Fitness and Your Life

Fitness positively affects every area of our life. No matter how you fit your favorite activity into your daily schedule, it will benefit you. From hardcore workouts to walks or cardio, you will improve parts of your life that you didn’t even realize were lacking. You may not notice that you are easily out of breath or that you feel stiff. Sometimes, we don’t understand how bad we feel until we begin to move and exercise. Here are just some of the ways fitness affects your life:

Relief of stress :

This is a big deal, no matter who you are. Overworked business people or moms with a hectic schedule, we all need to relieve that pressure. Little annoyances build into big, tight muscles, and the daily grind can leave you with an aching head. Take the time to work up a sweat and it will release physical and mental stress.

Improve your heart :

Any healthy exercise builds your endurance which helps your heart. As you build your inner strength, your heart will have to work less hard. In fact, all of your organs improve with cardio or force/endurance training.

Lift your spirits :

Even simple exercises can improve your moods. Chemicals released during physical activity suppress the feelings of depression while enhancing a more positive outlook. As your body becomes healthier, this will also improve your vision because you are feeling better physically.

Energy boost :

Forget drinking that third cup of coffee to wake up, just exercise. It is true that physical fitness gives you a brief shot of energy, it also provides you with more energy throughout the day. So, contrary to some people’s belief-exercising and fitness don’t make you tired they give you extra to get through the day.

Live longer :

We all want to have long, satisfying lives and physical fitness is the key to extending

Our life expectancy. Physical fitness means you are optimizing your body’s chance at being active for longer. We concentrate on our finances and our plans for the future but without a healthy body, none of that will matter.

Look your best :

You can’t beat a healthy glow, and you get that from a consistent fitness program. It doesn’t have to be extreme, but a healthy body will always look better than its numerical age. As you tighten your core and your muscles, you will not only look younger but feel that way, too.

Less worry about injury :

Whether you are young or old, you do your best to avoid any injury. For the young, it can mean rehabilitation and for the more elderly ones it can expect an interruption of your life. Any physical activity strengthens your body against injury. The more fit you are, the less chance of injury.

It’s fun :

Although it goes against traditional thought, being fit can be fun. If you choose an activity you enjoy to stay fit; you will find some time carved in your schedule to do something for yourself. You can indulge in a favorite sport and get fit at the same time.

Make new friends :

Many times our physical fitness routine takes us into places we don’t usually go, which helps us meet new friends. Exercise is more fun when you share it with someone else who has the same passions.

Reach new goals :

As we plan our futures, we should also include physical goals such as keeping up the tennis or golf game; being able to ride bikes with the grandchildren. Consistent exercise and fitness will enable us to do these activities longer.

Fitness has also been proven to reduce the risks of eight common health conditions. Centers for Disease Control list the following as being improved with exercise.

  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Certain types of cancers
  • Arthritis
  • Disease of the heart
  • Anxiety and depression

As you can see, there are many benefits to staying fit and having an exercise program in your daily life. If you don’t think you have time or money to find physical fitness- you can discover small things you can do every day to improve your health. Walking, taking the stairs or even exercises at your desk can improve your health.

With the eight serious diseases mentioned by the CDC, it is important to give yourself every advantage of not falling victim to one of these potential killers. Exercise heals you mentally and physically so the real question is- how can you afford not to become physically fit?

 

Do We Have a Healthy Lifestyle?

Americans are bombarded with statistics and studies about how healthy we are, almost daily. The news is often depressing as the numbers indicate how unhealthy our lifestyles have become. Even with cutting edge medicine and technology to help us, we seem to consistently make a poor showing. However, with knowledge comes power so a careful look at the numbers could help us improve. As of 2008, less than 3% of Americans qualified as leading a healthy lifestyle.

First of all, we need a working definition of what an actual “healthy lifestyle” is. An author from the Mayo Clinic defined a healthy lifestyle in four requirements:

  • At least 150 minutes of vigorous or moderate exercise per week
  • A Healthy Eating Index scores at least in the 40% range
  • Body fat percentage of 20% or less for men; 30% for women
  • No smoking

In a recent study, the United States came in the last place for affluent countries health status. The good news was that smoking had declined steadily in the past ten years, which has significantly improved Americans’ overall health. The numbers also indicated that almost 45% of Americans got in the weekly exercise required. The bad news was the 9.6 % that had the proper body weight proportions and only a little over 2% met all four requirements.

Researchers also had to take into account such things as high blood pressure and cholesterol which affects the population’s health numbers. While men tend to be more active, women are less likely to smoke and eat healthier. These demographics prove that Americans have worked to improve some aspects of their daily health regime. There is much room to improve, though.

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition published a list of its findings for 2014:

Activity (Physical) :

  • Only one out of three children do physical activities on a daily basis
  • The number of adults who do 30 minutes of physical activity daily is less than 5%
  • Screen time for children is up to 7 hours per day.
  • About 80% of our youth and adults do not meet basic activity requirements daily
  • There are only about one in five homes with a park nearby

Nutrition :

  • Americans, as a whole, eat less than the recommended daily allowances for the healthy food groups (vegetables, grains, fruits and dairy)
  • There are twice as many fast food restaurants than in 1970.
  • 40% of total daily calories are “empty” from sources soda, desserts, fruit drink, pizza and whole milk (for 2-18-year-olds).
  • 3,400 grams of sodium are consumed by adults daily (current guideline is 2300 per day)
  • Daily average calories have increased by 600 from 1979-2008

Obesity :

  • A study from 2009-2010 found that 78 million adults and 12.5 children are considered obese.
  • Research projects that one-half of the adults in America will be obese by 2030
  • There is a 70% probability that an overweight child will become an obese adult
  • The issue of obesity tripled for ages 12-18 from 1970’s to 2008.
  • For those children living in poverty, there is almost a double number of those with obesity

The cost for obesity and poor overall health was about $147 billion dollars in 2008. This dismal number shows us that not only are we being hurt physically by the health problems but also financially. The medical system struggles under trying to care for under or noninsured people who fall into the wrong side of the health statistics.

Another concern that we do not think of often is how unhealthy lifestyles could endanger our national security. A staggering 27% of our youth who try to enlist in the armed forces are too obese to serve. Also, about 15,000 recruits also fail their physicals each year. These alarming numbers can reflect on the fitness of our military.

If we focus our energy on public awareness and education, the United States could improve our last place standing internationally. It is the combination of federal, state and local programs that can lift us out of the sad statistics that we see now. We can start with our children and youth by providing healthy physical activities that encourage them to step away from screens and to get moving.

In conclusion, we must acknowledge that we are not a healthy nation. We have made some strides in improvement, but we have a long way to go. The worst thing we can do is stick our heads in the sand and ignore the realities. The numbers and the statistics don’t lie but instead, provide us with a starting point. The solutions are up to us as a society and a nation. Even as we hear these disturbing numbers, we must dedicate ourselves to better things for our children. Any changes for the better, however small, will mean a healthier nation for everyone.

Easy Healthy Eating Habits for Busy Lives

Modern life can be so busy and hectic that it feels impossible to maintain strong habits for healthy eating. That quick snack instead of a proper meal, that overpriced and overdressed coffee that feels like the only thing that gets you through the morning, and those late night cravings for a simple moment of junk food pleasure while you manage to relax for an hour before bed. These are all perfectly reasonable eating habits resulting from the stress of modern life, and they are also what is causing skyrocketing rates of obesity.

To top all of this off, there isn’t a lot of good and easy to use information out there about the ways to develop and maintain healthy eating habits. People see a food group chart and learn a little about calories, but beyond that everything seems very complicated and designed for models, movie stars and athletes.

Fortunately it can actually be really simple to develop and maintain strong habits for eating healthy. There are a lot of small things that people can change that will lead to a big impact on their health and waistlines. Here are some tips to help get you on the right track to simple and healthy living no matter what modern life throws your way.

There Is a Difference Between Dieting and Healthy Eating

Eating healthier does not necessarily mean that you are on a diet or restricting your calories. It can be as simple as eating an apple instead of a cookie when you want a snack.

Make Protein the Center of All Your Meals

Before every meal, decide on a healthy source of protein to build around (fish, eggs, bison for example). Then figure out what you want to make using this main ingredient.

Always Have a Protein Bar for Emergencies

No matter how hard you try, you’re going to have times when you just can’t stop to eat a full and healthy meal. Instead of going to the nearest gas station or drive-thru window, reach for a trusty protein bar to satisfy your hunger and give you the energy you need to keep moving.

Do Not Drink Many of Your Calories

A few drinks are low in calories, but the vast majority are not. Lattes, sodas, and even fruit juices are loaded with sugar and calories. Even worse, because it is liquid your body won’t notice all of the calories that you are taking in, meaning you can still feel hungry after drinking a pizza’s worth of calories.

Throw Out Tempting Junk

Do not overestimate your willpower in the long term. You may be excited about making healthy choices when you start, but over time it comes down to avoiding the temptation in the first place. Go through your house and throw out all the junk food.

Do Not Let Your Schedule Interfere With Your Meals

Plan your schedule and have meals prepared so you can always sit down and eat healthy. It is easier to keep up healthy habits when you have a strong schedule and healthy food prepared.

Fill Your Home With Healthy and Fun Snacks

Make sure the entire family is along for the healthy habit ride by only having healthy snacks in the house. Healthy does not have to mean boring though, as there are all kinds of fun and delicious healthy foods for people of all ages.

Drink a Big Glass of Water First Thing Each Day

Drink a large glass of water when you first wake up. Your body has been fasting all night, so the water will wake you up, hydrate your cells and keep the hunger down while you prepare a proper breakfast.

Do Not Stay Around Places Where You Know You Will Munch Away

You do not keep bowls of candy or chocolate around the house or office, so don’t hang around places that have open bowls of food for munching. You will end up eating it just because it is there. If you find yourself tempted but need to stay, try keeping a glass of cold water in your hand instead, and take a sip each time you feel the urge to snack.

Eat a Large and Healthy Breakfast Within 90 Minutes of Waking Up

A lot of people do not feel hungry first thing in the morning, but it is actually the most important meal. Get in the habit of sitting down to a high protein and low sugar breakfast each morning within 90 minutes of waking up.

Eat Vegetables Whenever You Can

It is pretty much impossible to eat too many vegetables. There are vegetables that can go with every dish, so there’s no reason not to eat some with every meal. They provide you with essential nutrients and are a low calorie way to easily get that satisfied full feeling from every meal.

Healthy Eating For a Healthy Life

Let’s face it – Food is enjoyable. At the same time, food is one of the largest contributors to poor health and low quality of life. The two, however, can go in hand. Eating healthy leads to a better lifestyle and an overall more positive outlook. This is easier said than done, however, as we live in a fast food world. As many people are constantly on the go, dashing from place to place, eating healthy has become increasingly difficult.

Beyond these reasons, healthy eating tends to be more expensive on the whole, and the food is less accessible. Many supermarkets have even relegated health food items to the back aisles or bottom rows. Junk food is what sells. All of these factors combine to create a populace that genuinely wants to eat healthy, but lacks the resources to adequately do so. That being said, healthy eating is necessary of a healthy life, so let’s take a quick look at what can be done.

Benefits of Healthy Eating

Eating healthy has many benefits. From feeling better to getting sick less often, these advantages keep piling up. Consider some of the more commonly cited reasons below.

l. Lower Blood Pressure – People who eat healthy tend to have a much lower blood pressure on average than those who consume a diet high in fats and sugar. By drinking more water, minimizing calorie intake, and working to eliminate unhealthy fats from most of the food we consume, blood pressure can come down naturally. For many people with a genetic predisposition towards blood pressure, this means that not having to take medicine is a real possibility. Lower blood pressured leads to a host of health advantages in its own right.

2. Healthier Emotional State – People who eat healthy tend to be more content in their emotional state of mind than those that do not. This leads to an overall better quality of life. Those who eat fatty foods and consume a great deal of sugar tend to lethargic and lack self-esteem when it comes to their body shape. Being healthier from an emotional perspective contributes to physical well being as well.

3.More Physically Active – We already know that exercise is good for us. Being more physically active is a natural byproduct of eating healthy. Food that is good for us leads us to feel more like going out into the world and conquering it. We are able to play our favorite sports, get out and walk or run, and generally just lead a healthier lifestyle as a result. In addition, being physically active leads to stronger physical health, which once again contributes to our physical health.

4. Less Risk Of Heart Disease – Heat disease continue to be one of the biggest killers of people in the Western world. One of the primary reasons behind this is the lack of healthy eating habits that many individuals have developed in the modern era. Fatty foods, and those that are high in cholesterol, clog the arteries of the heart over time. Left unchecked, this will tend to lead to heart disease, often at an alarmingly early age.

5. Diabetes Risk Is Minimized – Those who consume a lot of sugar and do not stay physically active are at risk of developing a host of health related issues. Among these is diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that will alter your lifestyle and put you at risk of death if left untreated. It will require constant monitoring and insulin injection, as well as necessitate the need to guard against what you eat. Focusing on healthy eating habits early in life can minimize this risk.

6.Importance of Healthy Eating

Simply put, eating healthy is important. There is a great deal of food out there that tastes great and is good for our body. It is time that we focus on what is good for us in order to preserve our quality of life and enhance our chances of living to a healthy and old age. Eating healthy does not need to adversely impact your life. Decisions range from picking up an apple to get through the mid-morning hunger pangs to consuming less sugar and caffeine in your diet. From time to time, that chocolate that you crave is fine; just make sure to offset it with a healthy dinner choice. Being to make minor modifications to your diet now, and the healthy dividends later in life will pay off immensely.