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People tend to focus on nutrition and dieting when they want to be healthy, but eating well is only one part of the equation. Healthy living encompasses many aspects of life and addressing all of them is what makes you healthy and balanced. Incorporating small, yet effective changes can make a big impact. Add one of each of the changes below per week, and you will start to see a difference in how you feel and how you look in no time!
- 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. To approximate how much your body needs, divide your weight (in pounds) by two. The result equals the ounces of fluid you should drink each day. * This hydration formula doesn’t work for people who are obese. As a result, if you are 50 – 100 percent above your ideal body weight, consult your physician on this subject.
- Get Your Zzz’s. 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. Also, promote sound sleep by avoiding caffeine after noon, eating at least two to three hours before bedtime and limiting alcohol intake.
- 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.
- 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. To balance the benefits with the calories, women should limit themselves to no more than one drink a day; men, no more than two. One drink is 4 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer (a bottle or can) or 1 ounce of hard liquor.
- 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!
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