Strategies For Living A Healthy Lifestyle

Health Is Determined By Daily Lifestyle Choices

Lifestyle choices help you prolong your lifespan and reduce the risk of suffering from serious diseases. Making healthy lifestyle choices like eating more fresh vegetables and fruits every day or exercising at least three times a week will surely improve your health.

A great example of how lifestyle choices determine your health is smoking.

We are all aware of the health risks that go along with smoking, yet many people choose to smoke a pack a day. When you’re smoking, the carcinogens found in cigarettes will directly have an effect on the molecules in your body.

They will trigger the growth of cancer by mutating your anti-cancer genes and making them ineffective.

However, the good news is that both exercising and eating right have a positive effect on your body on a molecular level.

According to an article published in The Atlantic, studies have shown that following a healthy diet is able to make the genes that decrease risk factors for heart disease.

The article also mentions another study that found exercising can help transform stem cells into blood and bone cells (rather than fat cells).

Despite most people knowing about how healthy lifestyle choices can have a positive effect on their lives, they still decide to stick to their unhealthy ways. This is mostly because we are creatures of habit, and we’ve gotten used to eating unhealthy food and living an overly sedentary life when we were children.

Without a doubt, changing your habits can be hard, but it’s something that you should really consider doing. Not only will you potentially avoid suffering from some serious diseases, but you will also feel much better on a daily basis.

Many people find exercising regularly to be really difficult, but engaging in physical activity several hours a week is key to not only improving your cardiovascular health, but also improving both your emotional and psychological health.

Living healthy means avoiding foods that contain a lot of trans fats, sodium, added sugars, processed chemicals, and saturated fats, which are essentially ingredients that are present in the majority of the foods we constantly consume.

Avoiding these foods can be quite challenging, which is why most people don’t even bother trying to live a healthy life.

However, if you’ve never tried following a diet that provides you with all the needed nutrients, then you have no idea that all those delicious, unhealthy foods you enjoy are doing so much harm to your mind and body without you even noticing it.

Living healthy also means taking care of yourself and putting your wellbeing first.

This means reducing stress, practicing relaxation, finding joy every day to keep emotional health in check and promoting brain health.

40 Strategies To Achieving A Healthier Lifestyle

Get Excited:

You’ve finally decided to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Now it’s time to get excited! Knowing that you will now begin a new chapter in your life should definitely excite you and keep you motivated. Remember that from now on, you will both look and feel better.

Assess Your Current Habits:

You cannot change habits or your mindset when making choices until you identify what needs to be changed.

This is very important, as it will allow you to become mindful of new and better lifestyle choices. For example, if you never exercise, start making an exercise plan. If you always eat dessert, begin to plan healthier choices, or eliminating at least two desserts a week to start, then plan on how you will eliminate more.

Write down all your current unhealthy habits and then a plan of action next to each one on how you will make changes. Keep the list with you and read it over several times a day. In the words of GI JOE, “knowing is half the battle.”

Develop The Mindset:

In the previous step you have become aware of the problems and began to develop a plan of action for changing them, which begins to set your mind towards a healthier lifestyle.

This awareness is key and you can use it to develop your mindset towards the healthy. You will start to notice your old habits on a day to day basis, and you can catch yourself to choose something better. Remember the choice is yours.

Get Interested In A Healthy Lifestyle:

Okay, so you’ve decided to start eating more fruits and veggies, and you started going for a run at least three times a week. That’s great! However, repeating the same routine every week can be very tiring. Even if you really enjoy running, you can’t make it the only physical activity you engage in.

Instead, you should focus on learning as much as possible about living a healthy life.

That means that you should research different workout routines and try them out to identify those you like and find to be fun. Also, make sure to try different healthy recipes and spend more time cooking in order to truly appreciate the great taste of healthy food.

When you enjoy leading a healthy lifestyle, it is a positive reinforcement that continues to solidify your mindset towards the healthy.

Accept And Appreciate The Changes In Your Life:

As you start pursuing a healthier lifestyle, many things are going to change. Some nights, you may have to sacrifice going to the bar and having a few drinks with your friends for a workout.

You’ll also have to start eating less fast food and sweets. Before you even begin living healthy, it’s important to realize everything you’ll have to sacrifice in order to achieve your goals.

This will help you deal with all the necessary changes that you’ll need to make.

Make Small Goals At First:

There’s nothing wrong with having your first goal be to lose only five pounds. On the contrary, your goals should be small at first, because that will help you achieve them sooner.

The sense of accomplishment that you get from achieving a goal will definitely help you stay motivated to lead a healthier lifestyle. These small changes will soon snowball into one giant change, a healthier overall lifestyle, and better choices.

Be Aware Of All Of The Benefits That Come From Living Healthy:

If you find it difficult to set your mind towards a healthier lifestyle, then you should take some time to go on the Internet and research all of the healthy benefits that you can experience by living healthy.

You probably already know that living a healthier life will help you lose weight, get you into shape, and lower the risk of certain medical conditions and diseases.

However, did you know that a healthy lifestyle will also boost creativity, reduce anxiety and stress, keep your eyes healthy, strengthen your bones and heart, make it easier for you to concentrate, fill you up with energy, and more?

The more health benefits you know about, the more motivated you will be to stay healthy.

Stop Saying ‘I Should’ And Say ‘I Choose To’:

Saying that you should start running in order to lose weight won’t get you far. If you make living healthy a responsibility, then you probably won’t be successful in reaching your goals. Instead, change your mindset so that you always say ‘I choose to do this.’ By doing this, you will let yourself know that you’re in complete control and that you’re making the choice.

Document Your Progress:

It doesn’t matter if you lost a quarter of a pound you need to document it. After all, a little progress is better than no progress.

Documenting how well you’re doing will make you see that all the sacrifices you’ve made aren’t for nothing, and that you are on your way to reach your goals.

Surround Yourself With Like Minded People:

Nothing is more inspirational than being around people who make healthy a priority, consider this versus your friends who never exercise, drink too much and view French fries as a main staple of their diet.

The gym or a fitness class is a great place to meet people that will support your efforts and help keep you in the proper mindset.

Learn To Forgive Yourself:

You’ve vowed to stop eating chocolate, but you simply couldn’t resist the temptation today. This shouldn’t get you down, as it’s completely understandable when it happens once in a while.

Learning to forgive yourself for a slip-up or a mistake is something you will have to do eventually, as that’s the only way you’ll manage to stay motivated. The only way that you will truly reverse all the effort, you put in up until this point is if your slip-up gets to you and you give up on living healthy.

Stop Obsessing:

You definitely shouldn’t stare at the mirror for hours every single day and obsess over why you aren’t seeing any changes yet. If you’ve never been physically active or on a diet, it’s going to take some time for you to see major changes in your appearance.

Stop Being Embarrassed:

So what if you’re overweight and everyone else in the gym is super fit. There is absolutely no reason to be embarrassed about your appearance or physical abilities. Remember that the fit people around you were also out of shape once and had to work hard to look good.

Be Proud Of Yourself:

Instead of being embarrassed, you should be proud of yourself for finding the motivation to start living healthier. Know that living healthy definitely isn’t easy, and most people can’t do it.

Make Exercising Fun:

Not everyone enjoys lifting weights or doing CrossFit; and if you don’t enjoy any of these activities as well, then you simply shouldn’t do them. There are plenty workout routines, and there is surely at least one that is perfect for you. The only way you’ll be motivated to exercise is if what you’re doing is fun.

However, if you’re having a hard time finding a workout routine that suits you, you should consider starting to work out with a close friend or a relative. Having somebody by your side when you’re engaging in a challenging activity will definitely make it fun.

Learn To Enjoy Cooking:

Start learning which foods go well with each other. When you’re bored, browse the Internet for delicious recipes. Research how to tell if the food you’re buying is fresh or not. Learning to enjoy preparing a meal will make you look forward to following a healthy diet.

Start Planning Ahead:

For example, start making your own healthy snacks, and always have one with you when you go to work. That way, if you ever get hungry, you’ll have something healthy for a snack. Being prepared for every situation will make it easier for you to live healthier.

Have A Positive Outlook On Life:

Being in a negative mental state will cause you to make unhealthy decisions. Many people turn to alcohol and/or junk food when they feel sad or frustrated.

Know that your mental state has the power to trigger any of your previous unhealthy habits. This means that having a positive outlook on life will help you stay on the right path. When something stressful happens to you, try not focusing too much on it.

Learn To Relax:

Do whatever you can to relax as much as possible. When you’re relaxed, it will be easier for you to exercise and eat healthy on any given day. Excellent ways to relax include getting enough sleep, meditating, as well as eating certain foods that are known for giving you a mood boost.

Love Yourself:

When most people who’ve neither followed a diet nor exercised a day in their lives decide to start living healthier, they are not happy with who they are.

No matter how you look or what type of unhealthy habits you have, you should definitely love yourself more. As soon as you start practicing self-love, it will be much easier for you to start enjoying working out and eating healthy.

Choose To Eat Bright Colored Foods:

Science says that vegetables and fruits that are bright colored are high in antioxidants.

Antioxidants are substances that help stop or prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. Just think about the beautiful bright colored foods such as tomatoes, oranges, avocados, blackberries, and mangos.

Just the thought of these foods surely leaves you craving for them.

As soon as you get into the mindset in which healthy foods start looking really beautiful to you, it will become easier for you to eat healthier, further solidifying a new positive outlook towards a new lifestyle.

Learn To Say No:

You shouldn’t eat a pizza just because someone offered you a slice. If you’re not hungry and feel like sticking to the diet that you planned, you should refuse whatever unhealthy foods someone offers you.

Being out with your friends is not a good enough reason to eat something that’s unhealthy. Learning to say no will prevent many future setbacks.

Spend More Time Outside And Learn To Appreciate Nature:

Nothing will help you clear your head like going out for a walk in the park, especially if your job involves you sitting at a desk for eight hours.

Make it a must for you to go out for a walk at least once a week. It will help you get prepared for all the challenges that go along with living healthier.

Enjoy Your Meals:

Just because you’ve prepared something healthy doesn’t mean that you should wolf the whole meal down while watching TV. Instead, turn off your computer and TV, and appreciate the meal your about to eat.

Go with small bites, and chew for a while to really experience every ingredient. Eating like this will make you look forward to living healthy.

Having A Cheat Day Is Okay:

Saying that you won’t eat cake during the next year is essentially setting yourself up for failure. If you’re properly motivated, you might just manage to do it. However, you’ll most likely fail – and that’s completely okay!

Just because you decided to start living healthier doesn’t mean that you should completely forget about the unhealthy stuff. In fact, it’s important (for the sake of your mental health) to have a cheat day every once in a while.

During a cheat day, you can eat virtually anything you please, as long as it’s in moderate portions. By having a cheat day, you will relieve yourself of a lot of stress and make it easier for yourself to continue with your diet.

Take A Few Days To Rest Every Once In A While:

Just like it’s hard not to eat cake for 365 days straight, it’s also hard to exercise every day of the year.

You probably already know that rest days are totally fine, but you should also know that taking a few days to rest is totally okay as well. This will give your body time to heal and it will make you more prepared for the following workout sessions.

Try To Change The Mindsets Of People Close To You:

If you have friends who constantly eat fast food and drink alcohol, then you are probably surrounded by stories that involve these two things.

Being around people like this will make it harder for you to achieve your health goals. That’s why it’s not such a bad idea to try to change the mindsets of people who are close to you.

As soon as you get them interested in living a healthy life, you will have more motivation to reach your own goals. Simply knowing that you can talk to someone close to you about the challenges of trying to live a healthy life will help you a lot.

Kids Are Your Motivation:

Think about your children’s health and their future, when you learn to set your mind towards health, this will teach them the same, no better motivator to start today.

Play Team Sports:

Playing team sports is a great way to socialize while working out. Whether you enjoy basketball, baseball, or football, playing team sports is always a great idea, as they are always incredibly fun.

Pay More Attention To What Your Drink:

Many people drink at least one soda and a coffee with a lot of sugar every single day. However, these drinks don’t actually promote a healthy lifestyle.

If you want to live healthier, the first thing that you’ll need to do is make water your default drink. No matter where you go, you should carry around a bottle of water with you.

In case you really want to drink something other than water once a day, you can go with a cup of unsweetened tea.

Explore Different Ethnic Foods:

Don’t think about healthy eating as something unpleasant. Think of it as an adventure filled with new foods and meals that you will explore.

Make sure to try different healthy ethnic foods every once in a while. You can try dishes from Thailand, Japan, India, the Mediterranean, and any other country or area you prefer.

This type of positive reinforcement continues to solidify the mindset towards the healthy.

Stop Smoking:

You’ve started both eating healthy and working out regularly, but you’re still smoking?

Well, it’s time to stop.

Smoking increases the risk of numerous health problems including kidney cancer, heart attack, lung cancer, and more. If you don’t smoke, but are constantly surrounded by people who do, just remember that passive smoking is just as harmful.

Stop Drinking Alcohol:

It’s okay to have a drink or two at a celebration every once in a while, but if you’re in the habit of drinking regularly, now would be a good time to stop.

According to the Alcohol Research & Health journal, drinking alcohol regularly will have a lot of damaging effects on your brain

(http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm).

On top of that, alcohol will also do harm to your lungs, liver, and other major organs.

Stop Eating As Soon As You Feel Full:

Some people eat until their plate is empty even though they felt full halfway through the meal. If you’re one of these people, then you need to learn how to stop eating when you feel full.

In fact, it’s even better to stop eating when you’re about 90% full in order to prevent your digestive system from going into overdrive.

This may be hard to accomplish at first, since most of us rely on external cues to see if we’re full or not, but you should definitely keep practicing mindful eating, as that’s a big part of living healthy.

Eat Smaller Meals:

Instead of eating two-three big meals a day, try eating several small meals. This will help you distribute energy through your body evenly during the whole day. Eating smaller meals is a healthy habit that will make you more prepared for exercising and will boost your mood.

Learn To Take Deep Breaths:

Most people breathe to only a third of their lung capacity. However, considering that oxygen is a vital source of life, it’s best that you learn how to breather properly.

In fact, professional athletes are all taught different breathing techniques in order to maximize their performance.

Deep breaths can also help you relax in stressful situations. When you decide to go for a walk, make sure to breathe deeply in order to clear your mind.

Avoid Trigger Foods:

Trigger foods are essentially unhealthy foods that you always go crazy for. For some people, a trigger food is chocolate, for others it’s potato chips. The first thing you need to do is identify what your trigger foods are. After you’ve done that, it’s time to get them out of your sight. Just being around them can sabotage your goals of living a healthier life.

Get Enough Sleep:

If you don’t sleep enough, you will most likely compensate by eating more, and chances are that you’ll overeat on junk food. On the other hand, when you get enough sleep, you won’t have to snack in order to stay awake.

Stop Saying That You’re Too Busy:

You really shouldn’t use this excuse. There are certain workout routines that literally take up only seven minutes, which is an amount of time anyone can take out of their day. In addition, if you really are too busy to cook healthy, there are plenty of restaurants that prepare healthy food.

Celebrate each and every success:

This is critical! Lost a pound, say hooray! Lost 5 pounds get yourself a reward. Lowered your cholesterol, great, go out to a movie! Managed to choose to eat healthy for a week straight, say WOW, you’re a rock star!

 

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Exercise After 50- What You Should Be Doing

What Exercise Should You Be Doing After 50

The mistake many make is stopping exercise altogether as they age.

This is one of the worst things you can do to your body at a time when exercise is needed more than ever.

The aging process hastens breakdown of muscle and connective tissue, and can leave you immobile if you sit there and do nothing about it.

Already over 50?

It is never too late to start improving your health with exercise.

The following are exercises you should be incorporating into your fitness plan:

Aerobics

Aerobics, also known as cardio or cardiovascular exercise, is important at any point of life, but even more so as we get older.aerobicexercise

Aerobic exercise plays an important part in maintaining the health of various organ systems, including the heart, lungs and brain.

Though there are many different types of aerobic exercise, it is best to start with a low-impact variety, to safeguard the safety of the joints until it is established that you can handle more.

 

Be sure to include the following types of aerobics:
• Swimming
• Cycling (including stationary bikes)
• Walking
• Jogging

Strength Training

Far too many people associate strength training with becoming a bodybuilder or some other strong man type of athlete, but in reality your body needs resistance to stay functional.

People that weight train regularly, especially older persons, have a greatly decreased risk of fractures, pain, and immobility due to muscle atrophy.

You need to perform at least basic strength training, which entails using your bodyweight. Added resistance is good, but do it only when you feel you are capable.weighttraining

Be sure to include the following movements into your regime:
• Squats
• Bench presses
• Push ups
• Pull up/ assisted pull ups
• Lat pull downs shoulder presses
• Deadlifts / hyperextensions
• Triceps presses
• Dumbbell curls

If you have preexisting joint issues, you can substitute one exercise with another. For example, removing the squat and using leg extensions instead.strengthtraining

Flexibility Training

The single most underrated aspect of any training program has got to be the flexibility component. The reasons are simple enough to understand, after all, you don’t see any immediate benefit to doing it, so why should you? But there’s another way to look at flexibility training- as insurance.flexibilitytraining

Think of flexibility training as the insurance that safeguards you in the eventuality of the worst outcome, in this case immobility or injury.

 

Flexibility training has numerous benefits on a body aged over 50, such as:

Decreases Pain Following Training- part of the reason muscles and joints ache after a workout is because of an inability of muscles to elongate back, or when they do they place undue stress on connective tissue.
Promotes Balance- loss of balance occurs frequently as we age, due in large part to loss of muscle mass, but also to stiff connective tissue. Flexibility training can significantly help you maintain balance as you age.

Include these in your flexibility training to reap the benefits:

Dynamic Stretches- these are stretches performed prior to your workout to get the muscle and connective tissue loose and ready for activity. This significantly helps to reduce the risk of injury during an active workout set.stretching
Static Stretches- these are stretches performed after working out a muscle group, to relieve muscle tension. Static stretches help stretch the muscle fibers and reduce pain after your workout.

Conclusion

Maintaining the integrity of the joints, heart and muscles requires incorporating some aspects of all the exercises listed above.

Staying mobile will definitely contribute to optimal health and longevity in the future.

imdocmac

Strength Training After 50

Strength Training After 50

Why is Strength Training Important as You Age

As you get older, it’s more important than ever to take care of your health and stay active for as long as possible. The great news is that you can maintain and even improve your physical condition with strength training. There are many reasons as to why strength training is so important to keep up with as you get older.

Daily Activities

If you keep up with strength training as you age you will be able to keep up with doing things like daily chores, getting the groceries and even something as simple as taking a shower. These are all things that can mean a lot to people who worry about losing their independence.

Build Muscle

People lose five to seven pounds of muscle every decade after they turn twenty. It is important to develop a proper strength training routine so you can avoid muscle loss and build it instead. And this is possible, even if you are quite a few years past twenty and are only just getting started!

Get Rid of High Blood Pressure

If you develop and keep up with a proper strength training routine you have a good chance of reducing your blood pressure, as strength training makes the heart stronger and forces it to pump blood more efficiently. Blood pressure has a knock-on effect on many other areas of health, too.

More Calories Bunt

Strength training will help you to be able to effectively burn more calories. This means that you will have much more success with shedding unwanted weight in the long term.

Some Tips for Starting a Strength Training Program:

• Always, always get advice from your doctor before you start.

• You should start with training two days a week with a day of rest in between. Then you should add a third day to challenge yourself.

• You need to pay close attention to proper form when doing exercises. This way you will help to prevent injury by doing an exercise incorrectly.

• Always keep in mind that when you are strength training it should never cause you pain. If you experience any pain stop right away.

No matter what age you happen to be, it’s never too late to incorporate strength training into your fitness routine – you just need to be willing to adapt it according to your specific circumstances, and get the OK from your doctor.

By helping to make sure that your body stays strong you will be helping to maintain your independence for many years to come.

 

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