During this past year, with Covid-19 on our minds, mask wearing, washing hands, vaccine, kids in school, herd immunity are the topics in the news daily.
Always in the headlines of magazines you see in the checkout lines, “Healthy Recipes,” “Lose Weight,” “Easy Exercise,” etc. Which one catches your eye most? That’s why it’s on
the cover. We’re always looking for the quickest, easiest way to be healthy. Even your “home page” on your computer knows which articles you click to read and places them towards the top of your news feed.
We all know fried foods, refined carbs, sweets, in general, contain too much sugar, so how can we eat healthy when stress causes us to crave these. When we get home from work, the quickest thing to grab is one of these in the pantry. We know we should keep fresh fruit for this but does it fill the craving?
How can we change our habits? Baby steps are always the best. You probably have heard or read that it takes a month to create a habit that will become part of your daily routine.
Let’s review the fundamentals some without getting too fanatical.
Hydration—since your body is made of up to 60% water, this is the most important nutrient in our body. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to only drink water. Many fruits contain water, such as melons, berries, and citrus. These also contain sugars, so be aware. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics so be mindful of how much you consume. Another way to add water is to have soups (non-cream based) to your meals. These will also add other nutrients.
Nutrition—your body also needs food to survive. Without thinking of diets, think of fueling your body. Try to make it a point to eat:
Proteins include meats, eggs, beans, lentils, soy, nuts, beans, lentils, and many other vegetables. Proteins usually are also high in calories but are necessary for maintaining health. A dietitian can create a menu guideline if you want to lose or gain weight.
Vitamins and Minerals can be found in most vegetables and fruits. Try to eat a variety of colors to be sure to get the most.
Grains are also important. Whole grains are best.
Exercise—this just means movement. You do not have to be in a gym to exercise. With the current pandemic, a lot of gyms have closed or have limited access.
Cardio needs can typically be meet with a daily walk or run for 30 minutes. This can be broken up into 10-minute intervals. Housework is also good for your daily exercise needs— mopping and vacuuming count while going up and down steps creates some intensity.
Resistance or strength training can consist of lifting children, groceries, and laundry. Simple things around the house can also be used for weights. A full gallon of liquid weighs about 8 pounds. Various can goods usually have a weight listed on them.
Sleep—is also important for your health. An adult needs 7 to 9 hours daily. A teen should have 8 to 10, and a toddler 11 to 14. You can’t “catch up” on sleep. It’s best to have a daily wake up and retiring time. Of course, it’s okay to alter those times once in a while.
If you are trying to lose weight or just “tone” you should consider consulting a Personal Trainer or a Dietitian to create a personalized plan.
The bottom line is to be realistic in your goals; a healthy lifestyle is achievable.
Roe Davis is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Senior Fitness Specialist, and ACE Orthopedic Exercise Specialist who works at Mount Nittany Health Fit For Play.