Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Healthiest Time to Do Everything, Pt 1

It’s true: Timing is everything, especially when it comes to your health. Proper planning can mean the difference between getting sick and staying healthy. Consider that a flu shot offers the most protection if you get it in late October or early November, before flu season gets under way, or that a cold sore will heal 18 to 21% faster if you take a dose of antiviral medication as soon as you feel the first tingle. Before you make another health move, check the tips that follow and then consult your watch or calendar. You can't afford not to.

Part 1 of 3 - Get the Most From Your Workout

Do cardio in the early morning
Ultimately, the best time to exercise is when you'll actually do it, say experts at the American College of Sports Medicine. That's one reason for scheduling it early in the day. You have fewer distractions and, if something does interfere, you can still reschedule for the afternoon or evening. If you exercise outdoors, you'll be happy to know that air pollution is typically lowest in the morning. And research demonstrates that working out boosts brain activity afterward—a great way to begin your day.

"Just don't exercise on empty," advises Fabio Comana, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise. "If you take a trip on a half tank of gas, how far will you get before you need to refuel?" Have a small (100- to 300-calorie) snack 30 minutes before going for a jog or bike ride.

Learn or practice a skill sport between 4 and 6 PM
Hand-eye coordination is highest then, says Edlund, so it's a good time for any form of exercise that requires a high degree of skill, like a tennis lesson or a dance class. Bonus: The activity you get now will help you sleep better later.

Start exercising in January or June
Because so many people sign up after the New Year, gyms can often afford to waive enrollment fees or give discounts in January, says Dave Reiseman, director of communications for Gold's Gym. Just schedule your visits for weekends, when clubs tend to be less busy. Another option: Jump-start your workout routine in June. Clubs sometimes offer specials then to goose flagging business during vacation season.

Begin a diet in June
"There's a seasonality to weight loss," says Edlund, "and the start of summer is the easiest time to drop pounds." Often, you'll naturally lose a pound or two when the weather warms up because of increased activity; capitalize on that initial loss by starting a full-fledged diet and exercise program. Plus, all the fresh fruits and veggies will make it easier to eat right without feeling deprived.

Tomorrow, we will discuss the best times to manage your medical care. Stay Tuned!

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