music should be 100 beats per minute. Studies indicate that the preferred tempi are one, one and a half, and two times as fast as heart rate. The tempo of music has a simple, harmonic relationship to heart rate, so keep it more upbeat and lively.

Take a minute to make sure you're sitting up straight. Slumping over in a chair can put stress on your lower back. Concentrate for a full minute on sitting up straight with your head high and your shoulders back.

Write out a schedule of what you plan to do every day. For many people, life happens. They simply react to whatever is thrown in front of them. The problem with that is you never make time for the things that are really important.

Take 60 seconds and use that schedule to plan when you're going to eat and when you're going to fit in a little exercise. By putting everything down on paper, you get a realistic look at what you need to accomplish and how you're going to fit healthy things in.

Bonus idea for our online readers!

Wash or sanitize your hands. Washing your hands will make you less likely to get sick and derail your fitness goals. A little tip: You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds to kill the majority of germs. That's just long enough to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice or two verses from "I Feel Pretty."

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.

2/3/2013
Updated 2/22/2016