5 Habits that have a big healthy impact

People tend to focus on nutrition and dieting when they want to be healthy, but eating well is only one part of the equation. Incorporating small, yet effective changes in all aspects of your life can make a big impact. Add one change below per week, to make it easy to do...

  1. Hydrate. Approximately 65 percent water, our bodies require substantial replenishment of H2O to function properly. Proper hydration flushes toxins, ensures proper digestive and body functions, curbs hunger and helps fight aging. Opt to drink water (you can add lemon, cucumber or a splash of juice for flavor), unsweetened green tea or club soda.
  2. Sleep. Adequate sleep is highly beneficial to your health as well as your waistline. Those who get seven to eight hours of sleep each night tend to weigh less than individuals who are sleep deprived. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up the same time every morning.
  3. Strength Train and Exercise. Strength, cardio and flexibility training are all important to keep bones and heart strong, metabolisms high and bodies free from injury. Find a variety of activities you enjoy and get in one or more (for approximately one hour) at least three times a week. This should include two 20 to 30 minute sessions of strength training weekly. Instead of weight lifting, you can enjoy Yoga and Pilates (both incorporate strength training) as well as other forms of exercise that require muscular strength.
  4. Drink Moderately. Alcohol has seven calories per gram of alcohol, as compared to nine calories per gram of fat and four calories per gram of protein and/or gram of carbohydrates. Alcohol in moderation, however, can help raise HDL, the good cholesterol. Recent research suggests that the heart-health benefit of alcohol is increased if moderate consumption is consistent: three-to-seven times a week, as opposed to sporadic consumption. Try to limit yourself to one drink a day if you are a woman and no more than two if you are a man. One drink is 4 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer (a bottle or can) or 1 ounce of hard liquor.
  5. Manage Stress. Stress is part of life. Managing stress, so it isn't overwhelming, is critical in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When we are over-stressed, we find reasons to soothe ourselves and, often, we do so with food. Exercising, getting enough sleep and spending down-time alone or with loved ones, are all ways to help diminish the impact of stress on our lives.

Don't forget to eat healthy too, but remember that other healthy habits are just as important!

Adapted from "GET REAL" and STOP Dieting! Copyright © 2009 by Brett Blumenthal. All rights reserved.



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