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Staying Fit and Fabulous

So far I’ve shared my best advice for keeping your skin clear and smooth; maintaining your full, luxuriant, shiny hair; nurturing your long, strong, shapely fingernails; protecting your healthy, gleaming smile; and nourishing your bright, sparkling eyes. I’ve drawn on the latest scientific studies and offered you proven recommendations for enhancing your natural beauty from head to toe. I’ve provided you with vital information about nutrition, and in the chapter after this one I’ll give you specific meal plans that offer an abundance of savory snacks and mouthwatering meals that all make use of my Top 10 Beauty Foods. If you read this book from beginning to end and follow my Beauty Diet, you will begin to see wonderful changes in your appearance from the inside out, in as little as four weeks.

But adopting nutritional habits that enhance your health and beauty is only one part of the journey. The Beauty Diet would not be complete without mentioning some other aspects of daily life that play an important role in how you look and feel. I’m talking about your willingness to physically challenge your body and your ability to decompress from the various stressors that surround you. So, in addition to telling you about the best foods and nutrients to consume for optimal beauty, I feel it is pertinent to tell you about lifestyle factors that affect your appearance, including physical activities and behaviors that encourage and maintain your attractiveness and health. Here are the best beauty enhancing lifestyle secrets I’ve found—and used myself!

As a woman concerned with beauty, you’re probably pretty finely attuned to the changes you’ve seen in your body over the past few years. Maybe your body has adjusted to adult life with a little more sagging—a body your partner describes as “cushy.” Maybe you’ve acquired some dreaded cellulite in areas you never could have imagined. And if these are unhappy thoughts, let your mind wander for a bit to the changes you can’t see—changes that impact your overall health. To get the whole package—a boost in confidence, a higher energy level, antiaging benefits, and an all-around healthier and more beautiful body—you absolutely must add exercise to the mix.

The Beauty and Health Benefits of Exercise

In addition to offering various health benefits, exercise improves your posture, balance, and coordination. Being graceful is an important part of being attractive! Exercise also burns calories, helping you stay slim and beautiful. Bodies require a certain amount of energy to sustain life, but once you’ve fulfilled that need, the rest is just excess calories that get stored as fat, unless you burn them off. Weight-bearing exercise is particularly important because it builds muscle, and since muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in the body, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn—even when you are sitting. By helping you stay slim, exercise not only keeps you looking fantastic but also fights obesity and all the health problems associated with it, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

A healthier and more beautiful body is just one dimension of the benefits of exercise. A whole other dimension lies with your state of mind. Exercise can lift your mood and is a great way to manage stress. Research has shown that exercise elevates levels of serotonin (a brain chemical responsible for feelings of calmness and relaxation) to provide an instant lift. Just 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise—done at 60 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate—has been shown to significantly improve both mood and energy levels. Exercise also stimulates endorphins, other neurotransmitters that provide natural pain relief and make you feel good all over.

Burning Calories with Exercise

The number of calories you burn during different activities depends on several factors, including your weight and how long and vigorously you exercise. Following are some figures for someone who weighs 150 pounds and spends 20 minutes on various activities.

Note: these numbers should be used as rough estimates because technique can vary widely.

Bicycling (moderate effort) -- 191
Bicycling (stationary bike, vigorous effort) -- 250
Bowling -- 71
Boxing (punching a heavy bag) -- 143
Carrying groceries upstairs -- 179
Dancing (disco) -- 107                    
Dancing (ballroom, waltz) -- 71
Dancing (modern, jazz, tap, ballet) -- 114
Gardening -- 95
Jumping rope, fast -- 286
Kayaking -- 119
Roller-blading -- 286
Running (5 mph) -- 191
Scrubbing the floor (on hands and knees) -- 90
Sexual activity -- 31
Shoveling snow -- 143
Skiing (downhill) -- 119
Skiing (cross-country, moderate speed) -- 191
Stair treadmill -- 214
Swimming (laps, fast, vigorous effort) -- 238
Swimming (laps, moderate effort) -- 167
Tennis (singles) -- 191
Vacuuming -- 83
Walking (moderate pace, 3 mph) -- 79
Walking (very brisk pace, 4 mph) -- 119
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