How to Stay Healthy
September 20, 2013
Staying healthy in a culture with numerous distractions like entertainment and infinite fast food chains and restaurants is difficult. Every day we decide how healthy we want to be by choosing what we want to eat and what to do.
Luckily, there are 3 key components to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. These 3 things are timeless but often ignored and forgotten, so it is important to rehash them every so often. By following these 3 tips, you can stay healthy and be in tip-top shape.
Exercise is paramount to sustaining good health. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, obesity rates in children and adults have doubled since the 1970’s. It continues to be a prominent health problem in the US.
Side effects of obesity include, but are not limited to, high blood pressure, heart disease, increased risk of breast and colon cancer, and metabolic syndrome.
Benefits Associated with Physical Activity
Physical activity not only burns fat but improves muscle strength and mass.
Health professionals indicate people should get around 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity or 150 minutes moderate aerobic training per week. In addition, people should also be strength training a minimum of 2 times a week.
Along with physical benefits like greater muscle mass and better endurance, exercise also ameliorates mental health.
One study shows 99 subjects suffering from major depression, dysthymic disorder, or other depressive disorders underwent either aerobic or nonaerobic exercises over an 8-week period. Results show depression scores in both groups were significantly reduced.
Exercising options are widespread and don’t have to be limited to the gym. Though, lifting weights and intense resistance training is one way to improve human growth hormone (HGH) production. Growth hormone is directly and indirectly involved in mediating several physiological processes such as optimizing muscle growth, energy and metabolism, and recovery post-exercise.
Make Healthy Eating Choices
Almost more important than exercise are healthy eating habits. Healthy eating is often synonymous with discouraging thoughts of insane diets or unappetizing green smoothies. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.
Healthy eating habits are formed over long time practice and require self-control and determination. The adage “A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” may be something to consider when choosing what to munch on between lunch and dinner.
What Should You Eat?
If you are working out and engaging in physical activity regularly, your body requires more protein and carbohydrates to efficiently repair damaged muscle and depleted energy storage.
Health professionals say for endurance and strength training purposes, people should consume around 1.2 -1.4 g/kg and 1.7 – 1.8 g /kg protein, respectively.
Also, protein decreases satiety and subsequent food intake. So, get full on protein to repair muscles, and this reduces snacking between meals.
For carbohydrates, recommended dietary allowances range from 160 – 210 g per day. However, depending on intensity and frequency of training, high carbohydrate amounts, around 3 – 4.5 g per pound of body weight, may be required.
Eat plenty fruits and vegetables. Both are packed with valuable vitamins, fiber, minerals and antioxidants. Better yet, fruit and vegetables are high in fiber and low in calories, so you can eat more of them and get full on fewer calories.
If you need a snack, the natural sugar in fruits may be enough to fulfill a sweet tooth craving. But, if you find yourself in a late night pantry raid fueled by an unquenchable desire for chocolate, there is still hope for you. Dark chocolate is full of flavanols, which are beneficial for vascular health. Dark chocolate is also rich in monounsaturated fat, a fat beneficial for cholesterol levels.
Other healthy snack suggestions are fat-free butter popcorn, almonds, and even celery with peanut butter.
Get Some Sleep
Getting sufficient sleep is imperative for physical and mental health.
Not getting enough sleep is associated with poor carbohydrate metabolism and endocrine function. The endocrine systems are the glands which secrete several hormones to maintain homeostasis. Consequently, by not getting enough sleep, your stress levels, alertness, and weight may be affected.
Health professionals at the Harvard Medical School say sleep also improves cardiovascular health and mood.
So, strive to get 7 – 8 hours of sleep a night. Establish a set sleep schedule and adhere to it. Turning off the television and shutting out as much light as possible enables proper melatonin production, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles.
If you are unable to get a good night’s rest, take a power nap during the day to catch up. Though, don’t nap too close to bed time or else you may end up staying up later than expected.
Avoid drinking a lot of fluids before bed; this eliminates the need to get up and urinate in the middle of the night, an activity that may be significant enough to delay onset of sleep after waking.
Better sleep means better productivity. You won’t be dragging your feet at work or falling asleep throughout the day and you will be healthier.
Try Some Supplements
After all is said and done, supplements may optimize and enhance these three activities, making it easier to stay on the road to better health.
Some ingredients to look for to enhance strength, endurance, weight loss, and sleep quality are creatine, beta alanine, L-leucine, green tea extract, and melatonin.
Creatine and beta alanine are ingredients that enhance energy production and delay muscle fatigue, so you can work out harder and for longer time periods. One clinical study shows 5.25 g creatine and 1.6 g beta alanine taken 4 times a day increased mean adjusted neuromuscular fatigue threshold in test subjects.
Leucine improves protein synthesis when administered in 3.5 g.
Typical melatonin doses to treat insomnia range from .3 – 5 mg at bedtime.
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