Healthy eating and exercise for a strong and healthy body and mind.
Healthy eating plays a key role in maintaining a strong, healthy body. Here are some great tips to help you make good nutritional decisions: Always make half of your plate non-starchy vegetables such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc. These are packed with vitamins and minerals, but very low in calories, sugar, fat and sodium. They are also filled with fiber to help you stay full longer. Cook these vegetables or eat them raw, but make sure to incorporate at least 2-3 cups worth at each meal. Choose lower-sugar fruits like berries, citrus fruits and apples. All fruits have great nutrients and antioxidants, but some are higher in sugar than others. If you are trying to lose weight or really tone up, choose lower-sugar fruits to keep your blood sugar steady so you aren’t as likely to store fat.
Add healthy fats to your meals. Yes, fats have more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates. But
healthy fats reduce inflammation in your body and help you feel satisfied after a meal. Make sure to watch your portions, but don’t be afraid to add half an avocado or ¼ cup nuts to your meals.
Lean protein helps build and restore muscle. It also takes longer to digest, which can help you stay full longer. Choose fatty fish like salmon or tuna, chicken, turkey breast, or eggs. Watch your portions with protein – you only need an amount the size of the palm of your hand at each meal.
If you are a vegetarian, beans, hummus, edamame, tofu and hemp seeds are great options, but watch your portions as well.
Just like there are healthier vegetables and fruits there are also healthier grains. Don’t throw away all of your bread, pasta and rice. Instead, switch to whole grain versions. Whole grains have more fiber to help you stay full. Again, you still have to watch your portions. It’s easy to overeat these items so stick to no more than ½ to 1 cup at a time.
Stay hydrated! The more water you drink the better. Throw out sugary drinks like pop, juice and sports drinks and stick to water. Flavor your water with fruit if you prefer.
Eat every 4 to 5 hours to keep your blood sugar steady and your metabolism moving. Your metabolism is like a fire – stoke it regularly so it keeps burning steadily. Don’t smother it with a ton of food at one meal or extinguish it by skipping a meal. Skipping meals to lose weight sabotages your efforts because your body simply doesn’t want your fire to go out, metaphorically speaking. Skipping meals forces your body to go into a “starvation mode” slowing down your metabolism and burning fewer calories to conserve energy. Skipping meals also usually leaves you ravenous at the next meal and you will usually overdo it, further sabotaging your efforts.
Always remember to choose REAL food. The less processed, fewer packaged foods the better. Stock up on fruits, vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats to keep your body strong and healthy.
Exercise should not be something you dread. It can – and should– be something fun that helps you feel strong and energized. As you age, focus on functional exercise, resistance training and flexibility. You don’t need to be training for a marathon to feel fit, strong and healthy. (Always seek clearance from your physician before starting an exercise program.)
Here are some tips:
Functional training engages your muscles while in positions that are conducive to becoming stronger to enhance your activities of daily living.
In a nutshell, it means your daily movements become easier, your stability improves and your stamina increases. Also, it isn’t necessarily important to target your abs when doing functional training as your whole core (and whole body) is generally engaged.
Specific exercises include balance postures such as:
Cardiovascular exercise improves cardiac and respiratory functions, as well as increases muscular endurance. But, again, you don’t have to be an elite athlete. Everyday walking can be very helpful or choose an activity that you love. What about dancing, swimming, biking, throwing the ball around with your grandchild? Any activity is good!
Article from Kudos Little Pink Book
By Alisa Craig, Director of Wellness, Hurley Wellness Center and Joanna Sheill, Registered Dietitian