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Pre-Wedding Workouts: Relieve Stress, Don't Add To It

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A wedding-day workout can be the best idea ever.  Or the worst.

A morning workout in step with your regular exercise routine, such as yoga or a 3-mile run, can "give you some normalcy and relieve stress on your wedding day," says Lisbeth Levine, co-author of "The Wedding Book: The Big Book for Your Big Day" (Workman, 2008). "It can both energize and calm you." But if you don't regularly work out and are simply trying to sweat off a few extra calories before the ceremony, now's not the time to starts, Levine notes.

Exercise during your engagement period is a different story. "It's a great time in your life to make some positive changes," says Christi Masi, chief exercise officer for The Healthy Bride, a Seattle area company specializing in bridal bootcamps and personal training. "There's nothing quite so motivating" as a wedding, she says.

Masi advises brides to realistically look at what they hope to lose and the number of weeks before the first dress fitting — not the wedding date. "It takes a lot to lose more than a pound or two a week," she says. "You have to change a lot of behaviors to make that happen."

Significant change is possible but shouldn't require an unhealthy situation, Masi adds. Wedding planning is stressful enough - exercise should ease stress, not add to it.

Motivation to Get Moving

Setting attainable milestones with rewards, and working out with a buddy, such as one of your bridesmaids, are good ways to keep a fitness plan moving. "Having other people around doing the same thing is extremely motivating," she says.

For brides in a pinch, Masi recommends burning calories quickly by working against gravity, such as by climbing stairs and hills or increasing the treadmill incline.

Bride should continue their fitness plan post-honeymoon. "Weddings change brides from couch potatoes to recreational athletes," Masi says. "Focus on what comes next."

Time-Saving Tip

Crunched on time? Work in some hidden calorie burners throughout the day.Get off the train a stop early, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or split up workouts instead of scheduling a big block of time.

"Adding small movements throughout your day makes a difference," Masi says.

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Tags: workouts, fitness, wedding stress