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Caryn Giarratano

Caryn Giarratano, founder and first director of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation and current assistant director of assessment at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, shares tips for better nutrition, exercise and overall healthy lifestyle, as well as a weight training plan.

Nutrition

Drink/consume a gallon of water per day to avoid fatigue, heatstroke, false hunger, kidney stones, headaches, irritability, anxiety and lack of concentration.

Eat a Mediterranean diet (fresh fruits/vegetables and protein such as chicken, fish, nuts, beans and dairy such as yogurt).

Eat no sugar (of course this is not possible — this addictive poison is in everything — so refrain from eating desserts and drinking sodas).

Reduce the intake of carbs, but do not eliminate them completely (avoid over-eating bread, pasta, rice, cereal, chips, crackers).

Eat the same breakfast and pack the same things for lunch to save time, manage portions and keep a balanced diet.

Use a slow-cooker; cut up vegetables for dinner in the morning; keep the kitchen clean so the work load does not become overwhelming.

Shop on weekends for the entire week and cook large meals that can be frozen to make good use of time.

Exercise

Practice deep breathing to keep the brain alert and body relaxed.

Engage in one hour of cardio per day (walking, pushing lawn mower, pushing vacuum, running, biking, swimming).

Do weight-training two or three times per week to maintain strength to do daily chores and activities (push-ups, ball exercises, lift loaded boxes, put away dishes, go to the gym­ — keep reading for more details).

Push through lethargy and emotions to allow exercise to make you feel better.

Small bits of exercise work: park far from the door; and/or use the stairs instead of elevator.

Keep social connections strong (create a walking group, go to dance class, join a taekwondo class, bicycle with a club).

Wear supportive athletic shoes (such as Asics).

Lifestyle

Hold a correct posture to avoid back/neck pain, allow blood vessels and organs to function properly (provides 30 percent more oxygen) and promote a feeling of alertness/confidence.

Sleep seven to nine hours of sleep each night

Have a good attitude (a positive focus improves energy, productivity and social connections).

Change one thing at a time to avoid being overwhelmed.

Visit the facilities to eliminate waste after each meal (keep toxins and bloating out of the digestive system).

Use portion control to shrink the stomach; do not eat any more after dinner; drink water instead to encourage the release of the stomach gas that mimics hunger.

Do not smoke, do illegal drugs, drink alcohol or engage in other risky behaviors.

Weight Training Plan (do three sets of 10):

Quadriceps — squats or leg press (never do leg extensions)

Hamstrings — leg curls or squats

Abdominals — crunches or abdominal machine (work front and sides)

Sacrospinalin — back extensions or back machine (never arch your back and work the sides)

Pectorals — chest press or flies or bench press

Rhomboids — prone row (face down and move shoulder blades)

Trapezius — shrugs

Latissimus Dorsi — lat pulldown

Biceps — bicep curls

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Triceps — tricep extensions or pushdowns

Anterior Tibial — shin muscle heel raise

Gastrocnemius — calf raise

Gluteus maxis — squats or hip machine or lunges.

Dr. Caryn Giarratano was the founder and first president of the recreational bicycle club, Capitol City Cycling Club, in Jefferson City. She was also the founder and first director of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation, a statewide advocacy organization whose mission was to make Missouri a better place in which to bicycle and walk. She served as the Missouri State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for MoDOT and later had her own consulting company called Nonmotorized Solutions. Giarratano was a competitive athlete — racing for the Columbia Bicycle Club and the Kansas City Ski Club and continues to live a healthy lifestyle. She exercises every day, eats healthy meals and lifts weights every week. She intends to be healthy until the day she dies — at 120 years old. Giarratano served as a professional educator, building principal and educational consultant, teaching people ages preschool to adult. She currently works as the assistant director of assessment at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

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