Welcome to the Well newsletter. Every Thursday, we email readers with news and advice about living well every day. Sign up here to get it in your inbox.
We’ve got a lot to talk about today!
Let’s start by talking about sugar. This year was supposed to be the year of less sugar, and many of you joined me in January for the 7-Day Sugar Challenge. But then the pandemic hit, our schedules and lives were disrupted, and many of us slipped into our old bad habits (or new bad habits).
I’ve asked Dr. Robert Lustig, best-selling author and well-known anti-sugar crusader, to join me Monday at 1 p.m. Eastern for a live event to talk about the perils of sugar and processed foods. You do not want to miss this. Dr. Lustig’s 90-minute lecture on the health risks of added sugar has more than 10 million views on YouTube. Every time I speak to him, I learn something new. Bring your questions! R.S.V.P. here and let’s keep trying to kick the sugar and processed food habit together.
Have you been doing the Well Summer Workout Challenge? Our goal last week was just 20 minutes of vigorous exercise (three 6- or 7-minute workouts) or 45 minutes of moderate exercise (three brisk, 15-minute walks.)
Inspiration from a famous reader. I asked readers last week how they stay motivated to exercise, and I was inspired to hear from Padma Lakshmi, host of “Top Chef” and the new series “Taste the Nation.” Few people have the calorie challenges faced by Ms. Lakshmi, whose job requires her to eat a lot of food while filming her show.
Ms. Lakshmi stays fit by jumping rope at least five days a week while listening to The Daily podcast. She aims for 2,000 strokes (about 30 minutes), with 10 to 15 second breaks every 100 strokes, and always keeps a jump rope on hand. “Jumping rope has saved my life, and I find it has less impact than running on my body,” she says. “It’s great cardio. I carry one in my bag whenever I travel, especially during ‘Top Chef,’ where I can consume anywhere from 7,000 to 9,000 calories a day in the early episodes.”
Ms. Lakshmi also uses stairs to build exercise into her day. “I have tried so many different things to keep fit because of all my eating on the job,” she says. “You can always find an emergency staircase.”
Here’s your new workout challenge. Repeat what you did last week, but step it up. Add five to 10 minutes to your walks (20 to 25 minutes instead of 15 minutes.) If you’re doing the 6- or 7-minute workout, use at least one of your workout days to do it twice (12 to 14 minutes). If that’s too much, just try to step up the intensity and add some brisk walks to your off days. Your goal this week is to build on the success of last week and do a little bit more.
Workout question of the week. A lot of readers have been asking some version of the same question: How do I do these workouts if I have a bad knee (or back or hip)?
Chris Jordan, creator of the 7-minute workout and director of exercise physiology at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, notes that you can modify the exercise and work around many injuries. (Always check with your doctor before exercising with an injury.) You can find alternate exercises on the free Johnson & Johnson Official 7-minute workout app. Instead of jumping jacks, do a burpee without jumping or march in place. If you can’t do a traditional push-up, do a wall push-up or a stair push-up.
“Rather than trying to work through the pain, find a way to work around it and exploit the areas that are healthy that don’t cause pain or a problem,” said Chris. “If your knees bother you and you can’t squat, then don’t squat. If you do a push-up and it bothers your wrist, find a comfortable way to do the exercise and exploit what you can do. Don’t try to push through what you can’t do or shouldn’t do.”
Let me know how you are doing. You can use the hashtag #WellSummerWorkout or just email me at [email protected]. And keep reading below for the week in Well, updates on coronavirus and a roundup of some new and old stories about food and healthful eating.
— Tara Parker-Pope
How are we doing?
We’d love your feedback on this newsletter. Please email thoughts and suggestions to [email protected].