pia_cayetano.jpgWhen she’s not busy passing laws for the welfare of women and taking care of her children, Senator Pia Cayetano participates in marathons. A runner since her teenage days, she has competed in seven marathons, two duathlons, and six triathlons. This dedication to sports extends to living a healthy lifestyle, something that the senator strongly advocates.

One significant aspect of it, she believes, is keeping fit. “It’s important to look for a complete fitness package and that involves both cardiovascular and strengthening exercises,” she advises. “Do your cardiovascular exercises three times a week then lift weights for two times a week, which you can do at home. Being fit and having the energy to do the training both require that you eat well.”

Start living a healthy lifestyle now by reading Sen. Cayetano’s tips.


1.    DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY.

If working out at the gym bores you, take it outdoors: go for a run or walk. Find something that works with your personality and fits into your schedule.


2.    BUT HAVE AN OPEN MIND TOO.

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Do a run-walk routine first. “It’s important to ease into it. For first-timers, do this: walk 10 minutes, then run one minute. Walk another five minutes, run one minute. Do that for a week. Next week, increase your run time to two minutes. See how it goes after two months. Are you starting to like it? If not, then maybe you should try another activity like swimming or dance classes at the gym. I found that I stink at the latter because I can’t follow the steps.”


3.    READ BOOKS OR GET A COACH OR DO BOTH.

It helps in whatever sport you choose because it helps you understand how to do things right and keep yourself injury-free.


4.    CROSS-TRAIN.

Do different activities each day. “That way, you are less injury-prone because you are not constantly using the same muscle groups every day, and are strengthening other muscles that you otherwise wouldn’t use if you [do] the same exercises every day.”


5.    CHOOSE A GOOD PAIR OF SHOES.

“It’s not the brand that matters but the model of shoe that does. Get something that fits your feet correctly to avoid injuries.”


6.    DON’T FUSS TOO MUCH ABOUT OTHER EQUIPMENT.

“My first bike for racing was this yellow eyesore my brother got from a supermarket. You don’t have to start with the latest state-of-the-art gear.”


7.    ADJUST YOUR EATING HABITS.

“Decide what [unhealthy] foods you can live without, then leave them out of your diet. But if they’re things that you really crave, you don’t have to give them up, just them in limited quantities.”


8.    LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

Your body tells you what it needs—how much rest and what kinds of food. Pay attention.


(First published in Women's Health Philippines, as "Racing Pia" by Owen Santos in October 2009; adapted for use in Female Network; photo via Wikimedia Commons)
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