6 Changes to Make you Healthier, Prettier, and More Productive
By this time of the year, most people have dropped, cheated, postponed, or all together gave up on their New Year's Resolutions. This is fine, because although most resolutions are made with good intentions, they won't work as a huge lifestyle change over night. Major changes need to be made slowly so that they are more effective at more healthy, energetic, and beautiful bodies and spirits.
1. Make Sure You're Getting Enough Sleep
This is almost a mantra now. Everyone is saying it, yet few of us are actually taking the steps to make it a reality. We invest so much time into everything else in our lives that we forget to invest in ourselves. The fact remains that getting enough sleep is necessary. In fact, a recent study from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, discovered that sleep deprived people are more likely to be judged unattractive and unhealthy.
Take the time to get a full eight hours of sleep. Set a bed time and lay down at that time every night. If it continues to be hard to fall asleep earlier than normal, try drinking warm caffeine free tea before bed or introducing a relaxing yoga routine within an hour before you hit the hay.
Foods High in Vitamin D
Some of the foods highest in vitamin D are:
- Cod Liver Oil (easiest to take in pill form)
- Fish (raw fish has higher levels that canned or cooked)
- Fortified Cereals
- Fortified Soy
- Salami, Ham, and Sausages
2. Get Some Glow
With a little sunlight the body can produce all the needed Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to improve mood-regulating neurotransmitters, so it is increasingly important during winter months. This is one of the reasons that people tend to become depressed during the late fall to early spring when their sunlight exposure is low. There are also studies that suggest high levels of vitamin D may help to protect against osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon.
If you're prone to skin cancer, or simply want to stay on the safe side of that argument, try eating foods high in vitamin D.
Reasons to Limit Caffeine
Although small amounts of caffeine daily have been shown to help stave off certain cancers, such as colon cancer, too much caffeine has been shown to aggravate and create health problems such as:
- Caffeine can raise the blood sugar in such a way that is difficult to reduce through exercise or diet.
- Can also increase blood pressure which puts a person at a higher risk for strokes, heart attacks, etc.
- Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it helps the produce to produce urine, which can add to dehydration.
3. Hydrate, Hydrate
Anyone who has every had anything to do with the military, or played sports in the South during the summer, knows that the golden rule is "Hydrate or die."
Most people believe that they are drinking "enough" water, however this really isn't the case. Many people try to go by the eight glasses of 8 oz of water a day, mathematically this totals to be about 1.9 liters of liquid. However, the Mayo Clinic suggest that adult men need roughly 3 liters of liquid a day, and women need about 2.2 liters. These number do not take into consideration the extra liquid needed during exercising, so remember to drink extra on days that you exercise.
Being better hydrated will help improve how fast your brain reacts, how healthy your skin is, and how much you weigh. If your body is not receiving an adequate supply of water it will hold extra water as water weight. The human body is 60% water, so this is not something to take lightly, or to try to hydrate with high sugar, high caffeine liquids.
The good news is that all liquids count, low-sodium broth, high water content fruits (think grapes and apples), water, and fruit juice. Just try to get enough high quality liquids daily.
5 More Benefits Of Drinking Plenty of Water
4. Trick Yourself into Working Out
Honestly, few of us work out as much as we wish we would. During the first trimester of my pregnancy, I was so sick that I went from working out 5 hours a week to nothing. This made it difficult later on to go back to exercising during pregnancy. The easiest way to get around this was to trick myself into exercising by going shopping or sight seeing. I'd also give up the pregnancy parking, and park further away so that I have to walk further to where ever I was headed.
Pick more active lifestyle choices.
- go for a hike (exercising and sun exposure)
- rock climbing (indoor or out)
- join a local amateur sport team (office basketball or church softball)
- go dancing on the weekends (clubs, salsa, square dancing, whatever floats your boat)
- visit zoos or museums where you'll walk a lot, but have the ability to stop and rest whenever you need.
- gardening (you'll not only burn more calories than watching TV, but you'll also have fresh vegetables to add to your diet)
How often do you workout?
5. Adjust Your Diet
Small changes to your diet can quickly add up. Taking sodas out of your diet can shed pounds quickly, as can increasing your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits.
Most everyone agrees that there are not many diets that are more healthy than a vegetarian diet, but not everyone can switch to becoming a vegetarian overnight. Meat is high in protein, but actually many vegetables and grains are just as high in protein, and contains less carcinogens antibiotics, fats, and hormones. Try to reduce your intake of low quality meats and highly processed foods.
Try making sweet potato chips or baked green beans instead of pulling the tater-tots out of the fridge or the chips out of the cabinet. Both are easy and extremely cheap to make. Mix the thinly sliced sweet potatoes or fresh green beans with some olive oil and salt and bake until brown and delicious.
6. Laugh More for Your Mood, Health, and Waistline
Hopefully, this is easiest and most fun change to make. It's simple laugh more. Laughter has been scientifically proven again and again to be a wonderful gift for out body, soul, and mind.
The benefits of laughter include:
- lowers blood pressure
- increases caloric burn
- reduces stress hormones
- improves blood circulation and oxygenation
- increases immunity to day to day problems
- wires your brain to be more optimistic and find new solutions to problems