By Charli Penn
WeddingChannel.com
Your wedding day is fast approaching, and naturally, you want to look your absolute best as you head down the aisle. Before you freak out about what to do with your “trouble areas” and start thinking of all the reasons you hate working out, remember you can do this without a no-nonsense personal trainer or pricey gym membership. It just takes a little discipline, focus and a few smart fitness tricks!
Walk if you can’t run
Myth: You have to spend hours running on a treadmill to really get in shape fast.
Fact: Walking every day is a smart and easy way to kick off your daily workout routine. Keeping a steady stride will help you burn calories, lose weight and relieve any pre-wedding stress.
GO!: Try to shoot for at least 30 minutes of walking a day when possible, and do this at least 5 days a week. According to the American Council on Exercise, beginners can tone down the initial pressure by limiting both their pace and the distance they walk. This means you can break up the walking into manageable chunks throughout the day and still reap the benefits. Start off with a 5-minute morning stroll around your neighborhood; then increase your time and distance gradually throughout the day. Take a 10-minute walk during your lunch break and a 15-minute walk in the evening after work. Breaking down your routine will ensure that it fits into your daily schedule and won’t wear you down. Remember that keeping a steady pace is more important than the speed in which you walk. Your goal is to elevate your heart rate slightly (if you can’t talk while you walk, you’re going too fast), breathe deeply and focus on keeping your head high and your shoulders relaxed.
Don’t skip the stretching
Myth: As long as you break a sweat, you’re getting a full workout.
Fact: Giving your body a proper warm-up and cool-down isn’t just a necessary part of any workout; it has plenty of additional benefits. Stretching before and after a workout not only increases overall flexibility and boosts circulation, but according to the staff at the Mayo Clinic, it can also improve your posture (less slouching in your wedding photos!) and relieve stress (good-bye planning worries!).
GO!: Since most types of workouts cause the muscles in your body to flex and contract, you’ll want to stretch before and after each, and at least three times a week, to maintain a balance — especially if you don’t usually exercise. There’s an art to stretching properly. Breathe consistently and deeply, but be careful not to push your limits. It’s normal to feel a little tension, but you never want to prolong or hold a painful stretch. If you do, you’re working your already tense muscles even harder instead of encouraging them to relax.
Snack smart
Myth: You must avoid the vending machines at work at all costs.
Fact: Smart snack choices can be found among the usual junk food offerings. You just have to know what to avoid.
GO!: You’re busy and sometimes need to snack on the go–we get it. But if you must hit the vending machines, start by seeking out snacks that are low in fat, sodium, calories or carbohydrates, and beware of portion sizes. A jumbo bag of chips may be baked instead of loaded with high-calorie cheeses, but it’s likely you’re still eating more than the recommended serving size. Live Healthy America ranks classic favorites like Doritos, Skittles and Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts among its top five “just don’t do it” vending machine snacks. Avoid these and grab something from its best-bets list: Baked! Lay’s Original Chips, Planters Sunflower Kernels and Smartfood Reduced Fat Popcorn. Worried you’ll give in to your cravings or forget which picks are best? Keep an “OK to eat” list on your phone or in your bag for quick referencing.
Stay hydrated, but …
Myth: Drinking bottle after bottle of water will help you lose weight.
Fact: There is such a thing as drinking “too much” water, and doing so can cause cramping and sodium deficiencies among other complications.
GO!: People often say that drinking lots of water can help with dieting and intense workout plans. But if you dig a little more, you’ll find that some medical and healthcare professionals disagree. While keeping hydrated can help cleanse the body, drinking too much water could lead to decreased sodium levels in the blood. Stay hydrated, but be careful not to overdo it.

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