If you feel clumsy when you do step aerobics or self-conscious when you run, you're unlikely to stick with these activities. To avoid always starting and stopping exercise programs, just find something you believe you're good at; you'll be more likely to stay with it. A British study found that "perceived competence" was the No. 1 motivation to stay with a workout. To some people, feeling competent means winning or doing well when others make mistakes. To others, it means they gave their best and are improving. However you define it, you'll know when you've found the right match.
Any wedding Web site will tell you things like when to order the invitations and how to find a photographer who won't drink all the liquor. Now there's a site that can help you look your best in your gown, even if your wedding is mere weeks away. At fittobetied.tv, created by Bonne Marano, a certified fitness trainer, you can click on a gown category (sheath, strapless, halter top, tank, spaghetti strap, sweetheart neckline, low back or form-fitted) and get targeted training routines that you can do at home or in the gym. Exercises include kickboxing, ballet, Pilates and yoga moves as well as weight and cardio routines.
Getting short on time? Buff Brides: The Complete Guide to Getting In Shape and Looking Great for Your Wedding Day by Sue Fleming (Villard, 2002), offers both a three- and six-month program with daily workout schedules. It also has hints on choosing the right gown design for your body type.
women's wear on the web.
* ladiesonlysports.com features clothes and gear for running, tennis, volleyball and more.
* teamestrogen.com specializes in women's cycling gear.
* x-chrom.com features sports bras, bottoms, socks and underwear.
great online gyms.
* Crunch gyms are usually ahead of the curve; so is the Web site. Go to crunch.com (click on "Crunch Life") for workouts, recipes and more. No pictures, but reliable info and great stuff for sale, including videos.
* Plus One is a pricey New York City gym that provides a one-on-one trainer to every member. For the same expertise without the expense, go to www.plusone.com.
* At workoutsforwomen.com, clients receive weekly home exercise programs via online video with written descriptions and unlimited e-mail consultations with a certified trainer ($57 for 12 weeks; lots of useful information for nonmembers too).
* Head to reeboku.com (Reebok University) for a free personalized workout routine via streaming video.
Get fit, lose more weight...10 minutes at a time.
Good news for the time-deprived: Yet another study has found that squeezing in brief bouts of exercise works just as well - perhaps even better - to improve fitness and reduce weight as waiting until you have a half hour to spare. Researchers had 30 overweight college women exercise for 30 minutes a day for 12 weeks - either all at once or in 10- or 15-minute sessions. All three groups made similar cardio-fitness gains, but the once-a-day exercisers lost nearly 6 pounds on average, the twice-a-day group 6.5 pounds and those who exercised three times a day 9.5 pounds. The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
you'll never walk alone If you're looking for a new walking route or partner, check out the American Volkssport Association's Web site, ava.org. The organization has 450 clubs and hosts more than 3,000 walking events.
Should you brace a bum knee?
Some doctors recommend wearing a brace after having surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee; others don't. When a recent study compared 30 people, average age 27, some of whom wore a custom brace after ACL surgery, there was very little difference in their knees' function or performance. "Braces aren't a major factor in knee stability," says orthopedic surgeon Frank R. Noyes, M.D., chairman of Cincinnati Sportsmedicine and Orthopaedic Center. (Noyes was not involved in the study, which was published in Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise.) Instead, he recommends undergoing specialized physical therapy that focuses on intensive jumping and other drills to build joint control and strength. A brace won't help prevent an ACL injury either, Noyes adds, but the same strategies used during recovery can help keep your knee injury-free in the future.
Weight training without weights
In a technique called manual resistance training, a trainer is the weight the exerciser works against. The technique has been used to train athletes at the U.S. Air Force Academy and elsewhere, and now it's being promoted by some trainers as a good way to get the masses into shape. There are pros and cons, says Allen Hedrick, M.A., C.S.C.S., head strength and conditioning coach at the Academy. Though no equipment is needed, both people must know exactly how to perform the exercises. More important, there's no objective measure of the actual amount of exercise being performed. If you're going to try it, Hedrick says, find a certified trainer with a specific background in the technique.
Escapes spring fitness breakaways.
Can't face going to the airport? These six activity-oriented resorts are an easy drive from major cities (all prices are per person, double occupancy):
Skytop, Canadensis, Pa. (1 1/2 hours from New York, Philadelphia) A historic lakefront spa resort in forested hills. Hiking, cycling, tennis, water sports. From $200; (800) 345-7759; skytop.com
Jordan Hollow Farm Inn, Stanley, Va. (1 1/2 hours from Washington, D.C.) Hiking, cycling, swimming, horseback riding, kayaking and canoeing in the Blue Ridge Mountains. From $133; (888) 418-7000; jordanhollow.com
Three Stallion Inn, Randolph, Vt. (2 hours from Boston. Montreal) A mountain-biking and hiking resort in the Green Mountains. From $130; (800) 424-5575; threestallioninn.com
Chestnut Mountain Resort, Galena, Ill. (3 hours from Chicago) Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding overlooking the Mississippi River. From $89; (800) 397-1320; wwwchestnutmtn.com
Old Thyme Inn, Half Moon Bay, Calif. (3/4 hour from San Francisco) Hiking, cycling, kayaking, horseback riding between sea and mountains. From $130; (800) 720-4277; oldthymeinn.com
Columbia Gorge Hotel, Hood River, Ore. (1 hour from Portland, 3 from Seattle) Overlooks forest primeval and thundering waterfalls. Hiking, cycling, kayaking, windsurfing. From $159; (800) 345-1921; columbia gorgehotel.com.
Make your own "sports pop"
When a fall from your mountain bike or skates takes off a patch of skin and grinds dirt into the wound, icing it with a "sports pop" will clean, disinfect and numb the injury all at the same time. Albuquerque chiropractor Patrick Murray advises sticking a few pops in the cooler before you depart. His recipe, from The Physician and Sportsmedicine: Mix 2 tablespoons of Betadine, 1 tablespoon of Hibiclens soap, 1 teaspoon of Bactine and 4 ounces of water in a Styrofoam cup. Insert a Popsicle stick and freeze until needed. Everything you need is available in drugstores.
Why Americans are almost as big as their Suburbans.
Urban sprawl and dependence on cars is behind the nation's dramatic increase in obesity, says the Centers for Disease control and Prevention. Sprawling, suburbs have made walking unsafe and/or unpleasant. The result: Three-quarters of Americans don't get the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week, and nearly 30 percent do nothing more vigorous than walking to and from their cars.
Mary Ellen Strote
Build bones without injury
Overdoing high-impact activities like jogging or tennis can cause injuries and pain, but if just done regularly, they can protect you against hip fractures later in life, especially if you begin doing them when you're young. British researchers who took ultrasound measurements of the heels of more than 5,200 men and women ages 45-74 found that those who had regularly taken part in high-impact activities when they were younger had higher bone densities than those who had not. These early workouts reduced hip-fracture risk in women by 12 percent and in men by 33 percent.
To prevent injuries, take rest days, vary your workout intensities and cross-train with low-impact as well as other high-impact activities so that your body isn't always subjected to the same types of stresses.
Best new outdoor footwear.
in your zeal to get outside and play, don't neglect your feet. To start you down the right path, outdoor-gear expert Andrea Gabbard sent 40 hardy testers out to trails and rivers to test a variety of new footwear. (Thanks to Fox River, Smartwool and Thorlo for outfitting our testers in women-specific socks.)
Fast Packing/Adventure Racing
1. The breathable, stretch Gore-Tex Montrail Java GTX, $120, fits like an extension of your foot and flexes to let you keep pace comfortably. At the same time, it's also supportive and stable, even on steep slopes.
Also recommended: adidas Extrano
2. The Vasque Fusion, $95, offers out-of-the-box comfort, plus all-terrain support and traction. Keeps feet dry in soggy spring conditions. The option to purchase a narrow or wide footbed is available.
Also recommended: New Balance W065 1 TN
3. The Brooks Trespass, $85, eats up rocky trails and loose dirt and keeps its footing on vertical terrain. A waffled upper keeps feet cool. Ideal for neutral feet.
Also recommended: Hi-Tec Perpetua
4. The Merrell Kalani, $60, would be Aquawoman's choice. The sticky rubber outsole grips securely in water or on wet rock, yet debris makes a quick exit. Air inserts absorb impact; quick-drying padded straps won't chafe, and anti-microbial treatment repels odor. Also recommended: Teva women's 70's
weight training news
Some updates from the American College of Sports Medicine:
* Doing high-intensity strength work (lifting 80 percent of your one-rep max) three times a week won't make you significantly stronger than twice-weekly weight workouts will; the same is true for multiple vs. single sets.
* Superslow lifting can make you stronger, but it won't do anything significant for your cardiovascu jar fitness.
* If you're new to weight training, taking 800 milligrams of vitamin C daily can help prevent and relieve muscle soreness.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Weider Publications
COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group