Tag Archives: eat healthy

15 exercise and fitness dos and don’ts

Fitness and exercise stretchingI started an exercise routine about a year ago. At first I was very enthusiastic and committed to working out several times a week.

Now, I have to force myself to fit in exercise. I am really not seeing any results so it’s difficult to stay motivated. I know that regular exercise is vital to good health. It’s just hard to be consistent in my workouts.

I recently read an article explaining that most people make fitness mistakes. This means your exercise routine may be unsafe. It can also mean you aren’t getting the most out of your workout. These mistakes could even cause you to fall short of your fitness goals.

Here are 8 exercise and fitness DOS to help you reach your goals:

Do write down your fitness goals
If you put it in writing, you are more likely to stick with it. Post your goals on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. When you feel less than inspired to workout, it can give you the motivation you need to keep at it.

Do warm up
Many of us bypass warming up and jump right into our routine with cold muscles and stiff joints. You are more likely to cause an injury than if you warm up your body first. Start out with stretching exercises or walking before you begin more rigorous exercise.

Do stretch more
In addition to reducing sore muscles and strains, stretching can improve your range of motion and flexibility. To get the most from stretching, add it to the end of your workout when your muscles are still warm. It also helps you cool down slowly. If you stop exercising abruptly, you can feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous.

Do drink water
It’s important to rehydrate your body when you exercise. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout routine. This will replace lost electrolytes and keep your body in balance.

Do find the middle ground
Many people work out too intensely while others don’t work out intensely enough. You may try to lift too much weight or start a new routine before you’re ready. On the other hand, you may spend too much time socializing when you’re at the gym or exercising with friends instead of getting the most out of your workout. You can work with a fitness instructor or trainer to help you determine the routine and intensity that’s right for you.

Do use good form
At the very least, if you are exercising incorrectly you won’t achieve the full results and may become discouraged. At the worst, you could cause an injury or do harm to yourself. You can work with a professional trainer to ensure that you are achieving the best results.

Do vary your routine
It’s important to mix up your routine. First, it helps to prevent repetitive injuries and by changing your workouts you will see better results. Second, it keeps you from getting bored and can give you the motivation to stick with it.

Do eat healthy
What you eat influences the effectiveness of your fitness regimen. Good nutrition combined with regular exercise will help you reach your goals. In addition, when you eat healthy, you have more energy to workout and stay active.

Here are 7 exercise and fitness DON’TS to help you get more out of your workout:

Don’t skip breakfast
Be sure to eat breakfast every day. Eating breakfast helps rev up your metabolism and gives you the energy you need throughout the day.

Don’t get stuck in a rut
You may find yourself on the treadmill, doing the same routine for the same amount of time. It’s easier to do the same thing over and over than to mix things up and vary your routine. Yet, it’s important to vary the type of exercises you do and change the time and intensity so that you challenge your muscles and workout your entire body.

Don’t skimp on sleep
Your body needs sleep so that you can function at your best levels. Getting enough sleep can also give you the energy and focus you need to make the most out of your exercise routine.

Don’t set unrealistic goals
If you set goals that are too difficult or not realistic, you will only be disappointed. A healthy weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week, so it would be unrealistic to lose 50 pounds in a few months. You may find more success setting other types of goals. For instance, you could work toward walking three miles a day or running a mile without stopping. When you accomplish a goal, you can set new goals.

Don’t over do it
By doing too much too quickly, you can do more harm than good. If you want to challenge yourself, work your way up gradually and always listen to your body. Working out until you’re tingly or tired is fine, but you don’t want to push it to the point of muscle exhaustion.

Don’t compare yourself to others
You are a unique individual. What works for some people may not work for others. You shouldn’t measure your results against someone else’s successes or failures. You can only do what is best for you.

Don’t give up!
It is very difficult to turn exercising into a habit. And it’s very easy to become discouraged with your workout routine. The key is to stick with it. If you fall out of your exercise routine, make yourself get back in it. Get encouragement from a friend. Bribe yourself with a reward if you meet certain goals. The important thing is to just stick with it!

4 steps to losing belly fat

Key ways to lose belly fatIt’s that time of year again. When the weather gets warmer, and the clothes get skimpier. After hibernating for the winter, I feel like I may have put on a few extra pounds. And, I think it settled around my midsection.

Belly fat is the latest threat to your health. Why? Because belly fat, or visceral fat, lies deep in your abdomen, surrounds your organs and increases the production of toxic hormones.

The good news is you can lose the belly fat. However, there is no magic diet or quick cure for belly fat. It takes good, old-fashioned hard work to beat the tummy bulge.

Here are 4 key steps to controlling and losing belly fat:

1. Move that body

One of the main keys to losing belly fat is to exercise often. You may need to exercise every day of the week. At the very least, you need to raise your heart rate for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week, and preferably 5 times a week. While vigorous exercise is the most effective, it may just be a matter of burning more calories. So, whether you run, walk or skip, you just need to put in the work and get moving.

You want to get your heart rate up and burn calories with aerobic or cardio exercise. You can also mix in strength training, which can help you burn fat for hours after you exercise.

Everything counts. Walk instead of driving whenever you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Rake leaves or work in the garden. Play outside with your kids. Just find more ways to work exercise into your routine. Here are some tips to help you get motivated to exercise.

2. Eat a healthier diet

When you eat healthier, belly fat is one of the first places you will lose weight. More and more research is showing that a plant-based diet high in fiber – including fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans – can help you lose weight. This type of diet also has many other benefits, such as reducing your risk of cancer. You can also include fish, low-fat dairy and whole grains in your healthy eating habits.

Start your day with a high-protein breakfast. Eating in the morning jump starts your metabolism for the day. Good breakfast foods include:

  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Fresh fruit
  • Skim milk and cheese
  • Whole-grain toast

Eat several smaller meals throughout the day and have healthy snacks. Don’t skip meals. Your body goes into starvation mode and stops burning calories it you don’t eat at regular intervals.

Healthy foods and snacks to help you burn belly fat include:

  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Green tea
  • Walnuts, almonds and other nuts
  • Beans and legumes
  • Green vegetables
  • Lean meats and fish
  • Peanut butter
  • Whole grains

3. Get the right amount of sleep

Lack of sleep increases the likelihood you will gain weight. When you’re tired, you release more hormones that stimulate your appetite. By getting enough sleep – 7 to 8 hours per night – you can reduce your chances of gaining visceral fat. And, getting enough sleep is just good for your overall health.

4. Manage your stress

When you’re stressed, you may not make the best food choices. It’s easy to reach for comfort foods to help you feel better. In addition, when you’re anxious and stressed, your body goes into crisis mode. Your body will release stress hormones that actually contribute to weight gain. You can use relaxation techniques to control your stress levels and help manage your weight.

You can lose the belly fat and get ready for summer. It may take a little work, but it will be worth it! And you’ll be improving your overall health in so many ways.

7 tips for healthier eating habits

healthier eating habitsAny time I hear someone say, “I’m on a diet,” I want to cringe. To me, “dieting” is almost a dirty word.

Dieting generally has a negative connotation because it conjures up ideas of fad diets and unhealthy weight loss. Going on a diet means you are temporarily depriving yourself of some type of food. A diet is not something you sustain over time.

When you go on fad diets, you are typically leaving out necessary nutrients. Dieting can make your body think it’s starving, and it actually starts to store fat. You can also become food obsessed – worrying about counting calories, carbs, proteins or fat. When taken to the extreme, dieting may be doing harm to your body and putting you at risk for illness.

The best diet is not a “diet” at all but a way of life that lets you eat the nutritious foods your body needs to thrive. By creating healthy eating habits, you can lose weight, tone up, feel better and have more energy. It may mean changing your mindset from dieting to eating a healthier, more balanced variety of foods.

Here are some tips to help you develop healthier eating habits and stick to it:

Tip 1: Start slowly
It can be overwhelming to think about overhauling all your eating habits at once. Trying to change everything at once can be hard and often leads to cheating or simply giving up. Start by adding a salad once a day. Or, make it a point to cut down on fried foods.

Tip 2: Think smaller
A key foundation for eating healthier is portion control. Over the past few decades, serving sizes have grown to huge amounts. One way to reduce your portions is to switch out your dinner plates for smaller plates. Think about moderation as you fill your plate. It can be especially hard to eat a normal-sized portion in a restaurant. Choose a starter or an appetizer instead of an entrée. Or, split a large main dish with a friend.

Tip 3: Eat your fiber
You can eat plenty of high-fiber foods – this means fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. These are “good” carbs and are nutritious, as well as help fill you up. They are also relatively low in calories. These foods can provide important vitamins and minerals.

Tip 4: Everything in moderation
Well, mostly limit the bad things. We all know what they are – unfortunately most of them taste really good! Limit your intake of sugary foods, refined grains like white bread and salty snacks. In addition, cut down on trans fat, which comes from hydrogenated vegetable oils and many fast foods. It’s also important to cut down on animal fat. It is high in saturated fat. Cutting down on fats may even help you lower your cholesterol. Also, if you drink alcohol, it should be done in moderation.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have a cookie, slice of cake or some potato chips. It just means to eat these things in moderation.

Tip 5: Add more fruits and vegetables
Most Americans are not eating enough fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. You should be eating 5 servings or more a day. Try to add more color in your fruits and vegetables – include greens, oranges and yellows, as well as purples, blues and reds.

Tip 6: Take your time
Slow down and think of food as nourishment, rather than something you eat between meetings or grab on the go. Sit down and eat at the table. If you eat in front of the TV or computer, you aren’t thinking about how much food you are actually consuming. Eating with others leads to conversation and helps you take breaks as you eat. Also, if you eat more slowly, your body will tell you when you’re full.

Tip 7: Keep it all in balance
The best tip for healthy eating is to keep it all in balance. Eat a wide variety of foods and think about smaller portion sizes. Try to add more fruits and vegetables to your plate.

And remember to take small step and make changes to your eating habits over time. The next thing you know you’ll be eating healthier and feeling better!