Don’t be a Couch Potato: Back to the Health Basics
It’s football season, and last month we got cable in our house for the first time in 5 years… and I’m not too proud to admit that there have been days where I have felt like the cat in the picture above. I don’t know about you, but sometimes at the end of the day I am so tired I just have to relax in front of the TV… but I’ve noticed that when I do this for a few days at a time I am rarely more relaxed. In fact, I have found that the more time I spend watching TV during the week, the more stressed I am. Maybe it’s because the TV can be so consuming…. 1, 2, even 3 hours can pass by quickly when you’re binge watching a show on Netflix (guilty!).
Anyways, when I go off the deep end of binge TV watching or spending too much time at the computer, it isn’t long before I am ready to “feel healthy” again. Below is a list of the 8 things I find most helpful to get myself back on track.
8 Daily Habits for a Healthy Lifestyle
1.) Eat small meals every 3-4 hours to stabilize your blood sugar. Frequent eating of the right foods will increase your energy & support your metabolism.
2.) Choose your protein first. Aim for 10-20g+ of protein with every meal and snack. This will keep you full, your energy high and your metabolism burning strong. (If you tend to be hungry all the time, add more protein to stay satiated for longer periods of time).
3.) Choose low GI carbohydrates (mostly vegetables and fruit, with whole grains during the day) at every meal. If you choose a starch, limit your portion to 1 cup or less (or about 30g). Read your nutrition labels and minimize or avoid added sugars like high fructose corn syrup, honey, fructose and agave nectar.
4.) Choose healthy fats, minimize cheese (once per day or less) and avoid trans fats. Keep packaged foods and baked goods to a minimum because hydrogenated oils (AKA trans fats) are often used to preserve these items. Choose real butter, and olive oil in moderation (about 1 tbsp per meal) in cooking to add flavor to your food and keep you satisfied between meals.
5.) Get moving for at least 30 minutes every day. Whether it’s a walk with your spouse, vigorous housework, or going to the gym make sure you build up a sweat every day. If you don’t like to workout at a gym, aim for 8,000-10,000 steps daily. If you need to lose weight, get 60 minutes of activity on most days of the week.
6.) Sleep 7-9 hours per night. This is arguably the most important item of the list, without sleep you will likely lack the will power to do the rest of the items. The average adult needs about 8 hours of sleep (or more) per night to properly release the hormones that support your metabolism and keep you healthy. Without sleep your exercise and diet efforts will suffer.
7.) Do resistance training at least 2 times per week for all your major muscle groups. Building muscle will help support your metabolism and fight against the aging process. If you are short on time, try circuit training and “super sets” to combine your cardio and strength workouts. This can be weight lifting, or body weight exercises like pull ups and push ups.
8.) Stretch daily to reduce muscular tension and stress. Reducing muscular tension will make you feel rejuvenated during the day and help you to sleep better at night. Even something as simple as reaching up to the sky after sitting for a long time can help.
Stay tuned as I will elaborate more on each of the items in my future posts. Also, if you are looking for a simple way to track your healthy habits, I highly recommend downloading the ARGUS app for iphone / android (check it out here.) It’s free, easy to use and you can even set up alerts to remind you to get moving… And if obsessively carrying your phone around with you to track your activity isn’t your thing, check out these fitness trackers below. They’ve come a long way in style, and down in price. Check them out!
Fitness Trackers for Every Style and Budget
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