Take This Jump-Rope Challenge

The best cardio workout is the jump-rope double-turn maneuver. It’s intense: You’ll burn calories! Do basic jumps for five minutes, then jump twice as high and turn the rope twice as fast so it passes under your feet twice before you land. This takes timing, patience and power. But you’ll get in great shape just by working at it.

Give Yourself a Break

You don’t have to be a fitness saint to get results. Follow the 80/20 plan: Eighty percent of the year, you’ll exercise regularly and eat well. Know that you’ll slip 20 percent of the time due to holidays and work deadlines. When you accept that fitness isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition, you’re more likely to stick with it for life.

Get a Jump on Weight Loss

Add plyometric box jumps to your workout to improve your cardiovascular stamina and leg strength — you’ll really sculpt your hamstrings, quads and glutes. Find a sturdy box that is at least one foot high. Starting from a standing position explosively jump to the middle of the box, and then jump back down. Repeat 20 times.

Don’t Skimp on Carbs

Your body needs them to fuel a workout, so reach for fruit or high-fiber crackers an hour beforehand. If you are exercising for 90 minutes or longer, include some protein so that the carbs break down more slowly, giving you longer-lasting energy.

For the best nutritional value

Select vegetables with more potassium often, such as sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans.

Sauces or seasonings can add calories, saturated fat, and sodium to vegetables. Use the Nutrition Facts label to compare the calories and % Daily Value for saturated fat and sodium in plain and seasoned vegetables.

Prepare more foods from fresh ingredients to lower sodium intake. Most sodium in the food supply comes from packaged or processed foods.

Buy canned vegetables labeled “reduced sodium,” “low sodium,” or “no salt added.” If you want to add a little salt it will likely be less than the amount in the regular canned product.

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