Ten Steps to a Healthy Lifestyle
You can become lean, more energetic, and happier by making a few easy decisions in your life. Below are ten tips to get you started.
1. Lift weights. An effective strength-training regimen adds lean muscle mass to your body. Each pound of lean muscle mass burns, on the average, 13 calories a day; that means, if you gain an additional ten pounds of lean muscle, you will burn an extra 130 calories per day.
2. Do cardiovascular exercise. Perform 20-minutes of interval-based cardio exercise three times a week. Interval training means varying the intensity of exercise throughout your workout. Pick the cardiovascular exercise of your choice; running, biking, and elliptical are good options. Alternate the intensity of exercise throughout your workout, 2-minutes of fast, high-intensity exercise followed by 2-minutes of low-intensity exercise.
3. Drink plenty of water. You lose, on the average, 64 ounces of water a day in sweat and urine. It seems counter-intuitive, but the less water you drink, the more water you retain. The more water you retain, the more bloated you will look and feel. Drink at least a half-gallon of water every day. Keep a bottle of water at your desk while you work. Sip as you go.
4. Quit sugar soda. Americans consume one-quarter of their daily caloric need from sugar sodas. Soda has no nutritional value. Not only that, it can be harmful. Ramachandran Vasan, MD, professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine recently stated that, "Even one soda per day increases your risk of developing metabolic syndrome by about 50%." Metabolic syndrome is a combination of medical disorders--elevated waist circumference, higher levels of fats in the blood, and a drastic reduction in good cholesterol -- that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Rather than drinking sugar soda, opt for no-calorie diet drinks, or drop soda altogether and replace it will water.
5. Reduce simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are found in foods like white bread, candy, cake and ice cream. They are absorbed into the blood stream directly through the intestinal lining and are rapidly converted into glucose at the rate of 30 calories per minute. The body responds by producing high levels of insulin to regulate the blood sugar. This can cause your body to experience energy spikes, followed by energy lows. Complex carbohydrates, found in whole grain breads, oats, rice, and vegetables, are converted to blood glucose at only two calories per minute. Sticking to complex carbs drops the level of calories converted to fat and regulates your energy levels.
6. Eat breakfast. Researchers at the National Weight Control Registry studied 3,000 people who successfully lost weight and kept it off. Most of these people stated that they eat breakfast every day as a weight control strategy. Breakfast starts your body's metabolic system early in the day and fights hunger well into the afternoon. Eating breakfast also prevents many adverse effects that come from fasting, such as irritability and fatigue.
7. Set and achieve goals. Never live a day without a written goal. A good goal should have three characteristics; it should be realistic, it should have a deadline, and it should be written down. To lose one pound a week for twelve weeks is an excellent goal as long as it is written down.
8. Reward yourself. Life is full of triumphs; some are substantial; others are small; none are insignificant. Reward yourself for each accomplishment. Take yourself out to lunch or buy something nice. Think about how your accomplishments affect your life for the better. This will cause you to focus on the things you do to better your life and the lives of your friends.
9. Spend time with friends and family. By spending at least a few minutes a day to strengthen relationships, perhaps with a telephone call to an old friend or a birthday card to a family member, you give a little bit of yourself away. And the more you give, the more you receive in love, support and acknowledgement for all the wonderful things you are.
10. Meditate. A recent study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison sent 25 corporate Americans to an 8-week meditation coarse. After completing the course, subjects showed, on the average, a 5% increase in antibodies -- some even showed a 25% increase. Researchers were surprised to see a 50% increase in electrical activity in parts of the brain associated with positive emotions and anxiety. The speed of life moves at a fever pitch. It's essential to find a place where you can set everything aside and reboot your mind so you can stay effective.