The quality of our life is determined by the quality of our health. Even if you have all the money in the world but your health is failing, you aren’t living life to the fullest. If you’ve been living an unhealthy lifestyle (i.e., not eating right, not exercising, not taking care of yourself), now is the time to change that.
You don’t need to overwhelm yourself by making sudden changes. Make diet changes gradually so that your body has time to adjust. When you give your mind & body a chance to adapt to your new healthy lifestyle, you will most likely stick to your healthy habits in the long term.
Here are some healthy tips when it comes to eating, sleeping & exercising:
Eat healthy meals & snacks
Look for healthy foods you enjoy. Find recipes online that are both healthy and enjoyable. Have a healthy snack in between meals. Be sure to stock up on fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Keep them handy at home and in the office in case you feel hungry.
Eat Healthy Fats
Avoid trans fats and consume sufficient essential fatty acids. Make sure you are getting your omega-3 and omega-6 fats. These can be found in fatty fish (i.e., mackerel, salmon, seabass), seaweed, algae, flax oil, nuts and seeds.
When dining out, check out the menu ahead of time. Many restaurants offer healthy options. Choose vegetables for your side instead of French fries. Vegetables are rich in micronutrients and are essential to your health. They also cleanse the body’s detoxification organs like the liver, intestines, kidneys and skin.
* I love to eat out without jeopardizing my health. Since I am allergic to gluten, I appreciate that many restaurants offer a gluten-free menu. Being gluten-free, I cannot eat food containing wheat, barley, malt or rye.
Buy Organic Produce
Unfortunately, many produce sold in the market today do not have a lot of nutritional value. This is due to the depleted soil used in the industrial farming process. Buy organic produce, when possible. While they may be more expensive than conventional produce, the benefits are worth it. Organic crops have higher levels of antioxidants, and they taste better.
It is important that you get a good night’s rest. Getting enough quality sleep can help protect your overall health including your physical, emotional and mental health. Sleep in a quiet and dark room so that you experience the best sleep possible. Some people are fully energized with 6 or 7 hours of sleep. I feel energized after getting 8 hours of sleep, so I try sticking to that every night.
Exercise improves not just your physical health, but also your mental health. It helps prevent illness, boosts energy and brainpower, reduces stress, improves mood and helps you get a better night’s sleep. Schedule your workout at a specific time and place so that it becomes a habit. Make it as important as a business meeting or a doctor’s appointment.
To maintain good health, the Centers for Disease Control and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend performing a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio activity on most days of the week. High-impact cardio activities include jogging, running, jumping rope, high-impact aerobic dance and some advanced strength training. Low-impact cardio exercises include: walking, swimming, cycling, rowing, yoga, pilates & the elliptical. Cardiovascular exercise helps burn fat and raises your metabolism. It also strengthens your heart and lungs.
Stretching is important for your flexibility. Use dynamic or “active” stretching as a warm-up. They prepare the body for activity by helping to increase blood flow and muscle temperature. Don’t stretch a cold muscle, or you will injure yourself. Only perform “static stretching” (stretch and hold) after a 5 to 10-minute warm-up. You should stretch after a workout when your muscles are already warm.
Building muscle not only increases your strength but also increases your metabolism. Your bones will get stronger which can help with balance and coordination. When you have more muscles, you burn more calories when you’re doing nothing at all. This helps keep off extra pounds. Strength training slows the aging process. As we age, we start to lose muscle mass. It’s important to engage in strength training 2-4 times a week. You don’t need a lot of equipment. Start small with a couple of hand dumbbells. Pushups, pullups, and other “body weight exercises” can also help build up your muscles.
If you fall back into unhealthy patterns, it’s okay. We’re not perfect. The important thing is that you move forward towards good health.
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