March 3rd, 2019 12:00am
You know that healthy eating and fitness will improve the way your body looks, but did you know it can also change the way your body and brain work?
It’s true. Your physical health will improve greatly with exercise, and your brain will function better, too. A 2002 study showed that exercise increases a molecule that boosts neuronal (brain cell) survival, enhances learning and protects against cognitive decline. That means you’re less likely to suffer from dementia when you’re older, and you’ll be able to learn more easily now. Another study showed that exercise is important for prevention and treatment of stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Getting started on a new healthy life plan can be tough because any time you change your habits, you’re looking at a challenge. But little changes can add up to great results if you put the time in. Start walking, running, dancing, swimming, riding a bike or whatever you enjoy. If you enjoy the workout, you’re more likely to do it and make it a habit.
If you don’t want to go to the gym, you can create a space for working out in your own home without spending a lot of money. Find a spacious area of your home, and fill it with a yoga mat, a few dumbbells or kettlebells. Resistance bands and Bosu trainers can also give you a good workout. You can get cardio by popping in a fitness DVD or using a streaming service.
First, talk to your doctor about your health and fitness abilities. She can get you started on a fitness plan that works for you and your fitness level. Start with smaller, easier goals and build up from there, such as walking for 15 minutes or lifting light weights a couple of times a week. Try yoga, which helps build strength and flexibility. Try taking dance lessons or playing golf. They might seem like small steps, but you’ll enjoy the workout that comes with these activities.
Keep in mind that recovering from a workout is as important as the exercising, so remember to take a break or a recovery day to let your muscles recover. Some people supplement their recovery days by using things to help them relax, from massages to things like CBD oil. And while CBD oil provides a lot of the same benefit as marijuana, it does not contain THC, which means it will not produce a “high.” There are many different brands on the market these days, so check out some reviews and buyers guides before you make your selection.
Good nutrition is also important for maintaining health. Eating right can help reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer and more. It can also boost your immune system, helping you fight off illnesses. Building your diet around lean meats, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fish can go a long way to help you feel better and build energy. Research has shown that eating a diet rich in vegetables can help control insulin and cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation, which causes some chronic pain.
When changing your eating habits, start with little changes. Add a vegetable to each meal, or start doing meal planning. Meal planning helps you schedule your meals and separate them so that when it’s time to eat, you don’t have to think about it. Add fruits to your day, such as strawberries or pineapple for dessert. You’ll still miss ice cream, but at least you’ll have a bite of sweetness that won’t raise your blood sugar as quickly. What’s more, eating healthier will help eliminate sugar from your diet, thereby improving your dental health (which is important, as poor oral hygiene can lead to problems with depression, malnutrition, and self-confidence).
There are lots of apps that can help you start counting calories or tracking your fitness. Keeping track of it will help you know what you really eat and do during the day and where you can add better food or a quick workout.
Switching to a healthy lifestyle is the best thing you can do to help your body last longer and give you more energy and health. When you’re older, you’ll thank your younger self for starting these healthy habits which can last a lifetime.
© Sheila Olsen/FitSheila.com