Obesity is a major health issue in America for people of every age, ethnicity, and socio-economic background. Science and technology have made our lives more efficient, but much of this is at the expense of nutrition and exercise. We tend to be more sedentary at work and home than future generations. We also consume processed foods containing artificial chemicals and additives that negatively affect our bodies in many ways.
Most of us know we’re carrying a few extra pounds that we want to lose. That said, starting a weight loss routine can seem like an intimidating prospect. This is especially true if you’re a beginner when it comes to exercise. The good news is that while exercise and diet are both crucial components to losing weight, you don’t need to train for a marathon or prize fight to be healthier and see results. Here are three great ways to start.
Start in the Kitchen
We’re constantly bombarded with ads for exercise equipment featuring elite athletes and fitness models. We see them endorsing expensive bikes, gyms, and video lines that can change our bodies. While this isn’t inherently dishonest, we’re not seeing the whole picture. These sculpted specimens show us what they do in the gym, but not in the kitchen. What we put into our bodies, from food to supplements like the Thrive Patch, makes more of a difference than you probably realize.
There’s an adage that says, “you can’t outrun a bad diet.” This becomes more and more true the older you get. Our bodies start to age, and our metabolisms slow down. An active lifestyle is certainly helpful to fight this, but a healthy, balanced diet is just as, if not more, important. Trendy diets come and go, and the science behind them is sometimes difficult for the average person to decipher. Also, a restrictive or elimination diet may set you up for failure. The best plan is to track and monitor your caloric intake and try to reduce it by a small percentage. Obviously, some foods are healthier than others, and satiating hunger is a real concern when cutting calories. Learn which foods are more calorically dense, and snack on those, only eating less healthy guilty pleasures in very small doses.
To be clear: exercise and activity are still integral to both weight loss and a healthy lifestyle in general. Performance athletes, of course, must train for their specific sport. Bodybuilders, models, and people using physical therapy to recover from an injury must build routines that target muscle groups. For most “regular” people, however, light exercise combined with a balanced diet is enough to maintain fitness and health. To that end, walking at a brisk pace and maintaining a heart rate around 105-110 beats per minute is one of the best exercises a person can do for their overall health. Circulation, heart health, and blood flow are all served by walking, as are the large lower body leg and core muscles. While high intensity interval training or heavier exercise will certainly work all these muscles and systems, they may force you to burn so many calories that you feel hungrier and are more likely to make poor diet choices to feel full.
You may wonder what sleep has to do with exercise. Here’s an important fact: getting eight hours of sleep each night will improve almost every aspect of your health and life. In addition to boosting your energy level, regulating mood, and approving your appearance, proper rest will help with weight management. It’s essential, however, that you get quality sleep in addition to quantity. Avoid food and screen time an hour before bed to let your eyes and brain start to wind down, and sleep in a cool, dark room.
Any step you take towards becoming healthier is progress. Think long term, and don’t allow temporary setbacks to discourage you. Over time, a routine of a healthy diet, simple exercise, and good sleep will make you healthier and happier!
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