Updated: May 9, 2019
Guest Post by Jennifer McGregor
Most of us want to get healthy. That’s completely understandable, especially now that recent studies have shown 1 in 3 people are overweight, one of many factors leading to a rise in cardiovascular deaths. Although we all have certain genetic traits that increase our chances of developing certain health conditions, that doesn’t mean we have to accept that fate. Instead, by implementing some simple lifestyle adjustments, you can significantly improve your overall health and wellness.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, tone up, or reduce your risk of developing certain diseases, here are some total body health tips you can easily incorporate into your everyday life:
Diet and Nutrition There’s a reason why fitness experts say abs are made in the kitchen. The key to health and fitness starts with your eating habits. The food you eat becomes your body’s fuel, so it’s essential to eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes enough protein and essential nutrients. To kickstart your health, consider speaking with a dietician or trained nutritionist for a personalized recommendation.
Not all diets are created equal. Some diet trends do more harm than good. Unfortunately, in today’s media-driven world, many people find themselves falling for diet fads. According to Medicare, fad diets that focus on weight loss rather than nutrition can negatively impact your health by making physical activity difficult.
Instead of buying into the fads, make sure you’re eating for optimal health, not just weight loss. Get enough protein to power through each day, and choose a diet you can commit to in the long term for lasting results. As always, conduct thorough research, and speak to your doctor before changing your diet or lifestyle. That way, you’ll be set up for success with your personalized diet plan.
Fitness and Exercise
If you want to work more physical activity into your health routine but you dread hitting the gym, here’s a more proven approach. You can start small by adding 10-15 minutes of exercise into your daily routine. After a few weeks, incrementally increase the amount of time spent exercising. To avoid burnout and injury, add some days off to your schedule. Over time, work your way up to exercising 30-45 minutes per day, three to five days per week.
Mental and Emotional Health
We often focus on the physical aspects of our healthcare and forget the rest. While diet and exercise are important to physical health, our mental and emotional needs are equally important. Stress, anxiety, and depression aren’t good for our health. According to Harvard Medical School, stress and anxiety can cause physical illnesses like IBS, asthma, and heart disease.
To reduce anxiety and boost your health, start with relaxation techniques, like a few minutes of guided meditation or yoga each day. These activities can increase a sense of peace and calm in your life and in your body. You can even find smartphone apps to help you focus your mind through deep breathing exercises.
Here’s one final tip: if a health goal feels lofty or unreachable, try breaking it down into a smaller, bite-sized chunk. If you’re trying to lose weight, for example, you can designate each Sunday as your “meal prep” day, when you cook and freeze healthy meals to last you the rest of the week. You’ll be less tempted to visit the vending machine throughout your workweek if you already have a packed lunch and healthy snacks to curb your cravings. Best of all, as you cross each miniature goal off your list, you’ll feel motivated to keep going. Before you know it, you’ll be looking back in awe of how far you’ve come.
Jennifer McGregor co-created Public Health Library (http://publichealthlibrary.org/) to write about health and wellness topics and to create a forum for sharing reputable health and medical information.
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