Guest Post: Get Healthy By Starting With The Basics

July 5, 2017

To start off the summer, we’re excited to bring you a guest post by Julia Merrill about simple tweaks to your routine to get and stay healthy! Julia is a retired nurse on a mission. She wants to use information to close the gap between medical providers and their patients. She started to do just that. 

Attention Women: Get Healthy By Starting With The Basics

Getting healthy doesn’t require following a strict diet or spending countless hours in the gym seven days a week. You can improve your health by making small and gradual changes in your diet and physical activity to reap large benefits.

Is Your Diet Balanced?

Are you guilty of hitting up the drive-thru line every day after work or on the way home from picking up the kids at school? When was the last time you even ate anything remotely close to a vegetable? It is important for women to eat a balanced diet to ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to function effectively and correctly. It won’t do you any good if all of your calories are coming from sugary snacks or processed food. Your daily calories should come from fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and lean protein. Put simply, a calorie is the amount of energy in food that you and your body use to perform daily functions such as breathing and walking. If calories are energy, then they can’t be all that bad, but you need to be careful about your consumption of empty calories that provide little or no nutritional value such as cookies or ice cream.

Eating a balanced diet can be achieved by making small adjustments to your current diet. Try to make at least half of your plate fruits and vegetables, or add them to main or side dishes. Consider keeping a bowl of your favorite fruit on the counter or placing cut up, pre-portioned vegetables at eye-level in the fridge so that you are more likely to grab them for a snack. Just like having a jar of cookies on the counter is a constant temptation, the constant presence of healthy options everywhere you turn makes it more convenient to maintain a healthy diet. Remember that part of a balanced diet is cutting out empty calories such as sweets, but you don’t have to cut them out entirely. Eat them as an occasional treat, or find a healthier option such as frozen yogurt or plain popcorn with a little bit of caramel drizzled on top. Consider watching your portions too, as a lot of unnecessary calories are consumed by simply eating too much.

Are You Physically Active?

It is important to pair good nutrition with physical activity to improve the functions of various parts of your body such as your heart and brain. When you exercise, your heart rate increases to circulate oxygen, and the more you exercise, the better your heart will become at this process. You can achieve a lower resting heart rate as well as stimulate the growth of new blood vessels to lower blood pressure. Your brain is positively affected in several ways as well. Physical activity causes your brain cells to ramp up, leaving you feeling more alert and awake during and after exercise. As you start to work out regularly, your brain will grow accustomed to the surge of blood and adapt by turning certain genes on and off. This sort of change increases the function of your brain cells, and helps protect against mental disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and age-related decline. Your brain also gets a spike in serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter that plays a role in your mood.

One of the deterrents to getting active is a lack of time, but no one said you had to dedicate hours a day to your physical fitness. Do short bursts of activity throughout the day such as a quick jog before going to work or taking the stairs rather than the elevator. Consider including your furry friend by walking your dog a few days a week to enjoy the outdoors and unwind. If you don’t have a dog, offer to walk a busy neighbor’s dog for a little extra cash, and earn a workout motivator to boot. You’ll always have someone to count on that is ready for a workout without any scheduling conflicts. Be sure to include a variety in your physical activity endeavors such as trying new activities and sports, learning a new genre of dance, or planning regular family outings to the park or playground.

Improving your overall wellness isn’t difficult if you implement small changes rather than trying to alter everything in one day. Take a look at your diet and exercise habits, and find the adjustments you can make and stick to.






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