Top 25 At-Home Exercises

Experts recommend working out 45 minutes to an hour a day (30 minutes for beginners) for weight loss and fitness. But if you’re like most women, you don’t always have a block of 30 to 60 minutes a day to devote exclusively to doing your workouts.

Lest you think that short bursts of activity have a negligible effect on your fitness program, think again. One study found that women who split their exercise into 10-minute increments were more likely to exercise consistently, and lost more weight after five months, than women who exercised for 20 to 40 minutes at a time.

In a landmark study conducted at the University of Virginia, exercise physiologist Glenn Gaesser, PhD, asked men and women to complete 15 10-minute exercise routines a week. After just 21 days, the volunteers’ aerobic fitness was equal to that of people 10 to 15 years younger. Their strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility were equal to those of people up to 20 years their junior. “It would be useful for people to get out of the all-or-nothing mind-set that unless they exercise for 30 minutes, they’re wasting their time,” says Gaesser.

Breaking exercise into small chunks on your overscheduled days can also keep your confidence up, since skipping it altogether can make you feel tired, guilty, or depressed. Keep in mind, though, that short bursts of exercise are meant to supplement, not replace, your regular fitness routine.

Here are simple, practical ways to work exercise into your day even when you’re short on time:

Around the House

1. When you go outside to pick up your morning newspaper, take a brisk 5-minute power walk up the street in one direction and back in the other.

2. If you’re housebound caring for a sick child or grandchild, hop on an exercise bike or do a treadmill workout while your ailing loved one naps.

3. Try 5 to 10 minutes of jumping jacks. (A 150-pound woman can burn 90 calories in one 10-minute session.)

4. Cooking dinner? Do standing push-ups while you wait for a pot to boil. Stand about an arm’s length from the kitchen counter, and push your arms against the counter. Push in and out to get toned arms and shoulders.

5. After dinner, go outside and play tag or shoot baskets with your kids and their friends.

6. Just before bed or while you’re giving yourself a facial at night, do a few repetitions of some dumbbell exercises, suggests exercise instructor Sheila Cluff, owner and founder of The Oaks at Ojai and The Palms, in Palm Springs, CA, who keeps a set of free weights on a shelf in front of her bathroom sink.

While Waiting

7. Walk around the block several times while you wait for your child to take a music lesson. As your fitness level improves, add 1-minute bursts of jogging to your walks.

8. Walk around medical buildings if you have a long wait for a doctor’s appointment. “I always ask the receptionist to give me an idea of how long I have left to wait,” Cluff says. “Most are usually very willing to tell you.”

9. While your son or daughter plays a soccer game, walk around the field.

10. Turn a trip to a park with your child into a mini-workout for you. Throw a ball back and forth and run for fly balls.

At Work

11. Walk to work if you can. “I walked to work for months, 1½ miles each way,” says Mary Dallman, PhD, professor of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, and she really saw results.

12. If you dine out on your lunch hour, walk to a restaurant on a route that takes you a little bit out of your way.

13. If you have a meeting in another building, leave 5 or 10 minutes early (or take some time afterward), and do some extra walking.

14. On breaks, spend 5 to 10 minutes climbing stairs.

15. If you’re pressed for time and must wait for an elevator, strengthen your core with ab exercises. Stand with your feet parallel and your knees relaxed. Contract the muscles around your belly button. Then elevate your upper torso, and release. Finally, contract your buttocks for a few seconds.

16. Use a ringing phone as an excuse to stretch your back. Stand with your feet astride. Imagine that you are encased in a plaster cast from your waist to your head. Gently tilt the lower part of your pelvis backward. Contract your abdominal muscles. Then gently tilt your pelvis forward.

When You’re Watching TV

17. Put away your remote and change channels the old-fashioned way—by getting up and walking to the television set.

18. Dance as if you were 16 again. Put on a music program or MTV. Then dance like crazy, advises Peg Jordan, PhD, RN, author of The Fitness Instinct. “Free yourself to think of movement as something that you have a right to do,” she says.

19. During commercials, jog in place. A 150-pound woman can burn up to 45 calories in 5 minutes. Or try our Couch-Potato Workout.

20. Do leg exercises and lifts with small weights while you watch The Weather Channel, cooking shows, movies, or the news.

While Traveling

21. Pack your sneakers and a fitness DVD. Call ahead to make sure your room has a DVD player. If it doesn’t, ask to rent one from the hotel.

22. If you’re traveling by car, stop twice a day for short, brisk walks and some stretching.

23. During layovers at airports, avoid the mechanized “moving carpets” that transport travelers from concourse to concourse. “If you’re in between flights, walk around the concourse as much as you can,” suggests Cluff.

24. Book a hotel room between the fifth and eighth floors, then ignore the elevator. Better yet, take two stairs at a time. (Check with the hotel first because for security reasons some hotels do not allow guests to use stairs except for emergencies.)

25. Do calf stretches while riding in elevators.

Lunch Specials for Wednesday, April 26, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Linguini Chicken Fajita

Sandwich: Curry Chicken Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Mix Green Chicken Salad Feta, Walnuts, Raisins, Cherry Tomatoes & Cucumbers

Pizza: Small Hawaiian Pizza

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Salmon With Arrabiata Sauce

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The trick to perfectly cooked pasta

The formula for pasta seems oh-so-obvious: water + pasta = dinner—right? But sometimes it’s the supposedly simple things that prove to be the trickiest.

It turns out the window for pasta perfection—not too mushy yet not too chewy—is dangerously slim. And then there are all the other factors to consider. Should you add salt to the water? Or oil? What about a cold-water rinse at the end?

If your head is spinning (ours certainly is!), take a deep breath and let go of the pasta panic. We’ve assembled the best (and easiest) tips for excellent pasta every time.

Steps 1. Use a large pot.

Pick a roomy pot that gives the pasta plenty of space to move. As in, don’t reach for the dinky covered pot you use to boil a pair of eggs—it’ll crowd the pasta into a tight ball. Instead, this is a good time to call that eight-or 12-quart stockpot into action.

2. Load up the pot with lots of water.

When you’re hungry and want to get to spaghetti time stat, you might be tempted to use less water so it comes to a boil quicker. Don’t. Just like pasta needs a roomy pot, it also needs plenty of H2O so it can be totally submerged. (Any strand sticking out above water won’t get cooked.) You want five or six quarts for a standard package of pasta.

3. Salt the water.

Then salt, salt, and salt again! Don’t just give a single tap of the shaker—you want to use at least a tablespoon. You know when you get a mouthful of seawater at the beach and it’s disgustingly salty? You want that level of salty. This gives the pasta a flavor boost. Trust us, everything starchy tastes better with a generous hit of salt.

4. Bring the water to a full, rolling boil.

Again, don’t let hanger make you dump in the pasta when the water is at a mere simmer. That could result in a few raw, uncooked pieces—truly heartbreaking for any carb lover.

Don’t stray from the pot to see what people are tweeting or settle in for another episode of House of Cards—you’re on pasta stirring duty! Stand guard and stir the pot at least two or three times during cooking. (Or keep at it the whole time and get a mini biceps workout.) The benefit: Occasionally stirring the pot will keep your pasta from clumping.

6. Test the pasta two minutes before it’s “ready.”

Check the pasta packaging for the cook times, but don’t assume that time is gospel. About two minutes till go time, start checking the pasta’s doneness. Using a slotted spoon (or your utensil of choice), fish out a single strand of pasta, let it cool, then bite into it. In general, you want pasta that’s springy and chewy (but not like a stick of hardened gum). Everyone has different opinions on pasta, though. Italian chef Mario Batali prefers his pasta cooked just past the point of raw, a.k.a. “toothsome.” No matter your preference, it’s better to err on the side of al dente, as overcooked pasta will break down and become carby mush.

7. Save a scoop of pasta water.

Once the pasta is cooked to your liking, take two seconds to do this little step that most home cooks skip: Before you drain the water, save a single cup. This starchy water can work wonders in sauces, binding the sauce and pasta together, and breaking down thicker sauces so they’re less likely to clump at the bottom of your bowl.

8. Drain, stir with sauce, and enjoy.

Place a colander in the kitchen sink and drain your pasta. Put the drained pasta back into the pot with sauce (or into the saucepan if the sauce is still cooking), add your pasta water, toss, and serve.

Tips

  • Cooking times can vary according to pasta shape, amount, and type (whole-wheat, gluten-free, etc.).
  • Unlike dried pasta, fresh pasta takes only two or three minutes to cook, max.
  • Stuffed pasta, like ravioli, will rise to the surface and float when ready.
  • Don’t add any oil to the pasta water. Some cooks are under the false assumption that a glug of olive oil will keep the strands from clumping. But that’s nothing a good stir won’t solve, plus oil could leave your pasta too slick for saucing.
  • Don’t do a cold-water rinse on your pasta when it’s done cooking. That washes away all the happy starches that bind it to the sauce. (And the delicious salty flavor!)

How to beat the Freshman 15

Everyone’s heard warnings about the “freshman 15.” But is it true that many college students pack on 15 pounds during their first year at school?

Recent studies find that some first-year students are indeed likely to gain weight — but it might not be the full freshman 15 and it may not all happen during freshman year. That might sound like good news, but it’s not. Doctors are concerned that students who gradually put on pounds are establishing a pattern of weight gain that could spell trouble if it continues.

Which of these things might you try as a way to avoid the freshman 15?

Studies show that students on average gain 3 to 10 pounds during their first 2 years of college. Most of this weight gain occurs during the first semester of freshman year.

College offers many temptations. You’re on your own and free to eat what you want, when you want it. You can pile on the portions in the dining hall, eat dinners of french fries and ice cream, and indulge in sugary and salty snacks to fuel late-night study sessions. In addition, you may not get as much exercise as you did in high school.

College is also a time of change, and the stress of acclimating to school can trigger overeating. People sometimes eat in response to anxiety, homesickness, sadness, or stress, and all of these can be part of adapting to being away at school.

Should I Worry About the Weight?

Some weight gain is normal as an adolescent body grows and metabolism shifts. But pronounced or rapid weight gain may become a problem.

Weight gain that pushes you above the body’s normal range carries health risks. People who are overweight are more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, breathlessness, and joint problems. People who are overweight when they’re younger have a greater likelihood of being overweight as adults. Poor diet and exercise habits in college can start you on a path that later could lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or obesity, and may increase your risk for developing certain cancers.

Even without weight gain, unhealthy food choices also won’t give you the balance of nutrients you need to keep up with the demands of college. You may notice that your energy lags and your concentration and memory suffer. Studies have found that most students get fewer than the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

What If I Gain Weight?

If you do gain weight, don’t freak out. Take a look at your eating and exercise habits and make adjustments. In a study in which freshmen gained 4 pounds in 12 weeks, the students were only eating an average of 174 extra calories each day. So cutting out one can of soda or a midnight snack every day and being more active will help you get back on track.

It may be tempting to go for the easy fix, like skipping meals or trying the latest fad diet. But these approaches don’t work to keep weight off in the long run. It’s best to make small adjustments to your diet that you know you can stick with.

How Can I Avoid Gaining Weight?

The best way to beat weight gain is to prevent it altogether. Good habits like a balanced diet, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep can do more than keep the pounds off — they also can help you stay healthy and avoid problems down the line. Adopting some simple practices can have a big impact today and years from now.

Take a sound approach to eating. Here are some easy ways to adopt a healthy food attitude:

  • avoid eating when stressed, while studying, or while watching TV
  • eat slowly
  • eat at regular times and try not to skip meals
  • keep between-meal and late-night snacking to a minimum
  • choose a mix of nutritious foods
  • pick lower-fat options when you can, such as low-fat milk instead of whole milk or light salad dressing instead of full-fat dressing
  • watch the size of your portions
  • resist going back for additional servings
  • steer clear of vending machines and fast food
  • keep healthy snacks like fruit and vegetables on hand in your room
  • replace empty-calorie soft drinks with water or skim milk

Be aware of your attitude toward food. If you find yourself fixating on food or your weight, or feeling guilty about what you eat, talk to your doctor or ask someone at the student health center for advice.

Learn about nutrition. Many schools have nutrition counselors. If yours does not, talk to someone on the student health services staff about nutrition and how to make good choices in the dining hall.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Weight

Making a few lifestyle changes can help people manage their weight. Here are some you can try:

Keep an eye on your alcohol consumption. Not only can excess drinking lead to health problems, but beer and alcohol are high in calories and can cause weight gain. (Why do you think it’s called a beer belly?)

Smoking is another culprit. Although cigarettes may suppress the appetite, smoking can make exercise and even normal activity such as walking across campus or climbing stairs more difficult — not to mention causing heart and lung problems and increasing your risk of cancer.

Many smokers who quit find they have more energy, so battle the extra pounds by exercising. You can avoid gaining weight and increase your chances of quitting if you do. If you want to stop smoking, you don’t have to go it alone. Someone at your student health center can direct you to smoking-cessation programs and give you the tips and support you need to quit.

Get enough exercise. Researchers found that students who exercised at least 3 days a week were more likely to report better physical health, as well as greater happiness, than those who did not exercise. They were also more likely to report using their time productively.

Reaping the benefits of exercise does not have to be as difficult as it might seem. Try to work 30 minutes of moderate exercise into your schedule each day (like walking, jogging, swimming, or working out at the gym) and you’ll feel and see the results. For other options, check out biking or hiking trails or sign up for a martial arts class. Attending a class on a regular schedule can motivate some people to stick with their fitness goals.

If you don’t like organized forms of exercise, you can work at least 30 minutes of exercise into your daily schedule by walking briskly across campus instead of taking the bus, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or cycling to class. And take time — even just a few minutes here and there — to move around and stretch when you’ve been sitting for a long time, such as during study sessions.

Get enough sleep. Recent studies have linked getting enough sleep to maintaining a healthy weight. Sleep is also a great way to manage the stress that can prompt overeating. So make sleep a priority, and try to work in a regular 7 or 8 hours each night.

Here are some ways to make the most of your sleep:

  • keep a regular sleeping schedule by getting up and going to bed at about the same time every day
  • don’t nap too much
  • avoid caffeine in the evening
  • avoid exercising, watching TV, or listening to loud music before bed

Gaining weight during the first year of college is not inevitable. You may have your ups and downs, but a few simple changes to your daily routine can help you fend off excess weight while keeping you physically and mentally healthy.

Lunch Specials for Friday, February 17, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only Monday – Friday (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Linguini Scallops Light Pesto Sauce

Sandwich: Sausage Sandwich With Bell Peppers & Onions

Salad: Salmon Pasta Salad Capers, Cucumbers, Smoked Salmon & Cherry Tomatoes

Pizza: Small Checca Pizza

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): White Fish

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