Develop New Health Habits This Year

Develop New Health Habits This Year

Life changes are what make the difference in good health. Too often people make a New Year’s resolution to start exercising or eat healthier and within weeks, all that resolve disappears. Why not go slower and develop new health habits instead. New health habits last a lifetime and offer the opportunity to live longer with fewer chances of serious conditions that affect your enjoyment and length of life.

Start by changing your eating habits.

You’ll lose weight and feel great when you change your eating habits. Changing your eating habits is more than just dieting. Dieting doesn’t work. When you diet, you feel deprived and often hungry. Once you lose the weight, you go back to your old eating habits that put on the weight in the first place. Instead of dieting, learning how to make smarter choices in food is the key to a life without weight problems. A personal trainer can help you make those changes. Some changes are simple. Some simple changes include eating brown rice instead of white rice or having an apple ready for a midmorning break so you don’t grab a donut or candy bar. Others are not as easy, but still enjoyable, like cooking differently and steaming, roasting or grilling instead of frying foods.

Start a program of regular exercise.

You can vow to exercise, but until it becomes a habit, it will be a struggle to maintain the regimen. If you aren’t ready for a complete program, start small. Start walking to lunch. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and park further from the store. Your body will become more accustomed to increased exercise and it won’t take long before you’re ready for a program. Create a workout schedule that you’ll fit in at the same time every day. Make it become an appointment. Another alternative is using a personal trainer to design a program specifically for your needs. Meeting with the trainer is an appointment, making it more likely you’ll stick with it.

Get plenty of sleep.

While the combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise will help you stay healthier, getting adequate sleep is also important. Lack of sleep affects your health in a number of ways. It makes it harder to lose weight by increasing your hunger hormone and reducing the amount of the hormone that makes you feel full. It also increases your risk of heart disease. Too often people think it’s noble to burn the candle at both ends, but it’s really selfish. It puts you at risk for serious conditions that can affect your health, either cutting your life short or forcing others to care for you.

  • Stay hydrated. This is especially important in the winter when you don’t feel as thirsty as you do in the summer. Lack of hydration can cause many symptoms. It even can cause signs of dementia in the elderly.
  • Smile more. That’s right! Studies show that people who smile more live longer.
  • Increase your stride and pace when you walk. People who walk more briskly also live longer. It changes the simple act of walking into a more vigorous exercise and boosts the amount you get throughout the day.
  • Be thankful. While you may not have as much as others, the act of gratitude for what you do have is a habit that not only makes life more worthwhile, it lengthens it. Take a minute every day to appreciate what you have.

Start Bike Riding This Year

Start Bike Riding This Year

If walking isn’t fast enough for you or completely boring, consider an alternative and start bike riding. There’s a lot of reasons to ride a bike. First, it’s great transportation. You can get quite a distance on a bike without the same amount of effort it would take running and it’s also far faster. It may even be faster than taking a car if there’s a traffic jam you can weave through and won’t have you sitting waiting for a bus, just to end up blocks from your destination.

Riding a bike is good for your health.

Bike riding is low impact, so it’s good for people with conditions like osteoarthritis, since it doesn’t put stress on the joints. There are fewer injuries than found with running or other high impact sports. Cycling can get your elimination system moving and help prevent colon cancer. It also is shown to reduce breast cancer. Cycling is also helpful in preventing heart disease and diabetes.

You’ll burn calories and fat when you cycle.

Not only will you burn loads of calories, you’ll also build muscle. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you’ll burn 24/7. That’s because muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue does. While you still have to eat healthy, if you’re burning extra calories riding, you’ll lose weight. It all depends on the intensity and how fast you ride and your weight. Cycling can burn as few as 400 calories and hour to as many as 1000. Just think, if you hopped on your bike to go to the store twice a week, instead of taking a car, in less than a month you could burn off one extra pound of weight.

Save more than just the environment when you ride a bike.

You’ll not only get exercise when you ride a bike, you’ll save money, too. There’s no cost for fuel! In fact, if you live close enough to work, you might use your bike as primary transportation, saving insurance cost, fuel, car payments and maintenance. That can mean thousands of dollars yearly. Use Uber, a bus, taxi or rent a car for those rare times you need a vehicle. Don’t sell your car right away! Start with a little at a time until you feel strong enough for most daily journeys.

  • Be aware that you still need some weight bearing exercise to help fight osteoporosis.
  • One study showed that people who rode a bike inhaled less pollution than those riding in a car or walking. It came from results from an air pollution device attached to walkers, bikers and car drivers in the same area.
  • You’ll sleep better at night. Like most types of exercise, biking provides a good night’s sleep. The sounder your sleep, the healthier your body.
  • Biking can improve brain health. One study showed that circulation to the brain increased by 28 percent. Even after that the blood continued to stay increased by as much as 40% after biking was over.

Change Your Attitude Toward Fitness

Change Your Attitude Toward Fitness

If you’re trying to get fit in Irvine, CA or anywhere else, one of the biggest hurdles you face is your attitude toward fitness. Your attitude can make a huge difference. On those days when you feel like going directly home, rather than going to the gym first, it’s your mind, not your body that rules. If you’re focused on getting fit and have a determined attitude, you’ll go. If not, not only will you go home rather than working out that night, but ultimately skip many nights until you no longer have a fitness program, just another empty promise to yourself.

You need a reason to stick with fitness.

There are any number of reasons that you may have started a workout program. You may have started because you simply want to feel better or you’re tired of carrying around the extra weight. You may have started because your doctor gave you some bad news and exercise is one of the options that help. No matter what your reason, it should be important to you, not because a spouse or friend suggested you should. When the reason is important to you, the chances of success are bigger.

Expect it to be hard.

Don’t go in thinking that it will be a walk in the park. However, there’s also a downside in expecting it to be hard. That’s when you expect it to be TOO hard for you to do. You have to know its tough but that you’re capable of achieving anything when it comes to being your best self. That’s especially true if you’re working with a personal trainer. The trainer identifies your level of fitness before creating a program. It’s created specifically to work you toward your maximum potential safely. If the trainer created it, you can do it.

Learn to appreciate every movement.

Each time you do any exercise or any movement at all for that matter, you’re working different muscles. Feel each muscle as it does its job. Appreciate how amazing your body is and enjoy the fact that you’re getting fitter every time you do it. One of my older clients literally giggles when she works out. She had such a problem doing some of the movements at first, that now, after weeks of working, she loves the fact her body is responding.

  • Assess why you don’t like your workout. If it’s because you’re bored, either find something that interests you or work with a trainer. Trainers continuously change the workout to avoid both boredom and plateauing.
  • Track the number of reps you can do, the weight you can lift or how long you can do each movement. It helps you appreciate how much you’re achieving.
  • Keep your eye on the brass ring. Keep your goal constantly in front of you to help it stay as top priority. That’s one reason having a goal that is important helps you stay on course.
  • Every day you go to the gym, appreciate each movement. Be glad that you’re doing what it takes to ensure you’ll be able to continue those movements even as you age.

What Is Your Motivation To Be Healthy

What Is Your Motivation To Be Healthy

Whether it’s a busy life or just plain lack of desire, it’s not always easy to make it to the gym or stick with a healthy eating program. You need to find out what your motivation to be healthy is and keep that in mind when you find your day out of control or simply are out of sorts or tired. Motivation can stem from anywhere. It may be to have the energy to accomplish all your goals or be healthy and enjoy every minute with your child or grandchild.

Why would you want to stay healthy?

That’s a question that you need to ask yourself before you start on your road to fitness. Weight loss may be your first thought, but why lose weight. Maybe it’s to look more attractive, but that’s not all. Feeling better is often a huge motivation. When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you look good. They’re intertwined. Focus on how you’ll feel. Focus on the energy you’ll have, especially when it’s time to go to the gym. It’s amazing that when you workout regularly, you actually have more energy than ever.

Knowing your motivation isn’t enough. You have to act on it.

Once you know your motivation, you need to make a goal. While your doctor may have told you to lose 30 pounds, you won’t be able to do it all at once. Instead, break that big goal down to smaller easier to manage goals with a time frame to achieve that goal and a way to do it. It has to be realistic. The thirty pounds could be broken down to losing two pounds a week by exercising and eating healthy. Be specific, set a time to go to the gym and lay out plans to create weekly menus for healthy eating, with a shopping list.

Even with the best motivation possible, it’s not always easy to stay on track.

Sometimes it helps to have a workout buddy to keep you on track and focused. If you have a health condition that you’re trying to overcome, make sure your buddy knows about it. Your friend can help you eat healthier, too. Enlist the help of your family, too. Whether it’s losing weight or struggling with health condition, getting help from your family or a good friend is important. Sometimes, you need to be held accountable and whether it’s a workout buddy or a family member, it can help.

  • If you can, make your week’s worth of food on the weekend, so if you’re on a time restraint during the week they’re ready to heat and eat.
  • Consistency is key. Even if you have to take smaller steps, do them consistently until they’re habit. Once you have that step as a habit move on to the next one to get healthier.
  • Getting healthy isn’t an all or nothing proposition. If you eat too much unhealthy food one day, it’s not the end of the world. Your mission is too important. Go right back to it the next day.
  • No matter what your motivation to get healthier, you need to include more than just exercise and healthy eating. You also need adequate sleep, thankfulness, laughter and hydration, just to name a few.

Stay Healthy This Winter

Stay Healthy This Winter

Sure winter isn’t exactly beach time, but you don’t have to stay indoors. Maybe the sun is shining less, which can cause you to feel more like staying in bed, but when you get up and get going, you’ll feel better. If you follow a few bits of advice, you can stay healthy this winter. It’s good to put our weather in perspective. In Minnesota, the weather we’re having in Irvine would seem quite balmy. We don’t have mountains of snow like they do in the Northeast or near the Great Lakes, so getting out and traveling is far easier here. One key to staying healthy is to continue to stay active and most of all, have fun.

Get outside to stay active and soak up some vitamin D.

It may be overcast and cloudy, maybe even a bit damp, but getting outside and walking might be the best thing for you. Walk to lunch to get your circulation moving. While the Holiday Ice Rink is closed, there are lots of other things to do, like the many festivals. Even better, fire pits at the beach and cuddle up to your sweetie on Valentine’s Day. Walking in the sand can be great exercise. Get out and see botanical gardens, the walk in the sun will do you good. Consider taking a ride in a hot air balloon to keep your heart pumping. Don’t skip a session at the gym just because you feel depressed or out of sorts.

Eat healthier to stay healthier.

Eating healthy is the key to staying healthy in the winter. Load your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables and make healthy eating more than a goal. Make it an adventure. You’ll boost your mood by eating foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, those high in B-12, folic acid and vitamin D. Check out fresh berries for help dealing with stress and most of all, cut out sugar. Make your winter adventure with food more enjoyable going to the Certified Farmers Market every Sunday at the Orange County Great Park. They even have a food lab and if you’re interested in growing your own produce, Master Gardeners that offer tips.

Get plenty of sleep, but don’t overdo it.

Most people tend to burn the candle at both ends, unless of course, it’s winter. Those chillier, shorter, rainy days can make you want to take to the bed. Getting the right amount of sleep can be tricky if you’re prone to that. Remember, more than 9 hours might indicate something is wrong or you’re suffering from depression or a physical ailment. See your doctor. You need at least seven to nine hours. Adequate sleep allows your body to repair itself and plays a role in blood vessel and heart repair. That’s why a lack of it is linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, stroke and diabetes.

  • Drink plenty of water. You may not feel like drinking more water in the winter, but you still need it. Get an average of eight 8-ounce glasses a day.
  • Steer clear of those sugary treats even more in the winter. While you might want them more, stick to naturally sweet fruits instead.
  • Smile more. Even if you’re only acting, a smile makes you feel better. Laugh out loud whenever you can, it’s good for your health.
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially if you’re in a crowd. That may sound so simple, but washing your hands can help prevent the spread of flu, colds and other types of illnesses caused by germs.