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Healthy Living Is a Lifestyle Choice

What is healthy living?

We hear about it almost daily – from the TV to social media sites to even what our children bring home from school – but do we really know what it means? Many think when they hear healthy living of a person who works out daily in the gym/yoga/marathon runners/etc., eats a highly restrictive diet, swallows a regimen of various vitamins, meditates, steers clear of the sun and lives to be two thousand years old and looks 20. We all know it is important to live healthy but sometimes the thought of it is overwhelming and thought to be unrealistic in our personal lives that it just doesn’t happen.

Healthy living doesn’t need to be another stressor in your life and it doesn’t need to be hard. In fact, living healthier will help lessen the stress you already deal with on a daily basis.

Healthy eating with antioxidant.

With busy stressful lifestyles, many of us find ourselves eating quick and easy rather than quick and healthy. It is simple to run through a drive thru to tend to a growling stomach but not always a very healthy choice. It is what adds to that constant battle of the bulge and unnecessary health issues. So what is a quick easy way to start a healthier eating lifestyle? Simple – by adding foods into your diet that are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent the damage caused by oxygen exposure, support brain health and cognitive function and have been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In addition the aid in delaying the aging process, neutralize free radicals that damage tissues and cause inflammation, and basically, help you live a longer healthier life. In addition, you can use antioxidant skin care products that will also help slow the aging process.

A person should eat five servings of antioxidant rich foods a day. So let’s just cut to the chase and just get right to foods and spices you can add to your foods that will boost your antioxidant intake and how you can benefit from each.

  • Blueberries: Very high in antioxidants! Note that the dark colored fresh fruits and vegetables have more antioxidants – the darker the berry the higher the benefit!
  • Acai: Twice the antioxidants as blueberries!
  • Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Concord Grapes are all great choices too!
  • Hot Coffee, Hot Tea and Red Wine please!
  • Cinnamon: Decreases blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.
  • Turmeric: Helps relieve arthritis and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Paprika and Cayenne Pepper: Lower blood pressure and improves circulation.
  • Rosemary: Improve learning capabilities.
  • Ginger: Decreases blood pressure, alleviate arthritis pain and reduces cancer risks.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Promotes health, well-being, and longevity while countering chronic inflammation, supporting heart health, fighting diabetes, and may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Dark Chocolate: Lowers high blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.
  • Walnuts: Aids in brain plasticity and cognitive function and may prevent colon and breast cancer while aiding in managing insulin and blood sugar health.

Foods rich in fiber are also an awesome addition to healthy eating and achieving your 5 a day in antioxidants. Some great ones to incorporate into your diet are steel-cut oatmeal, beans, brown rice, chia, and whole grain pasta. Healthier eating will help you handle life’s obstacles better as well and give you more energy.

Incorporating a little exercise for a healthy lifestyle.

Now that you see adding antioxidants isn’t too hard to accomplish, let’s look at adding some exercise into your daily routine. Exercising can be added as easy as parking further away from the store and making that walk into it rather than circling looking for the closest spot. Here are a few other exercises you can add that assist in living a healthy lifestyle.
Cardio Training: You should have a decent cardio workout three times a week achieving your targeted optimal heart rate. You can find out what the optimum target heart rate should be for you during a cardio workout by take 220 minus your age and times that by 0.08. You should work out at the targeted heart rate for 20 minutes each time.

Strength Training: The goal is to build muscle mass. You can achieve great strength training through doing lunges as it will build your thighs and lower extremities. Here is a great video on How to do a Proper Lunge. Leg Lifts is another great strength training exercise that builds the core muscles and the muscles along the side of your abdomen. The last one that is beneficial for strength training is pull ups. Each of the mentioned should be done three times a week. Don’t worry if you are not doing tons of reps to start with. You are doing them and should be proud that you are taking the steps towards a healthier living.
Flexibility Training: You can develop flexibility through Yoga exercises and simply working on toe touches and extending your reach a little at a time to where you are able to touch the ground and hand walk out to a plank position then back up to a standing position.

How to deal with stress.
Meditation is a great place to start when dealing with stress but not the only thing you can do to help alleviate stress in your life. You can achieve a healthier lifestyle by learning how to deal with stress because there is no real way to ever eliminate it totally.

The American Heart Association offers up these recommendations:

  • Positive self-talk
  • Stress Stoppers like counting to 10, taking a walk, and getting back to nature.
  • Do something you enjoy for at least 15 minutes a day.
  • Take time to relax!

You can read more on ways to lower stress in your life here “Four Ways to Deal with Stress” from The American Heart Association.

Making healthy changes in your lifestyle will reduce your risks of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and a variety of cancers. And if that isn’t important enough for you to start making some simple changes to your daily routine, keep in mind that in addition to the medical benefits that can be achieved easily; you will also improve the quality of your life and longevity.

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