Over this past weekend, some was talking to me about choices we have in life. They said that the choices we make are rather a forethought that we simply let happen. The analogy they made was that our lives resemble water, it rolls down a hill and takes the path of least resistance where it puddles up at the end. It is in that puddle where we actually stop for a mere second to think about the choice we just made. However when we actually take the time to think about our decision before we meander down the hill (like the water), the results of our choices can be dramatic.
Physical well being is a matter of concern to everyone I know, and if it is not it should be. The level of health we enjoy largely depends on the lifestyles we lead. Insufficient activity and poor eating habits can, and often do, lead to to a variety of health issues, making our lifestyle change, usually not for the better. The key to not allowing this to happen lies in us actually taking the time to make those small everyday decisions and making good healthy choices, knowing that they will indeed impact our lives down the road, if not today.
Ways of making a difference in your life and getting yourself on the track may be adding more physical activity into your life, eating foods that are good for you, and eating them more often, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Getting more physical
If you are anything like me, you barely have enough time to run to the bathroom when you need too, so squeezing physical activity into your daily routine may seem unlikely. Taking advantage of small opportunities can make a big difference.
- Park farther back in a parking lot so you have to walk further.
- Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator in the mall or at the office.
- Standing at your desk for short periods instead of sitting helps increase circulation in the lower part of your body.
- Invest in a pedometer. A pedometer measures the the number of steps you take during your day. Take a count each day of how many steps you take each day and mark it on your calendar and then try to increase that each day.
- Aerobic exercise gets your heart pumping and increases your blood oxygen level. It also will help you control your weight. Studies have shown that all you need is 30 minutes per day to provide amazing health results. Walking, biking, dancing, swimming and gardening are great choices.
- Change your thought pattern, housework/yardwork = exercise. Think about the calories you burn pushing around that vacuum cleaner or lawn mower.
Eating healthier has so many benefits that I can hardly touch on them in this short post. Eating better will make you feel healthier, fuller faster, and increase years to your life! There are so many healthy options now for those of us on the run that really is no excuse to grab that bag of chips.
Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the USA. Eating healthier can help lower your chance of being part of those statistics. For an easy guideline to a healthy diet follow the USDA’s guidelines or the American Cancer Societies Diet. They are both quite similar to one another and they focus on a balanced diet loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. These diet guidelines limit fats, sodium and high calorie foods.
While going “cold turkey” on a diet filled with healthy choices is probably not the best way to go, substitute foods that are unhealthy for better choices, but do it slowly. While we have been trained over the years of our lives on how to eat, we cannot expect to change our entire daily menu overnight. The results in health and weight loss and healthy lifestyle will come. From all my research, when we do go “cold turkey” from all those “bad” foods we eat and convert to a better diet we tend to cheat more often and eat more of the bad foods, because we fell we are forbidding ourselves from those foods. If we incorporate those healthy foods slowly, our diets will last longer and we will start feeling better and even shed those unwanted pounds.
Some helpful links and what you may find there
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
- guide for behavioral changes in lifestyle on their website.
- BMI calculator that calculates how much fat your body has on it and where you should be based on your age and height.
- Portion Distortion, how food portions have changed in 20 years.
- Guide to physical activity, what works and how much of it do you have to do.
- Educational tutorials, topics include heart and vascular, cholesterol, heart attack, high blood pressure, overweight and physical activities, and sleep disorders
- Recipe collections, find lots of heart healthy recipes including special collections for Latino cooking, homestyle African American cooking, and the DASH Eating Plan for lowering high blood pressure.
American Heart Association
- Food Certification Program, build your grocery list online as well as view lists of products screened and proven to meet the AHA’s certification criteria for being low in saturated fat and cholesterol for healthy people over age 2.
- Children’s health, information about keeping your child healthy, games and activities for kids to learn more about how their heart works, and resources for children’s exercise and nutrition.
- Shake your Salt habit, sodium recommendations to help reduce or avoid high blood pressure.
- Use seasoning instead of table salt, guide to using spices and herbs.
- Healthy Living, a collection of individual centers addressing the health of babies, children, teens, men, women and seniors, additional canters on pregnancy, stress, fitness, food and nutrition, and weight loss.
- Healthy recipe Center
- Dietary Supplements, using Vitamin and mineral supplements wisely.
- Ingredient substitution, make a switch for healthier eating
- Fast food, 6 ways to healthier eating and information on how to fit fast into a healthy diet.
American Academy of Pediatrics
- How common behaviors affect your health.
- What you can do to keep your health
Across the board, a multifaceted approach is needed in your life to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a manageable weight. Adopting all, or part, of these suggested items will improve the quality of life overall.