Start Strong

This is the year you're deciding to get healthier, but where do you start? Here are some ideas to get you going.

1) Control Your Impulses. Incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your daily eating routine. Select whole fruits and vegetables whether canned, frozen, or fresh instead of processed food, which have preservatives and sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup.

2) Lift a Finger. Start that exercise routine. The American Heart Association and American College of Sports Medicine recommend a minimum of three days a week of moderate-intensity physical activity such as brisk walking (three-mile-an-hour pace). If you don’t have 30 minutes to spare, you can receive the same benefit from three, brisk 10-minute sessions throughout the day.

3) Get Your Zzz’s. Sleep allows your body and metabolism to work more effectively which is vital to overall health and mental well-being. Inadequate sleep compromises your energy levels, productivity, and ability to focus. Strive to get between 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

4) Deal with It. Put nicely, manage your stress. Most of us experience stress in one way or another throughout our day. Prolonged stress can cause numerous health problems so it is important that you learn to manage your stress. Great ways to deal with stress are to meditate, to take a hot bath, or to get a relaxing massage. Not only does a massage make you feel good, it can increase your circulation and help you sleep better.

5) Loosen UP! Improve your balance and flexibility by trying yoga or tai chi. These activities consist of gentle movements, leaving your body feeling relaxed and energized. They focus on the mind/body connection as well as on fitness.

6) Develop a Drinking Habit. Drink water! The human body is 55%-75% water, so it is important to get at least 64 fluid ounces of water daily. Increase water by an additional 6-8 ounces for every 15 minutes of exercise.

7) Move It. Okay, so you did your daily exercise routine—that doesn’t mean you don’t have to move the rest of the day. Incorporate physical activity into your day. Take the stairs whenever possible, park in the back of the parking lot, walk your dog, play with your kids, etc.

8) Gain Some Weights. Pump some iron, that is. As we age our bodies lose lean muscle, which leads to strength loss and a decrease in metabolism. Strength training helps increase your lean muscle mass, which increases your metabolism and helps burn more calories, even while you are resting.

9) Enjoy Fish. Particularly fatty-type fish like salmon and mackerel twice a week. These fish are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which reduce the risk of a heart attack.

10) Stop Dealing with Everyone Else for a Minute. With so many responsibilities in our lives, it is often hard to take time for ourselves. Make it a priority each day to set aside time to enjoy a quiet bath, listen to your favorite music, or enjoy a funny movie.

Mary Meier, RCEP is the manager/owner of HealthBalance in Bozeman. Contact her at 922-2078 or [email protected]