Simple ways to shrink your waistline

December 29, 2000

Simple ways to shrink your waistline

By KEVIN CLAPP / Staff Writer

On the first day of January, my mirror gave to me ... a view of my brand new spare tire.


The holiday season will soon fade into memory. Unfortunately, the 12 pounds of Christmas will linger. So, what's a slightly overweight reveler to do?

A gym might be too pricey; besides, there might not be time between work, spending time with the kids and housework. If all else fails, local fitness experts say there are simple things to do at home to shrink the waistline.

"I'd never tell people to use things at home, a broomstick or a bag of sugar, instead of weights," says Eric Barnhart, manager of Sports Inn Racquet and Health Club in Greencastle, Pa. "But people can do your basic exercises, like crunches for the abdominals. Another good one would be push-ups."


Other simple regimens people can incorporate into their daily routines include:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Walking. If the weather is bad, go to the mall and walk there.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Biking, if the weather holds up.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Chin-ups.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> When out shopping, park farther away from stores to increase your amount of walking.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Lifting small weights at home.

Barnhart warns, however, that all of these options can take someone only so far.

"If your body gets used to doing that weight, how do you make gains?" he asks. "Your body gets used to it, and then you're going to have to buy more weights and more weights."

Dr. Mathew McIntosh, director of the wellness and cardiac rehab center at Hagerstown Community College, says even television-watching can be used to get fit. He and his son have been known to spend commercials doing sit-ups or push-ups until the program comes back on.

"That's one of the little things. You don't even think about it and you've done 100 sit-ups, 100 push-ups," McIntosh says. "You just don't think about them. You just do them."

Ice skating or dancing are not only fun activities, they can be effective aerobic workouts. McIntosh cautions, however, that increasing activity alone will not bring back our svelte former selves.

Commit to it

It takes a commitment to revamp dietary and sleeping habits; it means cutting back on risky behaviors such as smoking. And it does not happen overnight.

"People have to be very patient with themselves. They set a lot of unrealistic goals," McIntosh says. "Many times, these people have to get five or six weeks into the program to lose those fatty acids. Most people get to the point where they quit just before the benefits begin.

"Most people want the benefits now, and it doesn't work that way."

When embarking on a workout regimen, set realistic goals and set incentives to help reach them, says Anita Binder, manager of Curves for Women in Hagerstown. Working out with others, such as friends and neighbors, and relying on one another to complete your exercises together is another incentive.

More than anything, people need to view their workouts as a treat, not a chore.

"The first thing they've got to do is they have to realize it's their time, it's therapy time," McIntosh says. "If they are going to be physically active with children or their job and they have to get their energy up, it's not something they should feel they have to do. They have to want to do it."

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