HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CAN BOOST BODY & MUSCLE STRENGTH
During these extreme times, we began working from home, away from campus, and keeping social distance from as many people as possible. As most of us stay home and are stuck with the foods that have been in our fridge or pantry for a while, we are temporarily living a sedentary lifestyle with increased odds of physical inactivity, excessive eating and sitting, stress, anxiety, and depression. In particular, many of us will gain some weight during the pandemic and may keep the extra weight permanently, which may carry considerable health risks for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and other health problems.
It’s important to take care of both your mind and body. It will pay off in many ways, including:
• Allowing you to take charge of your life and feel good about the choices you make.
• Gaining energy and feeling more fit.
• Improving your physical health.
• Gaining a positive outlook and finding more enjoyment in your life.
• Being a role model for your family and friends.
Any lifestyle change is a “work in progress.” Lasting changes take time. So, begin by setting small goals that are easy to add to your daily life and that you control. Wellness and fitness involve being aware and making healthy choices about diet, exercise, and staying positive. This is the most important investment you can make in your life. Strive for the best health you can have in all areas of your life by making mindful, healthy choices.
Eating right is about more than managing your weight. You’ve got to take in the right balance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to keep all the systems in your body functioning properly, and to keep your bones and muscles strong and healthy. In our weight-focused culture, it’s easy to get so focused on the fat and calories in the food we eat that we fail to consider how a particular meal will affect the entire body. Do you know what nutrients were in your last meal? How will that meal help keep your body’s structure strong?
Build strong bones and muscles
As we age, our bones become more brittle and muscles become weaker, but a nutritious diet now can help preserve bone and muscle strength. For strong bones, your body needs two key nutrients: calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is the mineral that strengthens bones and teeth, and vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium while improving bone growth.
Adults should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 200 international units (IUs) of vitamin D a day. If you’re over 50, make that 1,200mg of calcium and 400 to 600 IUs of vitamin D daily.
Path to improved health
Caring for your physical health through proper diet and nutrition:
Whether meal preparation is for yourself or your family, focus on making smart, healthy meals. Tips for success include:
• Make an effort to have more home-cooked meals. This can help encourage healthy eating. Also, it promotes more family time.
• Let your kids help plan what to eat. Kids love to help make meals and snacks.
• Keep healthy snacks on hand to help kids make good choices. Have more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Have fewer chips and sweets.
• Teach kids to eat when they’re hungry, not when they’re bored, sad, or angry. Respect their ability to know when they feel full.
• Breakfast helps jump-start the day. It provides fuel for a healthy lifestyle and gives you and your child the energy to think faster and more clearly.
• Play “Put the Fork Down” at meals. Put your forks down between bites and take turns sharing your day.
• Balance. Balance what you eat to meet your need for nutrition and enjoyment.
• Variety. Enjoy all foods from important food groups (fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains).
• Moderation. Focus on feeling comfortable instead of being too full after you eat. Use moderation when choosing less nutritious foods.
A food and activity journal can help you understand your eating patterns. Also, it can help you find ways to make simple, healthy changes. Ask your family doctor about how to get started.
When unhealthy food choices lead to weight gain, some people turn to popular diets to achieve quick weight loss. Diets usually tell you what you should or should not eat. Instead, focus on understanding why you eat in the first place. Are you eating because you are hungry, bored, sad, or angry? Is there something else causing your urge to eat
Also, don’t restrict your food. Try to balance between good and bad choices. Make good choices more often and limit the bad foods to small portions once in a while. For lasting dietary changes, there are some simple keys to eating healthy. Start by asking yourself if you are hungry. Hunger signals your body when it needs to be nourished. Let hunger tell you when you need to eat and how much to eat. Many people don’t drink enough water and the brain can mistake thirst for hunger. So if you feel hungry, it can be a good idea to drink a glass of water first to see if you are really just thirsty.
Caring for your physical health through exercise:
Being active also is important to a healthy lifestyle. And it’s important in preventing serious problems like heart disease and diabetes. However, before you increase your activity level, talk to your doctor. Your weight is affected by the energy you take in (what you eat and drink) and the energy you use (physical activity). Every step counts. Studies have shown that every step you take helps you manage your weight and improve your overall health. You may want to track your steps with a step counter (pedometer) or an activity tracker. This can encourage you to increase your daily activity. The more steps you take per day, the better. One goal is to aim for at least 10,000 steps per day, and you should be trying to get in at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. Other tips for achieving a healthy lifestyle include:
• Limit screen time (TV, computer, and video games). Suggest or consider other options like reading, board games, and playing outside.
• Enjoy the outdoors. Go to the park, ride bikes, swim, or enjoy a walk around the neighborhood.
• Participate in (or encourage your children to participate) in sports. This is a great way to build coordination, skills, and confidence.
• Plant a garden.
• Wash your car.
• Walk to the mailbox.
• Walk over to a neighbor’s house to visit.
• Turn off the TV. Turn on some music and dance.
• Walk or bike to work, school, or in the community.
• Stretch at your desk.
• Take the stairs.
• Use lunchtimes to take a walk.
• Get up and move around your office.
• Take “active” vacations.
• Go hiking or biking.
Caring for your physical health through a positive attitude:
Staying positive and motivated can help you live a healthy life. Also, it makes it easier to make healthy food decisions and to stay active. Tips for staying positive include:
• Choose to do something you enjoy. Many people prefer walking. You can walk outdoors, at home on a treadmill, alone, or with friends and family.
• Make it fun. Listen to music or audio books while you walk or jog. Watch TV or a video while you exercise.
• Keep it interesting. Try different activities like tennis, swimming, dancing, biking, team sports, or yoga.
• Write it down. Schedule time to be active just as you would for any other important appointment.
• Give yourself credit. Set short-term goals and plan rewards for yourself all along the way.
• Be flexible. Life will sometimes get in the way of your plans. Stay flexible and get back on track right away.
• Spend time with friends. Limit your exposure to friends who are negative.
• Get away from the office, school, or everyday life with day trips, mini-vacations, or full vacations.
• Read an inspirational book.
• Volunteer. Helping others can improve your emotional outlook.
If you are a parent, help your family develop good emotional health. Parents are the most important role models. As parents, you set examples by being active, eating healthy, and living a balanced lifestyle. The following family tips can help:
• Commit to making healthy choices and involve your kids. Ask them what your family can do to make healthy changes in your lives.
• Take time out to have fun and connect with each other. Playtime for all ages is part of a healthy life.
• Have a positive attitude. Show your kids how great it feels to lead a healthy lifestyle
Things to consider
Don’t let stress get you down. We all feel stressed at times. How you react to stress will determine its effect on you. Take steps to prevent stress when you can and manage it when you can’t.
Take care of yourself. It is important to be mindful of the choices you make for your personal health and well-being. Nothing is more important than taking care of yourself. Set aside time every day for yourself. Be active, enjoy hobbies, and share time with your family and friends.
• Strive for balance in both your personal and work life.
• Make time for important relationships in your life.
• Ask for help whenever you need support from others.
• Find ways to relieve stress, like physical activity and relaxation techniques.
• Be open-minded to try something new, like a hobby or activity.
• Don’t let special events and holidays sabotage your healthy lifestyle. Remember to get back on track with a healthy diet if you splurge at Christmas or a wedding. Use the hotel gym if you travel. And enjoy the opportunity to meet new people when you can.
Questions to ask your doctor:
• Is there an easy way to get back on track with diet after a holiday or vacation?
• Making healthy food choices when you travel internationally is difficult. Do you have tips?
• Can I reverse chronic diseases (such as diabetes) by committing to a healthy lifestyle?
• What if lifestyle changes don’t improve my mood and emotional wellness?
Here is a check-list of some basic tips and resources for how to maintain your healthy lifestyle, body weight, and overall well-being while staying home and engaging in social distancing. See how many you can follow –
1.Measure and Watch Your Weight – Keeping track of your body weight on a daily or weekly basis will help you see what you’re losing and/or what you’re gaining.
2.Limit Unhealthy Foods and Eat Healthy Meals – Do not forget to eat breakfast and choose a nutritious meal with more protein and fibre and less fat, sugar, and calories.
3.Take Multivitamin Supplements – To make sure you have sufficient levels of nutrients, taking a daily multivitamin supplement is a good idea, especially when you do not have a variety of vegetables and fruits at home. Many micro-nutrients are vital to your immune system, including vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, and E, as well as zinc, iron, copper, selenium, and magnesium. However, there’s currently NO available evidence that adding any supplements or “miracle mineral supplements” to your diet will help protect you from the virus or increase recovery. In some cases, high doses of vitamins can be bad for your health.
4. Drink Water and Stay Hydrated, and Limit Sugared Beverages – Drink water regularly to stay healthy, but there is NO evidence that drinking water frequently (e.g. every 15 minutes) can help prevent any viral infection.
5. Exercise Regularly and Be Physically Active – At this time, at-home workouts may be a good idea. But you can also walk your dog or run outside. Be sure you know what’s going on in your area and if there are any restrictions or mandatory self-quarantines.
6. Reduce Sitting and Screen Time – Exercise can’t immunize you from your sedentary time. Even people who exercise regularly could be at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease and stroke if they spend lots of time sitting behind computers. Practically speaking, you could consider taking breaks from sedentary time, such as walking around the office/room a couple of times a day.
7. Get Enough Good Sleep – There is a very strong connection between sleep quality and quantity and your immune system. You can keep your immune system functioning properly by getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
8. Go Easy on Alcohol and Stop Smoking – Drinking alcohol does not protect you from coronavirus infection. Don’t forget that those alcohol calories can add up quickly. Alcohol should always be consumed in moderation. Nicotine intake and tobacco use are harmful in many ways, affecting various structures and functions in the body. Smoking can increase the risk of developing back pain and interfere with the body’s natural healing processes, including tissue and bone formation.
9. Find Ways to Manage Your Emotions – It is common for people to have feelings of fear, anxiety, sadness, and uncertainty during a pandemic.
10. Use an App to Keep Track of Your Movement, Sleep, and Heart Rate – Keeping track of your activities will help you a great deal in managing your time and prioritizing healthy habits.
Please let us know if you have any questions and do leave a comment.
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