Thursday, November 5, 2009

25 Steps to a Healthier You

In the late 20th century, along came aerobics, isometrics, Richard Simmons, Dr. Atkins, and a nonstop barrage of exercise gadgets, all of which have left the average person dazed, confused, and in worse shape then ever! So what really works? Here are some helpful tips for getting in shape and becoming a healthier person.

1: Follow a balanced exercise program

A brisk 30-minute walk while enjoying the sunset will burn 1,500 calories per week -- that's 78,000 calories a year! Cardio is great for your heart and lungs, but add a couple sessions of weight training to tone or build muscle.

2: Schedule family fitness time

Play basketball, chase a Frisbee, or hike the hills together. You'll be getting closer to each other as you shape up.

3: Invest in a jump rope

It's a great workout anytime. Set a goal of skipping rope for ten minutes per day and watch those love handles melt away.

4: Get a training partner

Knowing that someone is waiting is great motivation to get on with a work out. You'll also have a ready-made spotter.

5: Exercise in water

Check out the aerobics programs at your local pool. Exercising in water relieves stress on the joints and back

6: Get active at work

Walk around outside on your breaks. When in front of a computer, sit up and pull in your abs.

7: Eat more frequent, smaller meals

It is better to eat six small meals a day than three large meals. The smaller the meal, the less your stomach will stretch.

8: Hydrate with water

Drink at least eight glasses of water every day. This does not include coffee, soda, or fruit-flavored drinks, which have extra calories.

9: Don't pollute your body

Avoid tobacco, excess alcohol, and illegal drugs. These are bad for health and can also inhibit weight loss.

10: Always eat a good breakfast

Skipping breakfast is a method of dieting for many people. But studies have found that people who eat breakfast are actually less likely to be obese.

11: Cook healthy

Stop frying your food and opt for roasting or grilling instead. Frying only adds unnecessary calories to food.

12: Enjoy every morsel of food

When eating, chew food slowly. Relish it and pay attention to flavors and taste. The longer you chew, the fuller you'll feel!

13: Be an early riser

Start your day early. Rising with the sun helps reset your body's clock. This builds better sleep patterns so you're energized all day.

14. Be sun smart

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. Sun exposure increases your risk, so when you're in the heat of it, either cover up or slip, slap, slop on a high SPF sunscreen!

15: Stay emotionally in shape

Poor emotional health can weaken your body's immune system. Don't ignore what's going on in your heart and mind. It is healthy to acknowledge your emotions

16: Keep your teeth healthy

A common cause of tooth loss after age 35 is gum disease. Keep your teeth and gums healthy and free of plaque by brushing and flossing every day.

17: Eat five or more servings of fruits and veggies per day

Keep fruits and vegetables on the front shelves of your refrigerator so they are easy to get to when you reach for a snack!

18: De-stress your life

Stress can cause or aggravate many health conditions. So, don't sweat the small stuff!

19: Know thyself

Knowing your family's health history can help you stay healthy. Many diseases are hereditary and preventable with early screening.

20: Look after your mental health

Depression is a serious illness that needs to be treated. It's not your fault, so you shouldn't be afraid to talk to a doctor for he

21: Get a good night's sleep

Lack of sleep causes stress on the body. It increases cortisol and insulin, promoting fat storage and making weight loss difficult.

22: Perform regular breast exams

For women, the best time to perform a breast self-examination is the week after your menstrual period, when breast tissue is less tender and swollen.

23: Take a nap

Many have commended the benefits of a good 30- to 45-minute nap a day to keep refreshed and lower stress. Try it -- it doesn't mean you've passed your use-by date!

24: Open your lungs

Sing your heart out! It doesn't matter what you sound like! In the shower, in the car, or wherever you are, sing out loud. It's a great stress reliever.

25: Take time to enjoy your life

While it's important to do a good job and take care of responsibilities, life is also meant to be enjoyed. Loosen up! Laugh at yourself, and play as hard as you work!

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