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Words of Wellness

January 15, 2010
Nikki Carrion MA

Is Exercise Enough? Not exactly, say many experts. As we begin the New Year, many of us have made resolutions to be more physically active or to diet. Too many times when the resolution is to be physically active we're sabotaged by rewarding ourselves for the time spent walking or pedaling. If we reward ourselves for our time on-the-move with a cupcake we are literally walking or pedaling in place. On the other hand, when the resolution is to diet we may not realize it, but we are sabotaging ourselves just by using the word. Keep reading.

Experts say - Exercise and good nutritional choices are equally important, and it is our responsibility to make each of them a priority in our lives. Go ahead take a closer look.

Physical activity is something we have to schedule into lives these days. Back in the day individuals had to harvest the land each day, walk to the market and remove that horrible snow manually. Today we find ourselves using a snow blower to clear the drive so that we can jump into the car and drive the local grocery store to buy just about anything we want. Even our leisure activities such as a walk in the park and a night at the bowling alley have been replaced by a walk to the in-home computer station and a night snuggled up under a warm blanket with a movie. As you can see, activities of daily living are no longer part of our day and that make it our responsibility to prioritize, and to make a plan to just do it each-and-every day.

Benefits to being physically active include weight management / loss, stronger bones and muscles, increased flexibility and range-of-motion and improved lung function. Physical activity also reduces stress and promotes better sleep, among a host of other benefits.

Diet the word itself translates to deprivation, and as humans we are designed to seek out what we need to live and to thrive. Therefore, just using the word often leads to failure. Instead, we should consider seeing our efforts as positive nutritional habits all part of having a positive lifestyle.

Benefits associated with positive nutritional habits include reduced risk of type-2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers. These efforts also serve to enhance sleep habits, mood and self-esteem while boosting energy and immunity.

Goals & Tips for a positive lifestyle plan:

Goals & Tips: Physical Activity Goals for Nutritional Habits General health: 30 min/day most days of the week. Weight maintenance: Choose a variety of foods that follow the FDA's food guide pyramid. Weight loss: 45-90 min/day most days of the week. Weight loss: Same guidelines apply while also eating smaller portions. Play it safe, slowly work your way into a routine. Slowing down during meals. Currently inactive? Check with your doc first! Staying well-hydrated with plenty of water! Need to beef-it-up? Try intervals, choosing whole grains; pasta, bread, rice. Vary the speed you're moving; After a 3-5 minute warm-up, speed it up & slow it down and repeat several times. Opting for a fruit or a vegetable when it is snack time.

To be truly healthy, we must make physical activity and positive nutritional habits a priority in our daily lives. The word habit is the key. Bad habits are not always easy to break and good habits are not always easy to form, but nobody ever said life was easy either. Our attitude about any situation often carries us through, and positive self-talk is a great place to start. Make it personal using the following examples as a guide; "I am going to do this," or "I will accomplish my goal," or "I believe."



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