Monday, June 13, 2011

3 Things

It's Monday - the beginning of a new week, for some, the unofficial beginning of summer with the end of the school year.  Since we tend to begin new routines at beginnings (New Year's Day, birthdays, etc.) here are three things you can do today to begin a new, healthier routine.

1.  Drink Up!
Researchers agree that we are woefully under-hydrated.  Muscle cramping, headaches, insomnia, cravings and fatigue are just a few of the symptoms of dehydration.  Don't waste your money on special vitamin-infused waters (their manufacturers admit they don't actually carry any health benefits except making your wallet thinner) or sports beverages (unless you are an endurance athlete).  Regular old water is the beverage that will bring you the most benefit.  A good rule of thumb for how much water you need each day is to take your body weight (in pounds) and divide it in half.  The number you end up with (in pounds) is the number of OUNCES you should aim to drink each day (for example, if you weigh 100 lbs, drink 50 ozs of water).  It's a good idea to drink the bulk of your water during the first half of your day to prevent frequent trips to the bathroom during the night.


2.  Eat Your Veggies!
Add in an extra serving of fresh fruits and vegetables to every meal, and gradually increase to a total of 2 to 3.  More than 3/4 of all Americans fall way short of our recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.  Many don't even eat a single serving of them on a daily basis.  Aim to have one extra serving of fruit or vegetables with each of your meals in simple ways:  a whole carrot, a small bowl of grape tomatoes, sliced sweet peppers, an apple, banana or bowl of strawberries - during this season of abundant, fresh produce no extra cooking is even necessary!  You'll increase the amount of gut-friendly fiber, immunity-boosting phytonutrients and cancer-fighting compounds that are impossible to replicate while adding colorful eye-appealing, great-tasting simple side dishes that just might begin to take the place of those boring old fries...


3.  Get Moving!
Remember being a kid and playing???  We used to think of physical activity as "fun" and now we think of it as "work".  We used to live in a world where physical activity was hard to avoid and calories were difficult to come by.  Now it's the opposite.  Many of us have to purpose to make physical activity a regular part of our day for at least 30 minutes (but even 15 is a great place to start).  Studies show that when we identify ourselves as "exercisers" we are more likely to actually exercise.  Can you call yourself a "walker"?  A "runner"?  A "swimmer"?  A "biker"?  How about an "active person"?  Can you refer to exercise as something you "get" to do, rather than "have" to?  Make movement a non-negotiable part of each and every day.  Facebook will still be there, those favorite TV shows can be recorded, but today's exercise is something you will NEVER be able to recapture at another time.

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