As you may or may not know, I’m a bit of a health nut. I work out regularly, get plenty of cardio, try to eat right, read fitness magazines, and so forth.
Over time I’ve picked up a few things here and there to keep healthy. Here’s some:
- Tabatas – if you don’t know about tabatas as a way to lose weight and improve cardiovascular fitness, check out my rave about them here.
- Sprinting – the equivalent of a Tabata. University studies have shown that 3 x 20 second sprints at maximum effort provides the same stamina/cardio improvements as 50 minutes of low intensity exercise. Three sessions a week is all you need to make a huge difference.
- Multivitamins – ensure your dietary bases are covered. Just make sure they are balanced, and don’t take too many – overdosing on vitamins is not good for your body. Check the instructions on the label and the daily allowance indicator next to the ingredients. Don’t forget you also get vitamins and minerals from food as well.
- Exercise – at least 3 times per week, for at least 30 minutes. If it’s just walking, walk fast to get your heart rate up, otherwise it’s a bit pointless.
- Stretch – make sure you stretch well before attempting strenuous exercise. I stretch for at least 20 minutes before my workouts. The stretching warmup is a workout in itself, involving traditional stretches for all body parts and yoga stretches. Some people in training also stretch after their workout.
- Eat well – but don’t overeat. You don’t need to consciously avoid eating fat either – fats, in moderation, are needed by your body. If you need to lose weight, reduce you serving size and drink more water. Your body will utilise the calories it has, and the water will help fill your stomach to overcome hunger pains. Do NOT cut out food altogether – your body thinks you are going into starvation mode and conserves fat by consuming muscle tissue first. In starvation mode your body takes a few days to start burning fat. Eat slowly – your brain uses hormones to know when you’re full – if you eat too fast your brain won’t have received the signal from your stomach and you will still feel hungry.
- Measure rather than weigh – use your pants or dress size as an indicator. As you lose weight your clothes will fit you better or loosen. If you do have to weight yourself, try not to do it every day, especially if you are working out regularly – muscle is heavier than fat, so the scales could be misleading. And have a regular weigh time (8:00 in the morning, for instance), after you’ve gone to the loo!
- Drink Tea – one cup a day supplies your body with antioxidants – the chemicals that help you live longer. Green Tea is even better.
- Laugh – sometimes it’s hard, especially if you suffer from depression, but laughing is one of the best things you can do for your health. It generates endorphins, reduces cortisol (the stress hormone), increases blood flow, helps reduce damage to your brain from stress, improves medical recovery time and decreases anxiety. If you can’t laugh, find a comedy show you like, find a friend who makes you laugh. Force yourself to laugh if you have to.
Okay, some of these are obvious, and it’s not meant to be an exhaustive list.
But sometimes the little things in life can make the biggest difference.
I am not a doctor (although a lady once mistook me for a gynaecologist). If you have an existing medical condition or are obese, speak to your doctor first before attempting new exercise or diet routines.