It’s February! How are those New Year’s Resolutions doing? Are you eating healthier foods? Are you exercising regularly? Are you getting proper rest? Did you give up smoking? Of all the things you can do for yourself to become healthier, studies show that the single one best thing you can do is to be a non-smoker. Giving up cigarettes will improve your health in many ways and could lengthen your life for as many as 10 years. If you have tried and failed please don’t give up, try again. If you are unsure as to how to do it, or need support, go on-line. Health Canada and the Canadian Lung Association have web-sites with plenty of information to help you.
If you are a non-smoker looking to improve your health through eating habits and exercise consider these few tips. Consume some protein at every meal or snack, especially when consuming carbs. This helps maintain energy. The body takes longer to metabolize protein. Your blood sugar levels and therefore your energy will be more even. Consuming carbohydrates causes a rise in blood sugar levels. The body releases insulin to stabilize the sugar levels. The more carbs in the diet, especially the sugary ones, the higher the insulin spike. This also means a bigger drop as the body works to maintain an even level. This is the reason for increased energy after a chocolate bar but then an energy drop not longer after. Avoid the afternoon chocolate bar as a “pick me up'” for this reason. Choose healthier carbs and some protein instead. Add protein to carbs at meal time to keep blood sugar levels even. Some protein sources are nuts, peanut butter, yogurt, cheese, eggs and meats.
One thing to go easy on most of the time is sugar. Not only does it cause an insulin spike, it also causes inflammation. If you have arthritis, sugar will make it worse. Keep in mind that alcoholic drinks contain sugar. Alcohol also dehydrates you. Dehydration causes joint pain as well. If consuming alcohol be sure to also consume water to lessen dehydration. FYI …If you have exercised intensely enough to sweat and wake the following day with a headache that feels like a hangover yet you haven’t consumed any alcohol, you are dehydrated. Be sure to hydrate well after exercise to avoid headache, joint pain and also to prevent dry skin.
Need help with motivation to exercise regularly? Hire a trainer or attend fitness classes. It’s the best way to keep yourself on track if you are lacking in motivation to get to the gym or to put full effort into your workout. Make an appointment with a trainer or with yourself at class time. You will not doubt find you work a little harder in both of these situations than you do on your own. If you like classes, attend as often as possible and get as much variety as you can. Mix your week with various cardio, muscle, and combination classes as well as classes such as yoga and pilates. This will give you an excellent “training for life” workout plan. Working out with a trainer can be more costly but the benefits are well worth it. You will engage in a totally personal workout designed to make the most of your time, abilities and even weaknesses as you are gently pushed to improve them. It’s the beginning of a new month. Revisit your resolutions. Make the effort again. “You have it in you right now to get where you want to be later” .