Start a Healthy Life With This Easy Program

By Spring Estep

How many times have you gone to sleep at night, swearing you’ll go to the gym in the morning, and then changing your mind just eight hours later because when you get up, you don’t feel like exercising? While this can happen to the best of us, it doesn’t mean you should drop the ball altogether when it comes to staying fit.

What people need to realize is that staying active and eating right are critical for long-term health and wellness. The old adage, that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure applies to staying healthy.

The more you know about how your body responds to your lifestyle choices, the better you can customize a nutrition and exercise plan that is right for you. When you eat well, increase your level of physical activity, and exercise at the proper intensity, you are informing your body that you want to burn a substantial amount of fuel. This translates to burning fat more efficiently for energy.

In other words, eating healthy and exercise equals fast metabolism, which, in turn gives you more energy throughout the day and allows you to do more physical work with less effort.

The true purpose of exercise is to send a repetitive message to the body asking for improvement in metabolism, strength, aerobic capacity and overall fitness and health.

Each time you exercise, your body responds by upgrading its capabilities to burn fat throughout the day and night, Exercise doesn’t have to be intense to work for you, but it does need to be consistent.

I recommend engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise four times per week for 20 to 30 minutes per session, and resistance training four times per week for 20 to 25 minutes per session.

This balanced approach provides a one-two punch, incorporating aerobic exercise to burn fat and deliver more oxygen, and resistance training to increase lean muscles and burn more calories around the clock.

Here’s a sample exercise program that may work for you:

  • Warm Up — seven to eight minutes of light aerobic activity intended to increase blood flow and lubricate and warm-up your tendons and joints.
  • Resistance Training — Train all major muscle groups. One to two sets of each exercise. Rest 45 seconds between sets.
  • Aerobic Exercise — Pick two favorite activities, they could be jogging, rowing, biking or cross-country skiing, whatever fits your lifestyle. Perform 12 to 15 minutes of the first activity and continue with 10 minutes of the second activity. Cool down during the last five minutes.
  •  Stretching — Wrap up your exercise session by stretching, breathing deeply, relaxing and meditating.

When starting an exercise program, it is important to have realistic expectations. Depending on your initial fitness level, you should expect the following changes early on.

  •  From one to eight weeks — Feel better and have more energy.
  • From two to six months — Lose size and inches while becoming leaner. Clothes begin to fit more loosely. You are gaining muscle and losing fat.
  •  After six months — Start losing weight quite rapidly.

Once you make the commitment to exercise several times a week, don’t stop there. You should also change your diet and/or eating habits. Counting calories or calculating grams and percentages for certain nutrients is impractical. Instead, I suggest these easy-to-follow guidelines:

  •  Eat several small meals (optimally four) and a couple of small snacks throughout the day.
  •   Make sure every meal is balanced — incorporate palm-sized proteins like lean meats, fish, egg whites and dairy products, fist-sized portions of complex carbohydrates like whole-wheat bread and pasta, wild rice, multigrain cereal and potatoes, and fist-sized portions of vegetable and fruits.
  • Limit your fat intake to only what’s necessary for adequate flavor.
  •   Drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of water throughout the day.
  • I also recommend that you take a multi-vitamin each day to ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

These are a  few tips for starting to get healthy.  Stick with it and you will get results.  Enjoy life, we all deserve it.


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Healthy Habits for Life That You May Want to Skip?

By Reid Terranova

Let’s look at some of the healthy habits for life that you thought were set in stone and find out where you might have some wiggle room.

Remember all those health rules that your parents drummed into your head when you were a kid? Well, while admittedly, some of those rules do make a lot of sense (smoking is bad for you), not everything does (sitting too close to the TV won’t ruin your eyesight).

The thing is, parents have done the reading and they’ve found that scientists recommend certain things. The problem is, that when they write those health articles, scientists don’t mean for them to apply to every person out there. They only mean for them to apply to most.

Of all the healthy habits for life that you usually get preached, the ones to do with eating green leafy vegetables and drinking a glass of water a day are the most universally hated.  However, these don’t have to apply to everyone.  For example, if you take blood thinners like Warfarin, including lots of green leafy vegetables in your diet may actually be bad for you.

For people with cardiovascular diseases, one thing that doctors often like to guard against is how their blood can just form clots spontaneously, for no reason. Warfarin helps the blood not clot like that, and helps prevent strokes, by making sure that the body doesn’t get any vitamin K. The problem is that green leafy vegetables have lots of vitamin K so you see where eating leafy greens may cause a problem.

And as for all that water you’re asked to drink every day, it doesn’t apply to everyone. It actually depends on the kind of bladder control you have. If you’re having trouble with incontinence, the eight glass rules could be cut in half. As long as you’re going to pee three times a day, you can be pretty sure you’re doing fine.

Of all the healthy habits for life that you are preached, the one to do with taking regular walks every day so that you can get your blood pressure as low as possible, is an evergreen standby. But what about outdoor walks if you live in a polluted city?

Smog is not  good for you! Exercising indoors is much healthier on the other hand.

And then, there is getting the blood pressure down. While it’s a commendable goal, if you have high blood pressure, getting your blood pressure down lower than 120/80 may put  you closer to heart attack risk. You absolutely need to check with your doctor about what sort of exercises are okay for you!

Don’t get me wrong, you do want to create healthy habits for life, but they need to be tailored to your individual health issues and as always, check with your doctor first.