Your choices rub off on others: I took immense satisfaction when I received a Snapchat from a teammate of mine a couple of weeks ago. He wasn’t showing me how drunk he was at 2am; instead he was dipping some celery into a tub of hummus while on the couch at home. He was the last person I was expecting to see this from, but I guess that’s the power a healthy lifestyle can have on those impressionable people around you.
Assess your activity. How much physical activity do you get in a typical week? How intense is that activity? How much variety do you get in your activity, and how much do you enjoy it? The CDC recommends that adults get at least two and a half hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week.
Muscle spasms are involuntary muscle contractions that come on suddenly and are usually quite painful. Dehydration, doing strenuous exercise in a hot environment, prolonged muscle use, and certain diseases of the nervous system may cause muscle spasms. Symptoms and signs of a muscle spasm include an acute onset of pain and a possible bulge seen or felt beneath the skin where the muscle is located. Gently stretching the muscle usually resolves a muscle spasm.
Get enough sleep daily; the CDC recommends the following by age group (naps inclusive); 12-18 hours from birth to 2 months, 14-15 hours from 3-11 months of age, 12-18 hours for 1-3 years of age, 11-13 hours for 3-5 years of age, 10-11 hours for 5-10 years of age, eight and a half to nine and a half hours for 10-17 years of age and those 18 and above need seven to nine hours of sleep. Elderly people need about seven to nine hours but do not sleep as deeply and may awaken at night or wake early, so naps (like kids need) allow them to accumulate the total of seven to nine hours of sleep.
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Repeated dieting can actually lower metabolism and thus make your body retain more of what you put into it. Increasing exercise while not giving your body more food to compensate can also increase body fat storage. Dieting also increases heart disease risk, when compared to simply gaining a little weight. If you really need to lose weight, the most effective way is to increase exercise and cutting only a little food, while concentrating on fruits, veggies, and high fiber foods.

Keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat for a day -- and no fair skipping the items you're embarrassed about. "The idea is to write it down ... without judgment," says Kathianne Sellers Williams, MEd, RD, LD, a nutritionist, wellness coach, and personal trainer with Cafe Physique in Atlanta. "You can't change what you're not aware of or don't acknowledge."
Choosing whole foods and cooking from scratch is a much healthier way to eat than buying pre-packaged or ready-meals which are high in fat and salt but very low in nutrients. To make sure you’re getting a variety of nutrients, vitamins and minerals into your body every day – a quick rule of thumb is to pick a variety of colours for your meals. Be the artist of your meals and paint a colour picture with a variety of yellow, red and green fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
Slow down and savor your food. Don't watch TV, work, or drive while you're eating. "A lot of people tell me, 'My problem is that I really like food,' but I think that's a really good thing," Williams says. "If you really enjoy food, sit down and enjoy your meal. You're much more likely to feel psychologically satisfied if you don't multitask while you're eating."
For this year's Healthy Food Awards, SELF editors taste-tested more than 250 packaged foods, all of which met nutrition criteria established by Stephanie Clarke, R.D. and Willow Jarosh, R.D., of C&J Nutrition. We looked for foods with minimally processed ingredients and considered factors like sugar, protein, calories, saturated fat, and sodium. But above all, the food had to be tasty and satisfying. It was hard work, but after lots of munching, we found our winners.
The most important aspect here is the mentality you bring to your exercise. Ideally, it’s not a chore but an enjoyable occasion. If that means you invite a friend to make it a social occasion too, then by all means do whatever it takes to get you outside, inhaling fresh air and experiencing the endorphins that our body releases when we are active. The feeling of satisfaction after completing a work out of some variety is hard to beat. It’s also addictive.
One way to get a healthy active lifestyle is to start with a healthy diet. Try eliminating some of the unhealthiest foods from the diet, or making some substitutions. For instance, if you have a soda or two every day, that could be replaced with water. A regular snack of chips or cookies might be replaced with whole-grain fruit or nuts. Many people also choose to take a daily multivitamin to make up for any deficiencies in their diet.
Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can lead to out-of-control hunger, often resulting in helpless overeating. Snacking between meals can help control hunger, but snacking should not replace proper meals. For snacks, we could choose yoghurt, a handful of fresh or dried fruits or vegetables (like carrot sticks), unsalted nuts, or perhaps some bread with cheese.
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Routine is crucial. Building a pattern of behavior up over a long period of time will make it easier for you to sustain your healthy lifestyle. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. So, if you do step outside your plan, you can get back on track just as quickly. Continue to prioritise what is important to you in your life and it should allow you to navigate your way through any challenging twists and turns in the road.
It's been a diet staple in Mediterranean countries—where people tend to live longer—for thousands of years. And for good reason: olive oil is not only excellent for cooking, but it also delivers powerful heart-healthy benefits. Stacks of studies confirm that extra-virgin olive oil in particular helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol and prevents blood clots. It also fights inflammation: researchers have found that oleocanthal, a compound in virgin olive oil, has anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen. Rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, olive oil has another plus: studies show it can help you stick to a healthy weight, which can further slash your risk of heart disease. The bottom line: If olive oil isn't a staple in your pantry yet, it should be.
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