EATING HEALTHY AND EXERCISE
Is it possible to have healthy eating habits and a good exercise plan? Do exercise and eating healthy go hand in hand?
Regular exercise and the consumption of a healthy diet can lead to a host of benefits, including increased energy, happiness, health and even a long life. Exercise and diet are pivotal to determining a person’s overall health, and making them both part of your lifestyle can make a dramatic difference in how you look and feel.
Build one or more favorite types of exercise into your life, gradually. Aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise every day.
Walking is great, because it’s easy to fit into your day. Leave the car behind sometimes or even get off the bus a stop or two early. Walk to the store, don’t drive – but make it brisk enough so that you feel slightly breathless – ambling along won’t cut it. If you can cover 2 miles a day, you’ll be doing great. Or get a pedometer and keep it strapped on. You’re aiming for 10,000 steps, which should include a burst of 4-6000 fast steps.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a healthy diet should consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats. On top of eating well, you must also minimize your consumption of cholesterol, sodium, sugar and saturated fat. In conjunction with regular exercise, a healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers.
If you’re overweight, eating healthfully and exercising regularly can help you lose weight safely and keep it off. If you don’t have a weight problem, physical activity and a healthy diet can help you maintain your current weight and reduce your risk of gaining weight as you age. Healthy foods are generally lower in calories and higher in nutrients than other foods, and regular physical activity burns off extra calories to keep a healthy physique.
Try eating oat-based cereal for breakfast, before you walk, to give you slow-burning energy. Not sure how much weight you need to lose? Use the BMI Calculator to find out.
If jogging or running appeals to you, get into training gradually. You can harm yourself, if you go from no exercise to big, strenuous exercise, without working up to it.
Check out your local gym. Is there a running or jogging group you could join? Or do you have a friend or family member who’d like to share your quest for fitness? Exercise is much more fun with company. You’ll also need the right kit – get some proper trainers to support your ankles and protect your feet from impact, and some comfortable running clothes.
Drink water both before and after you exercise. Take a bottle of water with you on your run and drink at least 200 ml/1 cup water for every 15 minutes of exercise. Drink before you feel thirsty – don’t wait for a raging thirst before you have more water. Drinking water can help with weight loss.
Another really pleasurable form of exercise provided you have somewhere safe to cycle. Pedaling in city traffic isn’t such fun, but if there’s a nearby park or cycle way, get on your bike and explore.
Have a meal of pasta or rice before a bike ride, but don’t eat in the hour before you go out. Choose food that’s low in fat, and avoid very sugary foods. If you’re going on a long or very strenuous ride, take food with you to top up your energy – try bananas or other fresh fruit, or energy bars.
Going to the gym is a great way to exercise, but if you’ve tried it, you’ll know how hard it is to carry on going. To make it easier to stick with your gym routine: (1) Get some inspiration from the book Melt the Fat – I have found that it’s packed with helpful tips as well as exercise routines and healthy eating plans; (2) Go with a friend, and compete against each other on the equipment. Set goals, and keep a record of your progress. If possible, ask a personal trainer at the gym to set the goals with you, then you can report back every 3-4 weeks to measure your improvement; (3) find a good time to visit the gym and write it into your diary. Make it as much part of your routine as going to work or school; (4) Say ‘when I go to the gym, I’ll.’, not ‘If I go to the gym’. Success lies in your attitude! (5) Alter your gym routine to make it more interesting. One week use the bikes, next week the treadmills. Add some weights and stretches to your workout (this I have found to be particularly helpful); and (6) Find a class or group that you can join to add variety to your gym routine. Try aerobics, dance, circuit training, jogging, and badminton. These activities are as useful as ab crunches if you’re wondering how to lose the belly fat.
Have a piece of fresh fruit or a wholegrain snack before you go to the gym if you wish. It’s very easy to succumb to junk-bingeing after a workout, so be prepared. A banana and a glass of skimmed milk is a good quick snack if you can’t eat a meal straight away.
Try cooking double portions of healthy meals, so that you have a ready-made dish you can heat and eat as soon as you get back. Include complex carbs – that is wholegrain pasta, brown rice, potatoes or whole-meal bread, and some protein.
Add simple exercises into your daily routine at home. If you have a flight of stairs, you can use some stair exercises to improve your strength, power, balance and co-ordination. How? Simply walk up the stairs without holding the handrail. Walk back down, and repeat 10 times. If you think it’s too easy, try walking faster, until eventually you can run up those stairs. Walk back down to make sure you don’t trip. Make stair exercise even more effective by walking up two steps at a time. When that feels too easy, strap on some wrist and ankle weights to make it more intense.
If you’re combining eating healthy and exercise to lose weight, look at ways of making your favorite recipes healthier, so that you can still enjoy the foods you like best.
I have learned that a combination of working out and eating healthy foods can boost your energy level and help you feel more alert and aware, both mentally and physically. Healthy foods give your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs to function at its best.
Exercise stimulates brain chemicals that help produce feelings of happiness, contentment and relaxation, so you’ll feel better if you work out on a regular basis. Physical activity can also boost your physical appearance as you burn fat and build muscle, which is a significant factor in boosting self-confidence and inspiring a satisfied life.
Exercise and healthy eating can help make your life more diverse and interesting. Seek creative ways to be physically active in your daily life and don’t to stick with the same exercise routine all the time. Exercise with co-workers, go dancing with friends, play on a sports team and spend active time with your kids and family members. Following a healthy diet can also bring up opportunities for home cooking, culinary classes, farmers’ market visits and more fun activities.