So how do you create a Health Revolution? You make it one change at a time.
Be patient and mindful of what your body tells you. Making one change at a time in important areas affecting your health and you will set yourself up for success. You’ll have time to fit a new habit into your life, no matter what else is going on. You’ll see the real benefits and build a foundation for making more changes successfully, too.
Some experts would advocate that overhauling your whole life with dozens of new rules to follow for what to eat, when and how to exercise, and required relaxation techniques, and for some people, this works, but in many studies it has been proven that “slow changing” people were more successful at exercising and lower their cholesterol levels more than the all-or-nothing people.
For most us, starting small is smart, practical, and most likely to help ensure that you succeed. There is also plenty of cutting-edge research on how ours brains adapt to change that suggest that slow change really does work best.
It takes time to figure out how to listen to your body when you’re trying something new. You want a new exercise routine, or anything new, to make you feel excited, not turned-off. You don’t want to feel tired and sore or confused or ready to quit. Small, it turns out, is big when It comes to changing your health habits.
Don’t think that small changes mean small health benefits. A little tweak – such as switching from white bread to whole-grain bread or ordering unsweetened iced tea instead of a sugary soda or fitting just 10 minutes of exercise into your busy day – can add up to big health bonuses.
Here are some things to consider:
A brisk walk three times a week can reduce mild, moderate, and even severe depression, Duke University researchers have found.
If you’re a TV fan who watches the small screen several hours a day, cutting out just 1 hour could reduce your risk for a serious pre-diabetic condition called metabolic syndrome by 19 percent, say tufts University researchers.
Switching to whole-grain bread, brown rice, and whole-grain breakfast cereal could lower your risk for diabetes by up to 33 percent, say German scientists.
Losing just 1 pound lightens the load on your knees by 4 pounds with every step – that translates to 4,800 fewer pounds of pressure every time you walk a mile.
Making small slow changes is a great way to dive into healthier eating also. It is best to add one new change each week. You’ll start to see and feel the difference in four weeks or less. Your digestion will improve, and you may have more energy. Things you can’t see will be improving too- such as immunity, blood fats, and blood sugar.
The good news is that is never too late to start, no matter what your age. So start today by making one little change in your eating habits, or daily activity routine and once you have been successful with that for one week, and another little change. The best way to reach the top of a stair case is step by step. You can’t successfully jump to the top of a stair case, so step by little step climb your way to your success!
Did you know that not taking vacation could lead to a higher risk for heart disease?
State University of New York researchers at Oswego surveyed 12,000 men ages 35 to 57, and they found that those who didn’t take at least one week-long vacation per year boosted their risk of dying from heart disease by 30 percent during the course of the nine-year study.
If you have been leading a high-stress lifestyle with few opportunities for relaxation, you need to stay on top of your heart health.
Vacations help because any stress reduction, even for a few days, gives your heart and blood pressure a break. In one small New Zealand study, researchers found that vacationers slept about an hour longer than they did at home and got three times more deep, rejuvenating sleep afterward than they were getting before their time off.
Even making relaxation a priority over the weekend can help. When Finnish researchers tracked the health habits of 800 women and men for 28 years, they found that those who didn’t take a break from work-related stress over the weekend were three times more likely to have a fatal heart attack as those who got plenty of rest.
So what can you do immediately to reverse your high-stress lifestyle?
Don’t work this weekend. Skip home repairs, major lawn and garden work (unless it is a hobby you really love!), and any other stressful obligation. Pretend you’re on vacation. Eat a leisurely breakfast. Go for a walk. Visit a local attraction that you like. Take in a concert. Dine out with friends. Then, plan to do the same on one day of every weekend from now on.
Plan a real vacation. Half the battle to taking a vacation is committing to a time. So get out your calendar and pick a week (or more). Commit to it at work and among your family. Then get to the task of finding some great options, based on the budget you can afford. Merely looking for a perfect week-long sojourn can be relaxing and heart healthy!
Make sure your next trip is relaxing. Even if you take vacations, you may be missing out on the health benefits if you try to do too much or agree to do activities that others like but that you simply don’t enjoy. Put activities you like on the agenda, including time for relaxation beside the pool, lake, or ocean…or get a massage, spa treatment, or take a long walk in nature.
Move! See the sights on foot. Take advantage of outdoor attractions such as sculpture gardens, nature trails, lakeside paths, or a stretch of beautiful beach and take a long walk. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins. Using your feet makes for happy vacations.
Consider rural over urban. Vacations in cities are loud, exciting, and exhausting. Vacations in the country are quiet, peaceful, and recharging. For your health, the latter is what you need most. That doesn’t mean choose a boring vacation – just one that gets you away from the hustle and bustle you face at home.
So, when is a good time to start planning your vacation? NOW! With the new year upon us many of you have a fresh new allotment of PTO or vacation time available to use at work. Plan it wisely for maximum relaxation! So take it from the Beach Boys....Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I want to take you to / Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama !
AnA lot of times when we think of exercise, we think of something we need to do to lose weight. But did you know that exercise also is very important if you want to live a longer, healthier life.
Are you currently not exercising? By not exercising you have less muscle strength and density. Lowered metabolism. Weight gain. Balance problems. Higher blood pressure. Higher levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and lower levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. More depression, stress, and memory problems. And that’s just the start of the damage caused by sedentary living.
Al over the world, people are sitting more and moving less. A good name for it is sitting disease – a sedentary lifestyle that diminishes muscle mass and ages your cardiovascular system while it weakens your immunity and leaves you vulnerable to stress, low moods, and thinking problems associated with aging. If you change just one damaging habit, it should be this one!
Studies show that people I their eighties and nineties (and this applies to people at any age) have found that adding walking and strength training to their daily routines improves strength, balance, energy levels, and more. And that’s just the beginning. Just six months of exercise can improve memory and thinking, boost self-esteem, lessen depression, ease stress, increase immunity, improve you sex life, cool off chronic inflammation, and strengthen your muscles so that you burn more calories.
Moving more makes you less tired, less stressed, and less apt to have body aches and pains. You can count on being in a better mood and having a trimmer, stronger, more energetic body. Of course, exercising results in better heart health but it also helps strengthen your immunity and sharpen your memory skills.
How to get into the habit of exercising:
Live more actively. Walk a little faster. Take the stairs, not the elevator. Park in the farthest spot at the grocery store or mall. Stand while talking on the phone. But don’t think that exercise can only be had during formal exercise sessions. Every moment of every day provides an opportunity to move in healthy, life affirming ways. You’ll find that high-energy living on it own can spark your energy and health.
Start slowly. Resolved to walk for 10 minutes a day. In a week or two, move up to 15 minutes if our feet, joints, legs and lungs are feeing good when you walk. Keep slowly increasing your time and distance until you’re walking 30 to 60 minutes every day.
Add strength-training. It builds muscle, increases circulation, and speeds your metabolism.
Find a buddy. Walking, swimming or exercising with a friend is more fun – and you’re more likely to stick with it if you have an exercise date with someone.
Have “active fun”. Join in the badminton game at picnics. Ask a friend to join you for a walk in a nearby park instead of going for ice cream. Take the grandchildren to the local pool instead of to the movies. It bears repeating: Formal workouts are just one way to become active and stronger.
Wear comfortable clothes and supportive shoes. You don’t need expensive athletic gear. Well-fitting walking shoes will protect your feet from injury, and pants (or shorts) and a shirt that breathes will keep you cool while you’re active.
We are in January of a New Year so there is no better time to get moving now! And remember, your main objective is to get moving, so this can mean playing ball with your kids or Grandkids, going out and playing tennis, taking a walk or a hike... it doesn't have to be dull and dreadful to be beneficial to your health. All movement counts! Even the fun stuff!
Having a hard time getting a good, full night sleep? That’s me!
Did you know skimping on rest can have far-reaching effects on your health, whether you’re an insomniac who cannot sleep or someone who gives in to the temptation to use sleep time to catch up on work or TV. In one Yale University study of 1,100 men, those who got five to six hours of sleep a night doubled their risk for diabetes: a Harvard Medical School study found similar dangers for woman, too. But that’s not all. If you wake up feeling as thought you’ve barely slept – and if your bed partner has told you that you snore – you may have obstructive sleep apnea, a breathing problem that raises your risk for high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
Of course, not getting enough rest can also fog your thinking skills, slow your reaction time – raising your chances for traffic accident – and leave you vulnerable to anxiety and depression.
Just a night or two of refreshing sleep can lift your mood and clear your thinking. Just a few good nights begin to reverse metabolic changes that raise your odds of diabetes. And fixing sleep apnea can immediately lower blood pressure.
Sleep is like a universal healer. Getting enough will provide you with numerous benefits like more energy, a better mood, and clearer thinking. Sleep can even lower your risk for apnea-related heart problems and diabetes.
Did you know that not getting enough sleep can also kill your weight loss? When you don’t sleep enough, your cortisol levels rise. This is the stress hormone that is frequently associated with fat gain. Cortisol also activates reward centers in your brain that make you want food. So if losing weight is one of your New Year’s resolutions it is important to get enough sleep to set you up for success.
So how can you start getting the rest you need?
Sip some herbal tea after dinner. Avoid caffeinated coffee and teas, which block the brain chemical that makes you feel drowsy and fall asleep.
Do something soothing before bed. Don’t work, watch high-energy shows on TV or pay bills. Try a warm bath or a quiet hobby like knitting, reading or listening to music. Create a pre-bedtime ritual that slows you down and calms both body and mind.
Turn off the computer. Working on that video display terminal (VDT) seems to affect he sleep/wake cycle and biological rhythms. So stay away from the computer as bedtime approaches.
Listen to your body. Sleepy? Turn out the lights. Not sleepy? Get out of bed. The important lesson is to take your cues from your own body, and don’t turn your bedroom into a place of worry over sleep.
Hide the clock. Don’t let the glowing numbers – or constantly checking the time – keep you up.
Change beds. Women who sleep with snorers are three more times likely to have insomnia than those sleeping with non-snorers (there are no studies on the effect of a snoring bed partner on men).
Talk with your doctor. He may decide you need a sleep apnea evaluation. An evaluation is especially important for snorers.
Get your sinuses and stomach checked. Allergies and heartburn are common yet frequent overlooked causes of sleep problems.
Do a med review with your doctor. At least eight classes of drugs, including antidepressants and blood pressure drugs, can keep you awake at night.
Put the tips above to work for you tonight, and get some shut eye! There is no downside to getting a good night’s rest.
Having problems getting to sleep??
The New Year is in full swing. Maybe you were ready for it… maybe it took you by a whirlwind. No matter where you are today, there is still time to make 2017 your best year ever.
What is the best way to start?
1. Just pick one thing
If you want to change your life or your lifestyle don’t try to change the whole thing at once. It won’t work. Instead pick one area of your life to change to begin with.
Make it something concrete so you know exactly what change you’re planning to make. If you’re successful with the first change you can go ahead and make another change after a month or so. By making small changes one after the other, you still have the chance to be a whole new you at the end of 2017 and it’s a much more realistic way of doing it.
Don’t pick a New Year’s resolution that’s bound to fail either, like running a marathon if you’re 40lbs overweight and get out of breathe walking upstairs. If that’s the case resolve to walk every day. When you’ve got that habit down pat you can graduate to running in short bursts, constant running by March or April and a marathon at the end of the year. What’s the one habit you most want to change?
2. Plan ahead
To ensure success you need to research the change you’re making and plan ahead so you have the resources available when you need them. Here are a few things you should do to prepare and get all the systems in place ready to make your change.
Read up on it – Go to the library and get books on the subject. Whether it’s quitting smoking, taking up running or yoga or becoming vegan there are books to help you prepare for it. Or use the Internet. If you do enough research you should even be looking forward to making the change.
Plan for success – Get everything ready so things will run smoothly. If you’re taking up running make sure you have the trainers, clothes, hat, glasses, ipod loaded with energetic sounds at the ready. Then there can be no excuses.
3. Anticipate problems
There will be problems so make a list of what they’ll be. If you think about it, you’ll be able to anticipate problems at certain times of the day, with specific people or in special situations. Once you’ve identified the times that will probably be hard work out ways to cope with them when they inevitably crop up.
4. Pick a start date
You don’t have to make these changes on New Year’s Day. That’s the conventional wisdom, but if you truly want to make changes then pick a day when you know you’ll be well-rested, enthusiastic and surrounded by positive people.
Sometimes picking a date doesn’t work. It’s better to wait until your whole mind and body are fully ready to take on the challenge. You’ll know when it is when the time comes.
5. Go for it
On the big day go for it 100%. Make a commitment and write it down on a card. You just need one short phrase you can carry in your wallet. Or keep it in your car, by your bed and on your bathroom mirror too for an extra dose of positive reinforcement.
Your commitment card will say something like:
If you do fail and sneak a cigarette, miss a walk or shout at the kids one morning don’t hate yourself for it. Make a note of the triggers that caused this set back and vow to learn a lesson from them.
If you know that alcohol makes you crave cigarettes and oversleep the next day cut back on it. If you know the morning rush before school makes you shout then get up earlier or prepare things the night before to make it easier on you.
Perseverance is the key to success. Try again, keep trying and you will succeed.
7. Plan rewards
Small rewards are great encouragement to keep you going during the hardest first days. After that you can probably reward yourself once a week with a magazine, a long-distance call to a supportive friend, a siesta, a trip to the movies or whatever makes you tick.
Later you can change the rewards to monthly and then at the end of the year you can pick an anniversary reward. Something that you’ll look forward to. You deserve it and you’ll have earned it.
Whatever your plans and goals are for 2017 I’d do wish you luck with them but remember, it’s your life and you make your own luck.
Decide what you want to do in 2017, plan how to get it and go for it. I’ll definitely be cheering you on.
Did you make a New Year’s resolution in 2017? What is it and is it something you’ve tried to do before or something new?
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