Move your body! Remember that old saying “Move it or lose it”? That applies to your body as well! If you want to stay mobile, be mobile!
Exercise has so many great benefits – it improves your mood, reduces stress, strengthens your heart, helps control your weight, and more!
What is the best exercise for you? One that you ENJOY! Some people like the solitude of running or walking alone, while some like to join clubs to meet other people. Some enjoy the group atmosphere of an organized class like spinning, Zumba, or yoga. And some prefer sports or activities like softball, basketball, ice skating, or gardening. Whatever it is that motivates you to get active and stay active – THAT is the right activity for you!
How often should you exercise? There are so many varying opinions on this. Ideally you should aim for 30-60 minutes per day of some type of activity. Often life gets in the way of our ideal goals, so set your minimum expectation to 30 minutes every other day. If you can’t fit a full 30 minutes into your day in one chunk try breaking it up – 10 minutes 3 times per day or 15 minutes twice a day. Take a walk around the block during your lunch break and then do some strength exercises before dinner – crunches, push-ups, squats, lunges, bicep curls and shoulder presses with weights.
Get creative! Too cold outside? Do laps around inside your office building! Don’t have any hand weights? Use soup cans or water jugs!
Make it fun for the whole family! Turn on music and get everyone dancing! Go sledding! Play badminton in the yard!
Make exercise a part of your life and you will reap the rewards in you health and your happiness.
So, how are you planning to get active today?
Drink plenty of water! Many people are dehydrated and they don’t even know it! Common signs that you may be dehydrated include dry mouth, dizzyness, weakness, headache, decreased or dark yellow urine, constipation, and severe thirst. Your body is made up of approximately 60% water and the processes in your body require a steady supply of fresh water to replenish water used to excrete waste and toxins, so drinking water is essential to all systems to keep them functioning optimally.
Water provides many benefits to your health! Water can provide weight-loss benefits for a couple of reasons. One reason is that many people mistake their thirst for hunger so by quenching your thirst food intake is usually decreased. Another reason is because when you are drinking enough water your body is able to release the toxins that were stored in your fat cells, and your body is then able to use that stored energy. Water can also help kill cravings. When a craving strikes try drinking a glass of water. Many times the craving will go away! Water is also very beneficial for your brain, joints and skin. When you are well hydrated brain fog is reduced allowing you to think more clearly, joints are lubricated reducing wear and tear, and your skin will have a more healthy, radiant appearance.
How much water should you drink? There are many differing opinions on this – most say 8 glasses a day or your weight in ounces per day, and of course more with vigorous exercise! I think these are great guidelines to start with – get yourself on a regular regimine to get back in the habit of drinking water and rediscover your thirst. Eventually you will likely find that your thirst will guide you to consume the proper amount of water for YOUR body.
Also, be aware that you CAN drink too much water. This is one area where more is not better! Too much water will throw off your blood sodium levels and interrupt your electrolyte balance and is potentially fatal. Signs of overhydration include blurred vision, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and bloating.
Follow the 90/10 rule! The reason so many diets don’t work is because they leave you feeling deprived, and deprivation will eventually lead to bingeing which leads to feelings of failure. Don’t focus on perfection – none of us are perfect, so that just sets you up for failure! Make healthy choices 90% of the time and leave yourself a 10% buffer to allow for occasional treats, dinners out with friends, or party snacks. It’s all about moderation – allow yourself the occasional indulgence to prevent cravings born from the “forbidden foods” mindset. It’s always easier to make the healthier choice when it feels like a choice – you might say to yourself, “I’ll choose the salad today, and maybe treat myself to a cone at that new ice cream parlor on Saturday!”
Start a Food Journal! Keeping a Food Journal for 90 days will help you identify areas in your diet that need improvement. You can buy one or create your own – I recommend one that tracks not just calories, but also the breakdown of protein, carb, fiber, sugar, and fat.
A Food Journal is helpful from 2 aspects:
– Accountability – “Do I want to have to write down that candy bar?”
– Insight into hidden sources of empty carbs such as sugar – “I didn’t know juice had THAT much sugar!”
As you become aware of the components of the foods you eat you can make informed decisions such as replacing a cup of juice with a whole apple so you get the fiber along with the sugar, or choosing the loaf of bread with the higher carb to fiber ratio.
This does require a time commitment, but the positive results you will see as you learn and make improvements are well worth the time invested!
Start reading labels!! Make a pledge to yourself to read the labels of the packaged foods you buy before you put them in the cart. You should know what you are putting in your body! Awareness is the first step! This may not bring immediate change but over time you will likely find yourself comparing similar products to find the one with more basic identifiable ingredients. And from there you may just decide to start looking to more whole foods than packaged foods. Give it a try! Make reading the labels a habit and see where it takes you!