Exercise & Diet For Fitness

Exercises & Diet For Fitness Helping You To Stay Looking & Feeling Young

Sticking to a new health and fitness routine can be tough. Consider these tips on how to make new habits stick:

1. Know your motivation. Find your strongest motivation. When you have a powerful incentive, and remember what choice you’re making whenever you face temptation, it’s easier to be strong when you’d otherwise cave in.

2. Take it in gradual steps. You don’t have to overhaul your diet overnight. Change your diet in small steps — just drink water instead of soda, for example, or eat fruit instead of candy or chips. Once you adjust to this small change, make another a week or two later, and so on, until you’re eating much healthier a few months later. This gradual process makes it easier to stick with a healthy diet.

3. Choose foods you love. Don’t eat foods just because they’re good for you — eat them because they’re healthy AND you love them. For one person, that might mean berries and almonds, oatmeal, salads, yogurt, cottage cheese and tofu, but for someone else, it might be salmon, lean, grass-fed beef, asparagus and walnuts. Find the healthy foods you love, and you’ll stick with healthier eating for much longer.

4. Pack food to go. Always bring healthy food with you, wherever you go. Sometimes this just means packing snacks if you’re going on a few errands. Other times, you might want to pack more substantial meals and pack them with ice to keep them fresh. Packing your lunch for work is a great idea, along with a bunch of snacks to keep you satisfied all day without eating the doughnuts someone brought in.

5. Eat before you go. If you’re going out to a restaurant or party, eat a small healthy meal first. That way, you won’t be starving and won’t need to eat a huge amount of unhealthy food. You can get by on a salad or some fish and steamed veggies, or an appetizer or the like, and still enjoy the company of your friends and loved ones.

6. Don’t get hungry. When your body goes too many hours without food, you will often binge when you do eat, because your blood-sugar levels are so low that you crave an instant sugar fix (or refined flour). When you don’t fuel your body every three or four hours, you are more likely to indulge in doughnuts or cake. So eat snacks throughout the day, or small meals, so that you never get super hungry.

7. Choose healthy when you eat out. If you go to a restaurant or party, look for the healthy choices. Most of us love a good salad bar, but you could also choose a lean cut of meat, grilled not fried, with steamed veggies or some black bean or lentil soup.

8. Indulge in little bits. Two or three bites of cake or ice cream, for example, won’t kill your diet but will satisfy your sweet craving. Eating a whole tub of ice cream? Not recommended.

9. Eat small portions when you go out. If you go to a party with lots of food, stick with small portions. Just eat until you’re slightly full, then have some water and talk with people without eating for awhile. When you get hungry, have another small portion, and so on. Try for the amount of food that will fit in your hand. If you space out several small portions through a couple hours, you’ll feel satisfied but never take in too much.

10. Have tasty substitutes for your weaknesses. Whatever your weaknesses, find a substitute that will satisfy your cravings when they inevitably come up. Love banana walnut bread? Try a handful of walnuts instead. Toast them up to keep it interesting.

11. Clear your home of unhealthy snacks and foods. If you have junk food in your home, you’re more likely to give in at some point and eat it. If you clear your home of these foods, you won’t have that temptation. Clear your fridge and cabinets of candy, baked sweets, fried foods, foods made with refined flour, fatty and greasy things like chips and fries, and so on.

12. Bring your own healthy food to a party. If it’s allowed, bring a dish to a party you’ll attend, and make it a healthy one.

13. Don’t stuff yourself. Make this your ultimate rule. Even if you break down and choose fatty, fried food at a restaurant or party, make sure you limit the damage: Don’t eat until you’re stuffed.

14. But don’t starve yourself. This might sound like the “don’t get hungry” tip above, but it’s bigger than that — don’t eat so little that you’re constantly starving. You only want to cut a moderate amount of calories from your diet. If you starve yourself, you’ll lose muscle and become unhealthy, and you’ll end up falling off the diet eventually.

15. If you indulge, burn it off. Sometimes, the strategies above will fail. That’s OK. Don’t beat yourself up about it — just get back on the wagon, back on track. Look at it as a small bump in the road. And better yet, get outside and burn off the calories by running, walking briskly, playing sports, whatever it takes. Then get back to eating healthy again.

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And for your fitness

Slowing does not equal ‘Stop’

As we age, wear and tear happen faster than our systems can repair themselves. Muscle strength declines every day, and women start losing muscle mass earlier than men. The range of motion decreases, too, along with the elasticity of everything that works in concert with our muscles – joints, ligaments, tendons.

Moderate exercise can slow that progression and help lessen the loss of muscle tissue. That, in turn, can help ease arthritic pain, help with balance and improve respiratory health. When we exercise, we typically find ourselves hungry afterward, looking for healthful refueling options.

Sports and exercise help you reclaim a bit of your youth and staying active with your friends cultivate rewarding relationships while you embrace your vitality.

It’s up to us

Sports and exercise do much more than work your muscles. Research shows, that exercise releases endorphins and discourages depression. Enjoying an activity in a social setting – Hey!, maybe your golf swing or your backhand is good for a laugh, at least among your buddies – sure beats a case of the channel-surfing blues.

Every human aging at a different rate, but we can write our own story about how rapidly or more gracefully we age. And why not? A sedentary lifestyle aids in the decline of our internal systems. Get up, get your Reserve and reverse that! Exercise is the best way to erase the potential couch potato chapter in your life.

When it comes to slimming down, there is one word that gets thrown around more than a beach ball at graduation: Metabolism. As important as diet and exercise are, when you eat and workout can have a drastic effect on how well you burn calories. So, if you want to shave off a few extra pounds, here are a few simple ways to keep your metabolism running in high gear.

Physical activity or exercise can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Physical activity such as tennis, badminton, squash and floor/mat exercise can have immediate and long-term health benefits. Most importantly, regular activity can improve your quality of life. A minimum of 30 minutes a day can allow you to enjoy these benefits.

Benefits of regular physical activity

If you are regularly physically active, you could:
*reduce your risk of a heart attack
*manage your weight better
*have a lower blood cholesterol level
*lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers
*have lower blood pressure
*have stronger bones, muscles and joints and lower risk of developing       osteoporosis
*lower your risk of falls
*recover better from periods of hospitalisation or bed rest
*feel better – with more energy, a better mood, feel more relaxed and sleep   better.

A healthier state of mind

A number of studies have found that exercise helps depression. There are many views as to how exercise helps people with depression:

*Exercise may block negative thoughts or distract you from daily worries.
*Exercising with others provides an opportunity for increased social contact.
*Increased fitness may lift your mood and improve your sleep patterns.
*Exercise may also change levels of chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin,   endorphins and stress hormones.

Aim for at least 30 minutes a day

To maintain health and reduce your risk of health problems, health professionals and researchers recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.

Physical activity guidelines

*Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
*Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
*Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
*Do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week.

Ways to increase physical activity

Increases in daily activity can come from small changes made throughout your day, such as walking or cycling instead of using the car, getting off a tram, train or bus a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way, or walking the children to school. Even doing a couple of minutes of planking 2 or 3 times a day can help strengthen and tone your body if you’re limited for time. Once or twice a week badminton, tennis, squash, swimming, football, running, (running up and down the stairs even), rowing, martial arts, hiking, cross country ski-ing, and many types of dancing (which are all ‘pure’ aerobics) activities for cardio workouts.

Photo by: Nicole-De-Khors

Yoga is a very popular activity these days as it can strengthen your body’s core and keep you well toned. Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India and when practiced regularly you would experience the benefits of:

*Increased flexibility
*Increased muscle strength and tone
*Improved respiration, energy and vitality
*Maintaining a balanced metabolism.
*Weight reduction
*Cardio and circulatory health
*Improved athletic performance
*Protection from injury
*Builds muscle strength
*Perfects your posture
*Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown
*Protects your spine
*Betters your bone health
*Increases your blood flow
*Drains your lymphs and boosts immunity

If you think you’d like to give Yoga a try, look for a local one in your area. Sometimes they give a free trial session for those who are not sure if they’d like to take it up as regular sport.

Photo by: Matthew Henry

See your doctor first

It is a good idea to see your doctor before starting your physical activity program if:
*you are aged over 45 years
*physical activity causes pain in your chest
*you often faint or have spells of severe dizziness
*moderate physical activity makes you very breathless
*you are at a higher risk of heart disease
*you think you might have heart disease or you have heart problems
*you are pregnant.

Pre-exercise screening is used to identify people with medical conditions that may put them at a higher risk of experiencing a health problem during physical activity. It is a filter or ‘safety net’ to help decide if the potential benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for you.

Photo by: Sarah Pflug

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Coming soon……….
In my next ‘Exercise’ post I will post a video and article of my own personal daily exercise routine.