What is important to you in the New Year? If you are like most people, good health – both physical and emotional – is at the top of your priorities list.
In fact, according to the government’s official website, USA.gov, getting fit, eating healthy food, losing weight, managing stress, and quitting smoking, are among top resolutions Americans make each year.
Good health is the basis of our overall quality of life, which is why it is so important to put it first. Whether you want to prevent the most common diseases or manage the ones you may already have, you should start focusing on these goals right away.
Though this doesn’t come as news to anyone, it is worth repeating that the best way to ensure good health and longevity is through regular physical activity and sensible eating habits.
Physical activity and weight control prevent obesity – a true national epidemic – and, subsequently, a slew of illnesses: heart disease (the leading cause of death in the United States), diabetes, stroke, and several kinds of cancer.
By releasing endorphins and elevating the levels of serotonin, exercise improves our mood and reduces stress, anxiety and depression.
Because it increases oxygen-rich blood flow to the brain, encouraging the formation of new brain cells, exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, as well as other mental conditions that impact our cognitive abilities, such as dementia.
Exercise increases muscle mass and strength – essential for optimum health.
Physical fitness strengthens the bones, improves mobility, relieves pains, aches and stiffness of arthritis, and keeps joints and tendons more flexible.
Calorie-restricted diet based on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat diary, and lean protein will keep your weight under control and be beneficial to health in general.
Now that you know WHY exercise is essential for a healthy body and mind, we recommend including these routines into your exercise program:
- Brisk, vigorous activity that raises your heart rate and breathing for an extended period of time. For example, interval training is the quickest way to get fit, burn lots of fat and calories, build cardiovascular endurance, and improve strength and agility. And since this form of exercise speeds up your metabolism and fat oxidation longer than traditional steady-state cardio, you will continue to burn calories and fat for hours after you finish your workout.
- Strength training can include workouts with weights, or use your own body for resistance by doing squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks, among other exercises.
- Flexibility and balance exercises will keep joints supple, relieve stiffness, and help prevent potentially serious fractures due to falls.
Remember that the federal guidelines recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most, and preferably all, days of the week. So if you focus on achieving these goals, your New Year will be happy and HEALTHY!