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Moving more, eating better can be fun

| Monday, Jan. 4, 2010

Remember back in November when you promised yourself that you would reform your eating and exercise habits in the coming year?

It's time to make good on those promises.

You might really want to, but you might be daunted by not knowing how to start.

You don't have to be. Don't go for a complete overhaul. Begin with something more do-able.

Resolve to spend a single day exercising just a little more and eating just a little healthier.

You might be surprised to find that moving more and eating better actually can be fun.

It's always more fun when you have a companion.

Enlist a friend, co-worker or family member to come along.

9:30 a.m.

Start your day with a yoga class at Schoolhouse Yoga's Squirrel Hill location.

Beginner classes, which last 90-minutes, start at 9:30 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. Fridays, 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays and 9:15 and 11 a.m. on Sundays.

Classes operate on a drop-in basis. So, you can give yoga a try without signing up for six weeks of classes. A single class is $12.

One of the nice things about yoga is participants work at their own comfort level. Even if you're overweight or out-of-shape, you can achieve a nice stretch and a bit of a workout without overdoing it. Beginning and concluding segments concentrate on focus, relaxation, breathing so you leave feeling better about yourself and your body.

Schoolhouse Yoga, 2010 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill. Details: 412-401-4444 or here .

11 a.m

Reward yourself with a healthy, late, leisurely breakfast at Pamela's Diner.

Pamela's can get busy, so you may want to review relaxation techniques and yoga breathing while you wait.

When you order, remember that the point is to begin by making small changes you can live with or might even enjoy.

Order the California French Toast, which is made with whole wheat raisin bread, or the vegetarian omelet made with egg substitute or egg whites. Savor the flavors and aromas.

Choose a side order of fruit or whole wheat toast instead of the bacon or corned beef hash.

Pamela's Diner 5813 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill. Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. Details: 412-422-9457 or here .

1 p.m.

Give your artistic and intellectual side a vigorous workout in the galleries at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts where the works of a variety of contemporary artists are on display through Jan. 24.

Check out the work of Pittsburgh Society of Artists members in "When Night Falls," as well as fiber artist Fuyoko Matsubara's "Seeds of Light," or wrap your mind around James Thurman's "Ancient 21st Century Art-i-facts," a humorous critique of culture and consumerism. As you do, you'll also be getting a physical benefit from strolling through the gallery rather than sitting in front of a television.

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission: Suggested $5 donation. Details: 412-361-0455 or here .

2 p.m.

Now get outside for a 30-minute walk along the trails in Frick Park. Park your car on Reynolds Street near South Homewood Avenue and enter through the stone gateway arch on Reynolds Street. Alternately, you can park at the Biddle Parking lot near the intersection of South Braddock and Biddle avenues in Regent Square.

Either way, you descend down the tree-covered paths to the valley below. You don't have to cover the entire 561-acre park to benefit from the time outdoors.

You can get a good workout by walking briskly or take a more leisurely pace and enjoy the benefits of a contemplative stroll that still exercises muscles and burns calories -- just not as much.

Remember to allow more time for the return trip as coming back up the trail is going to be more aerobic than going down.

3:30 p.m.

Time to end your healthy day with a late lunch. Drop by the Quiet Storm Vegetarian and Vegan Cafe in Friendship. You're not obligated to jump into the deep end of the pool if entrees made with tofu or seitan are too scary or daunting. There are plenty of entrees, salads and sandwiches that allow you to test the waters of healthy eating without a total immersion experience.

How about a Maelstrom Quesadilla filled with spinach, chickpeas, mushrooms, hot pepper rings, roasted red peppers and mozzarella that's served with a cucumber yogurt sauce or a Hi-Fi salad composed of spinach, red cabbage, lettuce, walnuts, almonds, raisins, sun-dried tomatoes, apricots, dates, carrots and sunflower seeds with your choice of buttermilk or lemon dressing•

Not filling enough?

Add a bowl of soup, made fresh daily.

Quiet Storm, 5430 Penn Ave., Friendship. Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Details: 412-661-9355 or here .

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