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10,000 steps to health

Getting fit is easier than you think

By Kirk Noonan

If Dino Nowak, a celebrity trainer and author of The Final Makeover, has it his way you’ll stop comparing yourself to models in magazines, stop going to the gym to get fit and stop worrying that you don’t measure up.

“It’s what is going on inside your body that is important,” says Nowak, 31. “We have to understand the difference between what being healthy and fit is compared to the cultural standards that give us false ideas of what it is.”

According to Nowak, every diet has a 95 to 98 percent failure rate after six months even though Americans spend nearly $33 billion a year on health and weight-loss products.

Instead of dieting, working out relentlessly at a gym and yearning to look like a movie star, Nowak implores people to embrace a smart and healthy lifestyle and train their eyes on Christ.

“We have to disconnect from the culture and stop chasing after the world,” says Nowak. “As Christians we don’t chase after the world in any other area. But when it comes to how to care for the body God has given us, we trip over ourselves to chase after the world’s fads, diets, pills and promises.”

After consulting with a physician, people can get fit and stay fit, Nowak says, by knowing how their body works, eating healthy, exercising throughout the day and keeping their eyes on God. Following are some exercises he presents in his book for helping do just that.

Skip the gym

Because many people can’t afford a gym membership, or feel uncomfortable working out at a gym, or simply don’t have the time to get to a gym on a regular basis, Nowak says one must take advantage of what precious time his or her schedule affords.

The first thing a deskbound person should get, says Nowak, is a walking pedometer to measure the number of steps he or she takes each day. “The goal is to get 10,000 steps for health and 12,000 steps for fat loss,” he says.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, half of all Americans don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity they need to stay healthy. To reduce the risk of chronic disease, the FDA says, adults should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate activity a day on most days of the week. Children and adolescents should engage in at least 60 minutes a day on most days of the week.

To manage body weight and prevent weight gain, the FDA says people should exercise about 60 to 90 minutes at a moderate to vigorous intensity on most days of the week, while not exceeding recommendations for caloric intake. The more vigorous the activity and the longer the duration, the better. But, says the FDA, every little bit counts.

“A lot of people hear [the amount of exercise needed to stay healthy] and get discouraged,” admits Nowak. “But that 90 minutes can be broken up throughout the day.”

Besides walking at work, Nowak recommends standing rather than sitting whenever possible because standing burns more calories. He also says to take the stairs rather than the elevator, walk a message to a co-worker rather than send an e-mail, park farther from the door, and have weights or filled water bottles on hand for a quick set of curls between meetings. A person can also do squats, push-ups and crunches in his or her office.

At home, he advises clients to go for walks or runs after work, play in the yard with their children, take a family bike ride or enjoy a hobby that requires movement such as hiking or gardening.

No matter how you decide to get your exercise, health experts say, it’s imperative you get it. As the shoe company says, “Just do it.”

Kirk Noonan is associate editor of Today’s Pentecostal Evangel.

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