Category: Healthy Activities

Stay Healthy In Retirement

Establish a Healthy Eating Plan

There are many benefits you can derive from having a healthy eating plan, which you can alter as your body and life change over time. A healthy diet is the foundation of everything, and with it you can stay mentally sharp, strengthen the immune system, drive up your energy level, and ward off illness and disease. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, a balanced diet makes it easier for you to manage chronic health issues and speeds up recuperation.

To have a well-balanced diet, don’t forget to include breads or any other cereals, milk and milk products, meat or protein alternatives, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily eating plan. Make sure to minimize sugar, sodium and fat consumption. To keep your body well-hydrated, drink at least eight glasses of water each day.

Maintain an Active Lifestyle

Living an active lifestyle in retirement is one of the critical things to keep you in good physical shape and mental health. Your health will immensely improve even if you can only spare 15 to 30 minutes each day to devote for walking or any forms of physical activity. Exercise helps to build strong muscles and bones. When combined with a balanced and healthy diet, exercise reduces fat tissues in your body. With strong muscles, you become mobile, improve your balance and protect your joints and spine. The risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and strokes is significantly diminished with physical activity.

Keep Stress under Control

Stress can adversely affect your health and quality of life, if not managed properly. Stress can bear heavy on your emotional state, but it is the damage it inflicts on your heart and digestive system that can be most harmful. To help release stress from your body and mind, you may want to engage yourself in some stress-busting activity such as yoga and meditation.

Make sure to identify the things that put too much stress into your life. After you have done so, minimize interaction with people or avoid situations causing the stress. Live within your means. This may not be usually cited in stress management programs, but it will surely eradicate many stresses in your life.

Children to Be Active

First of all, it helps if you’re pretty active, yourself. You can’t just talk the talk, here. You have to walk the walk. Kids do what they see YOU do.

When your children see that you actively participate in and enjoy outdoors activities, they’ll want to do the same. It’s a blueprint that you’re setting for them that they will touch back on later in life. Be it biking, going swimming, or just playing catch with them, seeing you active and enjoying sports and physical activities will rub off on them in a very big way.

Remember that children tend to pick up your good habits, as well as your bad ones. It has been proven that children with parents who smoke are more likely to become smokers later on. It’s the same for everything else they see you do. Or not do. They are learning from you what to do, and how to be. So, by the same token, your good habits will set an example for them, as well. If they see you just sitting around on the couch all day just lounging around when you’re not at work, and never being active, then that’s setting the tone for the type of adults they’re more likely to become. Sedentary and inactive. Try to avoid that by getting outside and doing physical activities, both with and without your kids.

Good influences start early. Be sure that you’re setting a good, healthy, active example for your child. It can only lead to a better, healthier, happier future for them

Tips for New Runners

Invest in a proper pair of running shoes

This may seem obvious, but I cannot overstate how much trouble you can save yourself by taking 30 minutes to work with an associate at your local running store. They will review your running stride and many times record it so you can see the mechanics of your feet as you run. Who knew that some people’s feet naturally roll outward when the foot lands (Supination) and other’s roll inward (pronation). I certainly did not. After a few minutes with an experienced runner, they were able to recommend the appropriate type of shoe for my natural running stride. They were also able to help me decide on how much support I needed versus how much cushioning the shoe provided.

After being fitted with a proper shoe, the aches in my knees and lower legs (shins and calves) were greatly reduced.

Of all the tips for new runners, this is, without a doubt, the most valuable. If you are making a true lifestyle change then this is a non-negotiable tip.

Less is More

This may sound counter-intuitive, but I assure you that trying to do too much too fast will HURT! Running as with any other exercise requires periods of exertion and recovery in order for the body to adapt and become stronger. Well unlike other activities running requires longer periods of recovery. While sorting through the multitude of plans and advice available on the web as well as through trial and error, the 80/20 rule is the best place to start. 80 percent of all your running should be at a low or very low intensity. Best advice is if you plan on incorporating running into your life, build up your base and DO NOT OVERTRAIN.

Walking is perfectly fine

If you are just getting into or recently started running, then you already know that it takes a while to build up the endurance to run for more than a short distance. (When I started, I could not run a 1/4 of a mile). While you are building up that endurance there is absolutely nothing wrong with incorporating walking breaks into your training. In fact, it is one of the best ways to help build your endurance as a new runner. Provided the walking is at a brisk pace, your heart rate and breathing will be accelerated and therefore, your body will be actively improving its aerobic conditioning. I am not sure where I first heard it, but it rings very true;

“You go just as far running a 5-minute mile as you do running a 15-minute mile.”- Unknown

Develop a Mantra

At the beginning, I struggled with staying motivated. Truthfully, I still struggle with staying motivated. Let’s face it, it is hard to be motivated when you can only run for 30 seconds and then walk for 2 minutes. It can be hard to truly appreciate the small gains you make day over day. Don’t let this struggle get the better of you. Most people who stop running do so in the first week of trying. Appreciate the small gains and celebrate the improvements. Even if you find that tomorrow you can jog for 31 seconds… celebrate the accomplishment. You earned it. If you begin to have negative thoughts and trust me EVERYONE has them from time to time, develop a mantra to push the thoughts from your mind while running. “I’ve got this”, “All Walls have doors”, or my personal favorite and fallback “Today, Define yourself” are each examples of good strong mantras. My own experience suggests that you should avoid negative words in your Mantra. Avoid Don’t, Can’t, Won’t, etc., the subconscious is a powerful thing no need to feed it negative energy. Whenever you have a negative thought as you run, immediately start to repeat your mantra. Soon, you will be able to push the negative thoughts out as quickly as they appear and allow positive thoughts to replace them. This may be the most overlooked of the tips for new runners.

Winter Running

Do not worry about breaking records

First of all, you need not to worry about increasing mileage or pace during winter times because the cold and icy condition make it more prone for you to slip and injuring yourself. We would like to also advise you to do your warm up indoors. Try to avoid icy roads and go for the snow, which provide better traction and grib. Shorten your stride and run slower for the sake of keeping safe during very ice and wet days ahead.

Clothing

Not surprisingly, you must wear proper winter clothing if you want to run during the winter. Wear thick dry socks and use slightly larger running shoes to accommodate the space needed for these socks. It is essential to keep your feet warm during winter runs to prevent frostbite and vessel problems. Also wear a warm hat during your runs. A great amount of body heat vapors through the head during cold condition and this will affect the circulation in your body. Your hands must be covered in wool gloves and you must also wear thick running suits. For shorts, you can wear those made of polypropylene or Lycra and combine it with wool running trousers.

Avoid Wind-chill

You must be careful and avoid running into a wind-chill. This extreme cold can be bad and dangerous. Experienced runners like to run into the wind to start their run and then return to the starting line with the wind blowing at their backs. This will make your return run easier as your body has become warmer.

Pilates Fitness

History of Pilates

Initially Pilates was designed by a German fitness specialist, Joseph Pilates, in the beginning of the 20th century. It is said that these kind of exercise regimen was formulated by him for people who were injured in the World War II to recover faster. Pilates believed that the mind and the body are interrelated and developed this system to strengthen “a sound mind in a sound body”. He taught many Germans and British people alike, and his students went on to open studios to teach these exercises.

Nowadays, many modern methods of exercising are combined with the traditional Pilates and new forms of Pilates are introduced in many Pilates fitness classes. All these classes follow almost the same principle and have the same benefits.

Who can do these exercises?

Pilates fitness programmes are for anybody and everybody. Sports persons, dancers, athletes, men, women, women in pregnancy and the postnatal period, senior citizens, people who are obese and oversized, can do these forms of exercises. If one chooses to join a Pilates fitness programme, then he or she should choose a quality fitness studio, which would actually tailor-make the exercises to suit one’s needs. Many people avoid them, thinking that they need to be fit to join some classes. But, this is not true. This is actually suitable for people with poor mobility and aches in joints too, as it improves the level of activity.

Pilates for Beginners

There are a lot fitness programmes that are devised to suit beginners as well as advanced learners. As soon as one decides to enrol himself in a programme, he or she should decide on what kind of programme- whether individual, duet or group sessions, is suitable for them.

These are the basic principles involved in all Pilates exercises irrespective of the equipment one uses. Pilates involves the whole body and mind, and as one starts doing these exercises the concentration is brought upon on the whole body. This not only helps one to do the exercise effectively, but also helps the body get accustomed to each and every move. Though these are the basics, a beginner will know much more when he enrols in a Pilates fitness program.

Water Skiing

I have had the opportunity to ski on dozens of freshwater lakes and rivers. I have found that water skiing on a river has some very good benefits such as smooth water all the time as well as sometimes miles of travel without having to turn around. This gives the skier very long runs without having to worry about the boat turning and navigating the boat’s wake. Some of the best times of my life were had while water skiing some of my best friends. Some of my buddies would bring coolers full of beer, plenty of gas money and we would head out for the weekend to do some hard-core smooth water hunting at our favorite lake and then ski our tails off.

Of course in order to go skiing you must have access to a boat. I happened to have had a nice little ski boat that we used all the time. It was a little 1989 Bayliner 20 foot open bow which was really a great little boat for day trips and short weekends. This boat had a V-8 engine and an inboard outboard drive which had no problem pulling three skiers at one time. The top speed was up around 45 mph or 40 knots.

So if you really like the outdoors and the like water and boats I recommend skiing on water as an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors, rivers and lakes firsthand while also getting some great exercise. You can rent boats and wave runners at most recreation areas.

Reduce The Anxiety Of Quitting Cigarettes

  • The fear of the unknown. If you have smoked for a long time then you may be anxious about how you will manage your stress or boredom or drinking sessions without a cigarette. This anxiety is because you are looking at the future without cigarettes from a smokers perspective. A non-smoker never has such concerns.
  • You may be anxious about nicotine withdrawals. Just think about all the times you already go without cigarettes, such as overnight, or at work or on flights or around family, you know which apply to you, and realise that you can manage just fine already.

University studies show that nicotine replacement doesn’t work outside of control groups, and the reason is that smoking is mostly a series of deeply embedded habits and not some serious brain affected drug condition. After all have you ever heard of anyone having to go into rehab to quit smoking?

At a large construction site the company gave out free nicotine patches to all the smokers. Not one of them quit successfully. The reason I know this is that one of them came to see me, and then a few of his co-workers.

  • You may have heard stories about how hard it is to quit, even stupid government advertising implies you will have to try many times. Don’t listen to any of this, they may have tried patches, or cold turkey or the commonly prescribed pharmaceutical which has a long list of side effects, yet still has only a low success rate. Or maybe you have listened to smokers who didn’t really want to quit.

To succeed you need to make a firm decision to do so. Do not wait for the right time or you will still be smoking this time next year. Then book an hypnosis appointment and ensure there is a focus on your needs, e.g. if you suffer anxiety, or are under a lot of stress or concerned about weight gain, then the session needs to be tailored to your exact needs.

Psychological Tactics

Read up about the Benefits of Quitting

The first and foremost thing to do is to read up books, magazines and reports about the benefits of kicking the butt. Read as much as you can about the possible consequences if you continue with cigarettes. Once you decide not to light up, you can motivate others to get rid of this unhealthy habit. Quitting not only improves your lifestyle, but also saves a lot of your hard-earned money as you throw packs of cigarettes away.

Get Moral Support from Others

When you decide to quit, it is difficult doing it alone. To be candid, it is next to impossible. Saying no to cigarettes is easy if you talk to your partner, close friend or any family member who understands you and your shortcomings. Get social and moral support from those who can help you quit. Talk to as many people as possible about your plan to stay away from the lethal sticks. Avoid talking to a friend or colleague who is a chain smoker. Request them not to light up in your presence.

Identify Triggers and Learn to Avoid Them

What are triggers when it comes to smoking? They are psychological or physical stimuli around you that increase your urge to light up on a conscious or subconscious level. The longer you have stayed away from cigarettes, the more powerful are the triggers and your desire to smoke. How do you get rid of them? Here are some ideas to help you:

  • Try to detach yourself from triggers that are difficult to avoid such as puffing away when sipping your morning tea, coffee, or when driving.
  • Remove all smoking paraphernalia such as lighters, ashtrays or matchboxes
  • Thoroughly dry clean all clothing that reeks of tobacco smell
  • Reduce your stress levels that add to your desire to smoke
  • If necessary, talk to a counselor or psychotherapist to avoid smoking triggers

Develop a Hobby or Healthy Habit

When you get rid of any psychological habit such as smoking, you also need to develop a new habit or hobby. These hobbies should be a part of your everyday routine. You can try exercises such as swimming, jogging in the morning, taking vitamin supplements or having a balanced diet. Develop interesting hobbies like reading books, gardening, bird watching, painting or knitting. These hobbies will keep you distracted from lighting up a cigarette and help you quit in due course.

Lose Weight the Healthy Way

Change your Relationship with Food

Have you ever thought about your relationship with food? Most people who are trying to lose weight experience a tumultuous relationship with food. Some are obsessed with eating no fat, no rice, and no sugar, leaving them feeling deprived and more likely to binge thereafter. The key to healthy eating is moderation. Forget about single-item diets. Proper nutrition is essential in healthy weight loss.

  • Eat three square meals everyday. This will eliminate unnecessary cravings and will keep your body properly nourished.
  • Cook as much as you can at home. Home-cooked meals allow you to manage your food portions, choose what ingredients to include, and ensure that there are no unhealthy additions like preservatives and additives.
  • Introduce more vegetables and fruits into your diet. It doesn’t always have to be salad. You can steam your veggies, add spice, or cook them with your other favorite recipes.
  • Find low-calorie alternatives to your favorite food. This is all about being mindful about your food choices. You can choose low-fat milk over the high-fat ones, prepare your own fries, and perhaps bake your meals instead of frying them.
  • Plan healthy snacks like yogurt, fruits, nuts, veggies, and dried fruits. Slowly phase out all the junk food you’ve been eating. Before you know it, eating fruits as snacks will become second nature to you.

Get Active, Slowly but Surely.

Most people get stumped in the beginning, especially those who are stuck in sedentary lifestyles. Others find the initial process so daunting that they end up not doing anything about it at all. Think small steps. It doesn’t have to be a rigorous workout immediately. Start by setting aside at least 20 minutes of your time daily, and do any physical activity while gradually increasing the duration overtime. You can start by thinking about what you enjoy doing the most or what it is that doesn’t drastically disrupt your schedule.

  • Ask yourself what type of exercise excites you. Running doesn’t require expensive gear and it allows you to go outside and get some fresh air. Yoga incorporates both the mind and the body, perfect for those who wish to practice meditation while losing weight at the same time.
  • Focus on the fun part rather than the hard part. Finding an exercise that you enjoy ensures a longer commitment towards getting active. It prevents common pitfalls such as skipping the activity or giving up easily.
  • Gradually add intensity to your workout. Once you get the habit of exercising, it is best to prolong your sets or add body weight exercises to keep it fresh and exciting. This will also prevent an exercise rut. Make sure the change is slow in order to properly condition your body and avoid injury.
  • Incorporate more physical activity in your daily tasks. Instead of driving for your next errand, why not walk. If you’ve been sitting the whole day at the office, do a 5-minute stretching during your breaks. Any simple exercise you can incorporate to your mundane tasks adds up to your healthy weight loss goals overtime.

Going Off to Camp

America has a problem with as many as one in five kids being overweight. Children need to eat balanced, nutritional meals and healthy snacks, and stay active. In a world as fast paced as ours it is difficult to be there for your kids when you hold down a full time job but the effort needs to be made. A healthy lifestyle for kids is very important and involves making the time needed to prepare healthy meals for your children. If left to their own devices we all know well what a child’s menu would consist of and any child who controls his or her own diet by zapping favorite foods in the microwave is in for trouble.

While it is the parents’ responsibility to ensure a healthy lifestyle for kids, research has shown that there are several external factors that are also responsible for our overweight children. Fast food is the number one culprit with their high calorie content and portion size. More children are being driven to school instead of good old fashioned ‘walking the two blocks to school’ concept. Of course this can also be attributed to child safety concerns. With the advent of the television, video game console and the computer it has become increasingly difficult to pry a child away and get them outdoors to play. Ask your child to stop playing his video game and come outside for a game of one-on-one basketball; the look you will get as good as asks whether you are from outer space!

Camps are an excellent solution for tackling this problem; they are geared to provide nutritious food and a whole lot of interesting activities that keep kids active and on their toes. It is hoped that the right eating habits and healthy lifestyle for kids taught at camp will translate to the home environment as well. Some of the benefits of sending your child to camp regularly can be summed up as:

  • Camps are designed to reinforce positive development of children.
  • At camp the child learns about foods that are good for them; these choices are presented in a fun environment in the company of other children, making it an overall happier experience to eat the things that are good for you but you may not like.
  • Camps have adult staffs who serve as mentors to support healthy behavior in terms of eating and activities.
  • There is a range of healthy outdoor activities even for the most die hard television fan and it is always fun to get involved in activities with other children.
  • At camp children experience learning made fun through group activities that stimulate and educate; best of all there is a firm emphasis on the value of good nutrition.