Most people are not athletes. Not everybody needs to be, including people who want to be healthier. Most people are content to lose a few pounds, add/tone muscle or simply increase their endurance. While goals vary widely between individuals, diet and exercise are always important.
Most exercises for losing weight or building endurance are fairly simple, such as jogging, cycling or walking. More specific exercises, like lifting or yoga, are also useful. In addition to burning calories, both have secondary benefits (increased metabolism in the case of lifting and stress relief in the case of yoga).
Toning requires more deliberate and difficult exercises. Sit ups and crunches are a good way to tighten your gut. Squats and lunges add strength and tone to legs and glutes (your butt), and rows with resistance or dumbbells are good for your back and arms.
When starting any exercise regimen, be careful to pace yourself. Time spent recovering from reckless, self-inflicted injuries is time wasted.
Diet is also important. Most people know (and ignore) the basics. Fried food and food sold in vending machines are best avoided. Generally, the less distance between the farm and the table, the better.
Beyond the amount and types of food, the timing of meals is important. High-carbohydrate foods are worse later in the day than earlier in the day. The later you eat, the more careful you should be about how much and what you are eating.
Diet can also be exploited to add muscle. While the best mix of calories and exercise will vary between individuals, protein is more important than carbohydrates, particularly for post-workout recovery. We strongly recommend that you consult with a physician or a nutritionist before radically changing your diet for any reason.
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