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Live Healthy: Exercise and Nutritional Tips

Updated on October 12, 2014

Healthy Living Through Exercise and Better Eating

Exercise, good eating, and an active lifestyle can lead you to a healthier self. The trick is to find an exercise and food regimen that you can easily stick to.

Most of us can get motivated to exercise, eat right, and maintain willpower for the first few days, but any good healthy lifestyle effort takes at least 2 weeks of routine to stay with. Once you find a positive balance between time, a healthy and tasteful diet, and a fun exercise program, you'll be well on your way to acheiving your healthy living goals.

The tough part is figuring out where to start...

This lens offers some great tips to help you get motivated and stick to a healthy way of living so you'll have obtain the healthy results you wish to achieve and start feeling better, both physically and mentally. Believe me, it is possible to start and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I've maintained a healthy way of living for about 7 months. I also lost a total of 26 lbs and I feel amazing! It wasn't easy, by any means, but I found a way to make exercise fun and healthy eating less of an effort. Hopefully some of my tips will work for you.

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You Can be Healthy, Even Without a Gym!

Tips for Exercising at Home

Exercise is the key ingredient to leading a healthy lifestyle, as we all know, but many of us cannot find the time or energy to get to a gym to work out. Many would choose to exercise at home, but all that exercise equipment can get very expensive if you're not lucky enough to already own some. Instead, try these tips for exercising at home without having to purchase all the expense workout equipment.

Purchase some exercise videos to workout at home. Many exercise videos are cheap and can be bought online for a fraction of what you'd pay in stores. Also, exercise videos offer a half hour of stretching, cardio, and muscle toning, for creating and maintaining a healthy weight, that can be done conveniently in your home. Some videos even offer quick 10 or 15 minute routines that can be done in between home responsibilities. Try to fit in at least a half hour video exercise a day if you can and split the exercise video up in increments so that you can find time to fit the whole thing in for enhanced body toning.

Try some muscle toning exercises at home. These exercises are easy and can be done anytime in between taking care of the kids, cooking meals, and cleaning the home. Simply stretch your limbs so that you are loosened enough to tone. Do some sit-ups, push-ups, leg lunges, squats, and calf lifts, or anything else you can come up with to tone your muscles and lose weight at home. You can also purchase cheap hand and ankle weights at any Dollar Store or Wal-Mart for increased weight resistance and a better body.

Get up and dance. When your doing chores, cooking dinner, or just playing with the kids, try dancing around the house to get your blood pumping and promote healthy living. Dancing is a great way to exercise around the house and can be done anytime no matter what your doing. Turn on some of your favorite music (or your child's favorite music) and dance around for at least a half an hour. You can exercise like this while you do others things around the house, which is great for multitasking. Getting your kids involved in the exercise is also a great way to get them exercising and everyone has fun as well.

Run or walk up and down your stairs. Stair exercises are a great way to get healthy and can be done anytime right in home. Running or walking up the stairs can increase muscle tone and acts as a great cardio exercise. Get your kids involved and have them follow you up and down the stairs. They'll have fun copying you and keep in shape as well. You can also take the first 1 or 2 steps and do 'step-ups' to enhance muscle tone and maintain a healthy weight. Try to climb the stairs at least 5-10 times to start and increase this amount as you get stronger. Walk at first if you have to and then jog the stairs as a great way to increase your exercise regimen.

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Exercises That Target the Hips, Buns, and Thighs

Our hips, thighs, and our buns are the target areas we tend to gain weight first. These areas are often hard to tone and strengthen muscle, even when we exercise consistently. However, cardio exercise is not enough to tone these targeted areas. Try these tips for toning your hips, thighs, and buns that are easy to do and can be done right at home.

Squats are a great way to tone your hips, thighs, and buns because squats work all these muscles at the same time. Try standing with your feet hip-width apart and squat down half way while keeping your back straight. Remember to tighten your abs for support and to tone this area as well. Do 2-3 sets of squats and 8-12 repetitions to tone these targeted areas. You can also try this over a chair and let your buns lightly touch the seat of the chair before standing. This way, you know you've gone down far enough to tone your muscles. Do this exercise at least 4-5 times a week for super results.

Try doing lunges to tone your hips, thighs, and buns. Lunges work many muscles at the same time and are excellent for toning targeted areas. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step one leg forward, out in front of you, and squat into it a bit. Keep your back straight and your abs tight. Pull the leg back and follow the same exercise with the other leg. Front lunges work the hip and calf muscles. To work the thigh and bun muscles, try reverse lunges in which you take your leg backwards as far as you can and squat into it. Do the same with the next leg for ultimate hip, thigh, and bun toning. Doing side lunges work the same and simply go side to side instead of front or back. Try 2-3 sets of front, reverse, or side lunges and 8-10 repetitions.

Step ups are a great way to tone your hips, thighs, and buns and they are easy to do. Simply alternate feet, stepping up onto a stair, set of books, cement block, or anything with height, and coming back down. Take turns doing this with each leg, one at a time, stepping up and pushing upward with your heel to stretch the muscles. Step ups work all the major muscles in your hips, thighs, and buns. Try doing 4 sets of 10-15 repetitions to really target these areas. You can also create higher steps (or take two at a time) and do less repetitions to work your muscles harder.

Doing hip extension is a great way to tone the hip and bun muscles. Get down on all fours with your knees on the floor. Lift one leg at a time high in the air behind you and lower is slowly. Do this with the other leg. To increase toning power, add a weight behind your knee or an ankle weight which provides excellent resistance. Try doing 2-3 sets of hip extensions 8 repetitions each. Adding weight will increase the toughness of this exercise, so you may want to limit the number of repetitions to 6 if it gets hard.

Purchase an exercise ball and weights to increase tension in toning your hips, thighs, and buns. Even if you can only exercise for 10-15 minutes, an exercise ball or weights can make quick and simple exercises work better. The exercise ball lifts your body and gives you different angles to work muscles harder. Weights provide great resistance. Toning your hips, thighs, and buns will be more beneficial if you have both these exercise items. You can purchase an exercise ball for around $8 at Wal-Mart and weights for around the same price, depending on what your looking for. It's not to say, however, that these exercises won't work without an exercise ball or weights, they definitely will. But you'll get more resistance and a harder workout if you use them.

Toning your hips, thighs, and buns can better be done by including cardio exercises such as bike riding, walking, jogging, aerobics and hiking. While it's important to strengthen your muscles through toning exercises, it is equally important to add physical exercise to increase your chances of slimming targeted areas. Try to do at least 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week of some sort of cardio exercise whether it be on a treadmill, running in place, or walking on a nature trail. You'll see a big difference sooner if you add cardio to the toning exercises listed above.

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Tricks for Sneaking in Extra Exercise

Little Ways to Burn More Calories

Exercising and trying to lead a healthy lifestyle can be tough when you can't find enough time to exercise. It's especially hard if you work a full time job and have children or other responsibilities. Here are a few tips for adding exercise to your day so that you don't have to put in an hour or more everyday trying to stay fit.

When at work, take the stairs. It's easy to add exercise to your day when you take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. You can actually burn 12.5 calories for every 60 seconds you walk up the stairs, which equals about 750 calories an hour. And as for going down the stairs, you burn about 4 calories a minute. So it might be worth it to try a new way to get to places in your job.

Suck in your abs and tighten your stomach throughout the day. Keeping your abdomen muscles tight will strengthen those muscles and help burn calories. Plus, your stomach gets used to being sucked in and actually looks and feels tighter. Sucking in your stomach will strengthen your back as well and help ward off back pain that you may feel after a long day of work. Try to pay attention often to your stomach and keep those ab muscles tight constantly. It may feel comfortable at first, but eventually, you get used to it and actually feel thinner around your middle.

During breaks at work, stand up and do quick exercises. In just 5-10 minutes, you could do leg lunges, sit ups, calf stretches, squats and lifting with books or bring in mini weights. Make a list of quick exercises you can sneak in throughout the day and plan a weekly regimen. Pick certain days to do certain exercises on your breaks that are quick and easy. You'll be amazed at how many you can fit it. And since you're not doing any heavy exercising, you won't get sweaty or tired at work from doing them.

Walk outside on your breaks at work or in the halls. You can also take your lunch and walk for exercise as well. Sneaking in a walk everyday on your lunch at work will burn 79 calories in half an hour walking 2.0 mph on a flat surface or 159 calories in an hour, depending on how long your lunch is. If you walker faster or uphill, you'll burn more calories. Bring extra clothes to work for walking on your lunch if it helps you feel less sweaty. Just imagine, if you sneak in a walk everyday, you'd burn 795 calories in a week just at work!

Run and play with kids to add exercise to your day. When you enjoy time with your children by doing fun activities, you can also find ways to exercise and lose weight. Try playing a game of tackle football with your kids, basketball, riding bikes, or simply running around the yard playing tag. Any activity you can do with your kids will help you to add more exercise to your day, plus, you'll be encouraging your kids to exercise in fun ways. Enlist their help by asking what kinds of fun activities they want to do that will get you all more active. You'll be surprised at the enjoyable ways kids can find to exercise without making it seem like work.

Clean the house to add exercise to your day. While doing household chores does not sound like anything exciting, you can actually burn calories by performing activities such as vacuuming, mopping, doing the dishes, cleaning the toilet, and more. Every little activity you do will help you to burn calories and lose weight. So rather than see household cleaning as a dull chore, try to liven it up a bit and get more out of it. Turn on the music and dance while you clean to add more exercise to your day. Get kids excited about cleaning and getting exercise too by encouraging them to help cleaning with dancing. You'll be amazed at how much kids will want to help with the chores when they see how much fun you are having, cleaning to music!

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Calorie Counting: 5 Ways to Watch What You Eat

If you have a little time and a great desire to put into a healthy lifestyle, then calorie counting is an effective way to watch what you eat. Counting calories means taking in less than you use by adding up all the calories you eat in a day. Sometimes this can be tedious and it's not for everybody, but if your up for the challenge of living healthy, then chances are, you can count calories a lot easier than you think. Here's some calorie counting tips to get you started.

Things You Will Need:

Notebook or journal

Calorie counting book or guide

Computer

Internet

1. To start counting calories for healthy living, you'll need to get a calorie counting book or guide that gives you the calories of every kind of food imaginable. You can purchase calorie counting books or an electronic handheld calorie counter at your local bookstore or online. If you don't want to purchase a book or electronic device, you can check your calories online. See step # 5.

2. In order to record the calories of the food you eat, you'll need to purchase a notebook or journal. Keeping record of all the foods you eat will help you to understand how many calories you take in a day. You can also record the number of fat grams, protein, and how much sodium you take in with each meal. It all depends on how you want to do your calorie counting weight loss plan. The important thing to know is that you will have to write down every little thing you take into your body including condiments used, butter, spices, and drinks as well as anything you eat.

3. When leading a healthy lifestyle through calorie counting, you'll need to consider and record portion size. Many of the calories recorded on food packages, books, and the internet will be done by portion size. It's not to say that you have to eat the exact portion the calorie count states, but you will need to record the exact serving size you take in to be certain you get the calorie count right. For example, you'll need to know if your sandwich had 1 or 2 slices of bread or if you ate a half or whole banana for breakfast.

4. It's best if you record the times of days you eat in your notebook when calorie counting. Recording meals such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks will help you to understand when you eat the most and what time of day you crave foods most. Be sure to leave a spot for recording beverages as well and a separate spot for recording water intake. You should try to aim for drinking at least 6-8 (8) ounce glasses of water a day. Writing this down will help you to see how much water your taking in as well.

5. One of the easiest ways to count calories is to do it all online. There are many great calorie counting sites that provide journals for recording foods, calorie amounts of food, exercise ideas and recording, and advice for losing weight. The only bad part about doing it all online is that sometimes you have to pay for this service (usually about $20 a month) and you have to remember what you ate at every meal if you don't write it down each time anyway. But, it's worth looking into because you can save all your calorie counts by date on the computer.

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Making Good Fast Food Choices

Going out to eat can be a favorite past time that prevents us from having to cook at home and helps us to relax and have fun with friends or family. However, eating in restaurants can sabotage your health living efforts if you are not careful about what you eat. Here are some tips for eating lighter meals and saving calories when eating at restaurants. It is possible to enjoy a good meal out, however, you just have to know how to eat smart and make good food choices.

Almost every restaurant has a light menu or recipes. Check out the sections of the menu marked 'healthy' or 'low calorie'. Many restaurants understand that people are trying to eat right, save calories, and live healthy. Because of this, a lot of restaurants have adopted lighter versions of the meals they serve. Many restaurants allow for low fat and fat free lunches and dinners to be served as well. If you are unsure about the caloric intake of a meal, ask the waiter for more information or see if he can recommend a low fat meal that you can eat to help keep you on your healthy diet. Eating smart when dining out at a restaurant does not have to be a chore. You can find good tasting meals, save calories, and still enjoy yourself at just about any restaurant you dine in.

Bring a small plate or ask for an appetizer plate with dinner. Eating smaller portions when dining out at a restaurant will help you to save calories and keep your healthy living plan on track. An appetizer plate is much smaller than a regular dinner plate at most restaurants and will help you to scoop the appropriate portions of your dinner onto a smaller plate for better eating. When you provide yourself with a predetermined amount of food to eat, chances are, you'll be plenty full enough on just that amount. Also, you will be less tempted to overeat and stuff yourself, ruining your goals of living healthy. Try scooping a small amount of meat, the side dish, and vegetables onto the appetizer plate at a restaurant so that you are getting a well rounded meal for less calories. In fact, if you scoop all the vegetables, and part of the side dish and meat onto the plate, you'll be eating far healthier than if you take half of each part of the meal.

Drink plenty of water before going to the restaurant and while waiting for your meal. When you consume water, you actually fill your body up quickly and make it harder to overeat. Your stomach feels fuller and the chances of you overeating at a restaurant, no matter how delicious the food is, will be less likely. Water keeps us fuller for longer also, so if you drink a couple of glasses before dinner, you won't want to binge so much, even if you are starving. Be sure to drink water with your meal as well so that you keep yourself feeling full. Take the leftovers from the restaurant home and have them the next day for lunch instead of cleaning your plate during the meal and feeling guilty that you ruined your healthy diet.

Never go to dinner at a restaurant starving. If you go out to eat and are so hungry that you can't stand it, your chances of overeating during a meal are very high. Eating lighter meals and saving calories comes from keeping your body full with small meals all day. If you are starving when you get to the restaurant, chances are, you haven't been having small meals throughout the day or healthy snacks to keep your energy levels up. You stand a pretty high chance of sabotaging your diet if you go out to eat on an empty stomach. If you don't have time to eat before dining out, simply take along a yogurt, a healthy snack bar, or trail mix to keep you satisfied until you can get to the restaurant. Just be sure that you have a little something in your belly before dining out or you risk the chance of pigging out and sabotaging all your hard work and goals of living healthy.

Plan your meals ahead of time when dining out at a restaurant. If you know the restaurant you're going to, think about what you will eat that is healthy before you arrive. It's even possible to think ahead if you don't know the restaurant. Eating lighter meals and saving calories is as simple and knowing what you can and can't eat. Think good foods such as grilled chicken, vegetables, salad with oil and vinegar, or low fat fish dinners. Have an idea of what you will order before you arrive at the restaurant so that you are not tempted to pick a meal that is fattening and not good for you. It's not to say that you have to stick to only what you would eat at home because that's not exactly a realistic idea. But, if you know that you can eat only certain foods at your restaurant meal in order to save calories, then be sure you have this in your head before hand so you can easily choose a healthy meal without temptation.

Questions or Comments About Leading a Healthy Lifestyle?

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    • Gerald McConway profile image

      Gerald McConway 5 years ago

      going through a massive body retooling and I appreciate these tips, thanks!

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 5 years ago

      I love your tip on dancing around the house while doing chores. It's one of my favorite ways to sneak in a little exercise.

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