New Year, New You

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Well, here we are — Jan. 2, 2013. How many of us made resolutions regarding our weight, health and money? Here are some guidelines to help make those resolutions realities.

When it comes to losing weight and getting into shape, good intentions are never quite enough. And there’s not a quick-fix solution, either. It takes a well-balanced approach and a commitment to making healthy, long-term changes.

According to Dr. Marc Sorenson, people who succeed in losing weight and keeping it off have several things in common in three important areas:

• Nutrition — They eat a low-fat, low-sugar diet with lots of vegetables and fruit, and they do not count calories.

• Exercise — They are physically active and commit to making exercise the first thing they do every day.

• Education — They self-monitor with weigh-ins. Understanding what is going on inside you gives you the advantage you need to succeed.

“Anyone trying to lose weight and regain their health needs to pay attention to these factors,” said Sorenson, founder and director of the National Institute of Health and Fitness (NIHF), which is hosted at the Zermatt and Homestead Resorts in Midway, Utah.

“You need to focus your efforts on fitness and nutrition, and you need to educate yourself on techniques for maintaining your slimmer, healthier body.”

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Eating better

Many people have found it helpful to keep track of what they eat, especially in the beginning. They are often surprised at their own eating habits once they see it in black and white. Food diaries can help you see where you need to be cutting back and making changes.

“Many people fear they have to go hungry in order to lose weight,” said Sorenson. “But it’s a simple fact that you don’t need to starve yourself.”

Getting active

While you might be able to lose weight simply by cutting back on calories, you won’t be able to keep the weight off. Before starting a fitness program, you need to know your starting place. Talk to your doctor to find out your body mass index (BMI), weight and blood pressure, and get recommendations on what kinds of activities are safe for you to begin.

It can be very helpful to have an exercise buddy, or even a group. Not only will it help you be more accountable to sticking to your plan, a friend can make exercising much more fun.

Making the commitment

Taking care of your body isn’t about fitting into a small sized pair of jeans or a smaller special-occasion dress. It’s about making a long-term commitment to your health.

Some people have found that a helpful way to get started on the right track is to go to a health and fitness resort. Expert teams not only help people begin the weight loss process, but give the education and support needed to maintain their efforts once they leave.

“Understanding what is going on inside you, and being properly educated on how to take care of yourself, gives you the advantages you need to succeed,” said Sorenson.

Sorenson says that when choosing a health and fitness resort, make sure it matches your personal goals.

“Do you want a militaristic approach, or a more supportive and nurturing environment? We believe it’s important to treat our guests with respect and to nurture them so they are equipped to take what they have learned home with them and apply it to the rest of their lives.”

You can learn more about the programs at NIHF at www.NIHF.com.

Source: National Institute of Health and Fitness

Tips for heart-healthy living

It beats about 100,000 times a day, 35 million times a year. It pumps blood through the body three times every minute, taking that blood on the equivalent of a 12,000- mile trek every 24 hours. Even at rest, it works twice as hard as the leg muscles of a person running. The heart is a remarkable, vital muscle that warrants great care and maintenance. Yet one in every four deaths is due to heart disease.

While there are some inherent risk factors such as aging or family history, poor lifestyle choices are often to blame for the onset of heart disease. The good news is that making better lifestyle choices reduces your risk of heart disease — and it’s not as hard as you might think.

Heart-healthy living works

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who most closely followed the diet and lifestyle recommendations of the American Heart Association (AHA) had a 76 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease, and a 51 percent lower risk of all-cause deaths than those who didn’t follow recommendations as closely.

The study also found that only a small number of people follow all or most of the AHA guidelines for heart health. So it’s not surprising that heart disease is still the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can start making changes today that will help make your heart healthier in the long run.

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Three changes you can make

  1. Eat better

One of your best weapons against cardiovascular disease is a healthy diet. Eating a wide variety of foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt, but rich in nutrients can help protect your heart. Instead of thinking about a healthy diet in terms of what you can’t eat, think about it in terms of what you can eat. Add more:

• Fruits and vegetables — about 4-1/2 cups a day

• Whole grain foods — at least three 1-ounce servings a day

• Fish — at least two 3-1/2-ounce servings a week

• Nuts, legumes and seeds — at least four servings a week

About 25 percent of the cholesterol in your blood comes from the foods you eat. Eating healthy foods low in cholesterol, trans fats and saturated fats, as well as foods that are high in fiber, can help keep cholesterol levels in check.

Another way to help control cholesterol levels is by incorporating soy protein into your healthy diet. An extensive body of research has shown that soy-based diets can reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides, and raise HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).

  1. Get moving

According to the AHA, nearly 70 percent of Americans don’t get the physical activity they need. But daily physical activity can increase your quality and length of life. Moderate exercise can help you lose weight, reduce your chances of stroke, diabetes and heart disease complications, lower your blood pressure and prevent other serious medical complications.

Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity a day, five times per week. Here are some easy ways to get moving:

• Start walking — Walk just fast enough to get your heart rate up. Try taking brisk, 10-minute walks throughout the day; park farther away from your destination; take the stairs instead of the elevator; walk the dog after dinner or walk to a neighborhood destination instead of driving.

• Do chores — Outdoor chores like gardening, raking leaves and washing the car are good ways to get moving. Cleaning house does it, too. Try turning on some music and dancing while doing chores.

Even small changes like these can give you health benefits, but you’ll see bigger benefits when you increase the duration, frequency and intensity of your activities. Always talk with your doctor to find out if there are any activities that you should not be doing.

  1. Lose weight

Being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease all on its own. Extra weight puts more burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and bones. Being overweight increases the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, as well.

Losing even 10 pounds can produce a significant reduction in blood pressure.

• Talk to your doctor — Find out what your calorie intake should be for someone of your age, gender and level of physical activity.

• Set reasonable goals — Don’t go for fad diets that claim you’ll lose 10 pounds in a week. Slow and steady weight loss is more likely to stay off, and you’ll be healthier in the long run.

The good news is, if you put steps one and two into place — eating healthier foods and getting more active — step three should be a natural by-product of your efforts.

Your heart works hard for you; start taking better care of it today so that it can keep working for you for a long time.

Source: Reliv International

Winter workout tips

Just because the season has changed, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your workout routine. Here are a few winter workout tips from Aaron Ruth, strength and conditioning coach at St. Vincent’s Sports Performance in Indianapolis, Ind., which works with more than 300 professional and amateur athletes. You can stay fit no matter what the temperature is outside.

Don’t skip the warm up — In colder weather, your muscles are tighter, making them more prone to muscle pulls and strains. Spend a little more time warming up your body to help you avoid injury.

Stay hydrated — When it’s cooler outside, you generally drink less water; but when you exercise, you still sweat and lose fluids and electrolytes. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and during your workout to avoid dehydration.

Dress in layers — Exercising generates body heat and sweat, and when sweat starts to dry in cold weather you can get chilled. Dress in layers that can be removed when you start to sweat. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material, which will draw sweat away from your body. Then add a layer of fleece or wool, and top it all off with a waterproof and breathable outer layer.

Protect Your Extremities — When it’s cold outside, the body tends to concentrate blood flow to the core, which can leave your hands, feet and ears susceptible to frostbite. Wear gloves, warm socks and a hat or headband.

Wear sunscreen — It might be cooler outside, but you can still get sunburned. Choose sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, and has an SPF of at least 30. Don’t forget to protect your lips with a lip balm that has sunscreen.

Vary your routine — Beat the winter workout blues by changing up your routine and by having fun. Get the whole family moving by doing things together such as building a snowman, going ice skating or sledding, making snow angels, and having a snowball fight.

Have a post-workout refueling plan — What you put in your body after you work out is just as important, if not more, than what you put in it before. After exercising, refuel and rebuild your muscles with essential carbs and protein by drinking great tasting Rockin’ Refuel® Intense Recovery protein fortified milk or similar product. Made with 100 percent real milk, Intense Recovery is packed with 20 grams of natural protein and features a 2:1 carb to protein ratio, which is ideal for optimal muscle recovery.

For more tips for your winter workout or to purchase Rockin’ Refuel Intense Recovery, visit www.rockinrefuel.com.

Source: Rockin’ Refuel

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