Have you ever heard the expression "use it or lose it"? It's true! If you don't use your body, you will surely lose it. Your muscles will become flabby and weak. Your heart and lungs won't function efficiently. And your joints will be stiff and easily injured. Inactivity is as much of a health risk as smoking!
Helps Prevent Diseases- Our bodies were meant to move -- they actually crave exercise. Regular exercise is necessary for physical fitness and good health. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. It can improve your appearance and delay the aging process.
Improves Stamina- When you exercise, your body uses energy to keep going. Aerobic exercise involves continuous and rhythmic physical motion, such as walking and bicycling. It improves your stamina by training your body to become more efficient and use less energy for the same amount of work. As your conditioning level improves, your heart rate and breathing rate return to resting levels much sooner from strenuous activity.
Strengthens and Tones- Exercising with weights and other forms of resistance training develops your muscles, bones and ligaments for increased strength and endurance. Your posture can be improved, and your muscles become more firm and toned. You not only feel better, but you look better, too!
Enhances Flexibility- Stretching exercises are also important for good posture. They keep your body limber so that you can bend, reach and twist. Improving your flexibility through exercise reduces the chance of injury and improves balance and coordination. If you have stiff, tense areas, such as the upper back or neck, performing specific stretches can help "loosen" those muscles, helping you feel more relaxed.
Controls Weight- Exercise is also a key to weight control because it burns calories. If you burn off more calories than you take in, you lose weight. It's as simple as that.
Improves Quality of Life- Once you begin to exercise regularly, you will discover many more reasons why exercise is so important to improving the quality of your life. Exercise reduces stress, lifts moods, and helps you sleep better. It can keep you looking and feeling younger throughout your entire life.
2. Eat CLEAN
There is no fitness goal which you can achieve without first cleaning up your diet. Changing your diet is one of the biggest challenges when faced with improving ones health. A majority of people are used to eating highly processed foods on a regular basis and breaking away from that can be difficult. The good news is, it isn't impossible and once you make it a habit to eat clean, it becomes a part of your life.
In a nutshell, eating clean is the practice of eating whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. It also means staying away from the junk that typically makes up the Standard American Diet (S.A.D) These types of food include man-made sugar, bad fats (hydrogenated, trans-fat), preservatives, white bread, and any other ingredients that are unnecessary. An easy way to remember if a food is clean is: "if man made it, don't eat it."
A person that eats clean generally practices the following:
• Eliminates refined sugar
• Cooks healthy meals
• Packs healthy meals
• Makes healthy choices when dining out
• Drinks a lot of water
• Eats 5-6 small meals per day
• Eliminates alcoholic beverages (or significantly limits it)
• Always eats breakfast
Eating clean can be a major transition for a majority of people due to addictions to sugar, white bread, and fast food. It takes discipline in order to make eating clean a habit but it is possible and has so many long-term health benefits.
What Are CLEAN foods?
Fruits and Vegetables- Fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with health benefits and abundant in flavor. Not only do fruits and vegetables lower your risk for heart disease and stroke, they also lower blood pressure and help with digestive problems. Fruits and vegetables are also low in calories. Harvard School of Public Health suggests nine servings, or 4 1/2 cups, of fresh fruits and vegetables. Go for an assortment of colors when creating meals because different colors are markers of various nutrients and antioxidants.
Whole Grains- Whole grains are excellent for controlling weight and are considered a clean food. Naturally low in fat, whole grains are grains that have not been refined and provide exceptional levels of fiber, selenium and magnesium, according to the Mayo Clinic. Nutritional and delicious whole grain products include barley, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oatmeal, whole-grain breads and pastas and wild rice. Many clean eaters choose sprouted grain breads for even more nutritional benefits.
Lean Protein- Lean proteins are low in fat, calories, cholesterol and are great diet foods that are also clean. Most often, people who eat clean food purchase naturally fed and organic animal proteins to avoid added chemicals and growth hormones. For leaner options, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute suggests trying turkey and chicken instead of beef, egg whites instead of a whole egg, beans and fish fillets.
Health Fats- Not all fat is bad. You just need to know which ones to eat and which ones to avoid. Only unsaturated fats make the clean eating healthy list. While you don’t want to eat them in excess, you’ll want to consume plant based fats including olive, flax, sunflower, and corn oils.
How to Eat Clean-
- Each meal should be between 200-300 calories.
- Eat a complex carbohydrate with protein (20-21 grams) at every meal.
- Drink at least 8 cups of water daily.
- Never miss a meal, especially breakfast.
- Consume adequate healthy fats each day.
Eating clean may look a little complicated having to eat more often, but it really just requires some planning and discipline. Once you get used to this lifestyle, you won’t want to go back. Fresh, wholesome, and lean foods yield the body you want and you’ll quickly begin to feel better and stronger. Plus you’ll gain energy and notice a difference in your ability to perform.
3. WATER, water, WATER
Water is important to the mechanics of the human body. The body cannot work without it, just as a car cannot run without gas and oil. In fact, all the cell and organ functions that make up our entire anatomy and physiology depend on water for their functioning.
Water serves as a lubricant- Water serves as a lubricant in digestion and almost all other body processes. The water in our saliva helps facilitate chewing and swallowing, ensuring that food will slide easily down the esophagus. Water also lubricates our joints and cartilages and allows them to (pardon the pun) move more fluidly. When dehydrated, the body rations water away from the joints. Less lubrication equals greater friction and that can cause joint, knee and back pain potentially leading to injuries and arthritis. Even our eyeballs need plenty of lubrication to work well and remain healthy.
Water regulates body temperature- Our bodies can control over-heating through perspiration from sweat glands in the skin and from evaporation which produces a cooling effect. Blood is also routed into areas close to the surface of the skin where it can be cooled and then carried back to the interior of the body. Conversing in a cold environment, the skin maintains proper body temperature by shunting the blood away from the exterior surface thereby conserving heat within the body. The movement of water within our cellular systems also transports vital blood plasma which is 92% made of water. Blood plasma play a critical role in buffering the body’s pH, circulating antibodies from the immune system, and regulating osmotic balance which all helps to maintain proper body temperature.
There are many reasons why it is important to drink water, especially if you are dieting:
- Initial weight loss is largely due to loss of water, and you need to drink an adequate amount of water in order to avoid dehydration.
- The process of burning calories requires an adequate supply of water in order to function efficiently; dehydration slows down the fat-burning process.
- Burning calories creates toxins (think of the exhaust coming out of your car), and water plays a vital role in flushing them out of your body.
- Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume; a reduction in blood volume causes a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles; and a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles can make you feel tired.
- Water helps maintain muscle tone by assisting muscles in their ability to contract, and it lubricates your joints. Proper hydration can help reduce muscle and joint soreness when exercising.
- A healthy (weight loss) diet includes a good amount of fiber. But while fiber is normally helpful to your digestive system, without adequate fluids it can cause constipation instead of helping to eliminate it.
- Drinking water with a meal may make you feel full sooner and therefore satisfied eating less. Note, however, that drinking water alone may not have this effect. In order to feel satiated (not hungry), our bodies need bulk, calories and nutrients.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
You have probably heard that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. How much water you actually need depends on your weight, level of activity, the temperature and humidity of your environment, and your diet. Your diet makes a difference because if you eat plenty of water-dense foods like fruits and vegetables your need to drink water will be diminished.
You can do some research and use a calculator and measuring cup if you like, but nature's pretty good at letting you know the right amount to drink. When you drink enough water, your urine will usually be pale yellow, though vitamin supplements and antibiotics can discolor it. On the other hand, you shouldn't need to run to the bathroom too frequently. When in doubt, drink a little more.
4. Get a good nights SLEEP
Sleep is a crucial factor in losing weight. Sleep suppresses your appetite and raises your metabolism, while allowing your body to rest and recover. So aside from leading an active lifestyle and maintaining a balanced diet, you should also make sure that you get your full eight hours of shuteye every night. Frequent exercise and a healthy diet are key elements in most weight loss programs. However, making sure that you get enough sleep is often overlooked.
Studies published in The Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet suggest that sleep loss may increase hunger and affect the body's metabolism, which may make it more difficult to maintain or lose weight.
Leptin and Ghrelin- Sleep affects the levels of several hormones in your body. Two hormones that play an important role in stimulating and suppressing your appetite are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is produced by your body’s fat cells and is responsible for suppressing hunger. Ghrelin is released by your stomach, and stimulates your appetite. Lack of sleep lowers the levels of leptin in your blood and heightens the levels of ghrelin, which results in an increase of appetite. The reverse is also true: getting enough sleep decreases hunger and will therefore help you lose weight.
Growth Hormone- During sleep, your pituitary gland secretes more growth hormones than during your waking hours. Growth hormones stimulate cell regeneration, reproduction and growth. These hormones are also known to aid you in building muscles. This is why higher levels of growth hormones means a heightened metabolism. With a higher metabolism, you burn energy much faster which leads to easier weight loss.
Cortisol- Getting eight hours of sleep at night helps you lower the cortisol levels in your blood, while lack of sleep raises your cortisol levels. Higher levels of cortisol lead to a lower metabolism. Breaking protein down into glucose is stimulated by cortisol. If you have too much glucose in your body, it will get stored as fat. On top of this, cortisol interferes with your body’s ability to build muscle mass. If you are trying to lose weight, you want to make sure that you have low cortisol levels in your blood. Getting enough sleep helps you do just that.
Rest and Recovery- Exercising regularly is a great way to improve your fitness and shed some pounds. When you exercise, you tire your body and actually inflict small injuries to your muscles. To improve your performance, you have to allow your body to heal. During sleep, your body recuperates the quickest. When you do not sleep enough, you will stay fatigued and your performance level will drop. Sleeping enough will allow your body to rest, recover and grow stronger.
Well there you have it a guaranteed way to start creating a fitter HEALTHIER you... TODAY! Contact me on facebook if you have any questions!