Tips for Achieving Physical Health Goals in 2021
January 1 is everyone's favorite day to hit the reset button. You start a new fitness routine and a new diet with the hope that this year things will be different. And you know what? This year will be different. After an undeniably difficult year 2020 and a pandemic that won't stop, you are more […]

January 1 is everyone's favorite day to hit the reset button. You start a new fitness routine and a new diet with the hope that this year things will be different. And you know what? This year will be different. After an undeniably difficult year 2020 and a pandemic that won't stop, you are more motivated than ever to put your physical health first.

Bowl of fresh fruit smoothie on a wooden surface to represent a way to achieve physical health goals |  Vitacost.com/blog

While physical health is all about anything you can visibly detect (hello, six pack abs!), It greatly affects many areas that you can not see with the naked eye - such as increasing bone density, lowering cholesterol and improve immune system health, to name a few. Fortunately, physical health is easy to manage. With just a few simple diet and fitness tips, you can proactively improve overall well-being - from the outside to the inside.

Start by implementing these small changes and you'll set yourself up for sustainable health in 2021 and beyond.

Quick Fitness Tips For A Stronger, Healthier Body

Pick up heavier weights.

Both men and women lose bone mass as they age. This natural deterioration can lead to osteopenia or, more seriously, osteoporosis if not treated early. Low bone mass increases the risk of injury, especially fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. But several studies confirmed that these effects can be mitigated with regular resistance training. While you can increase your strength with bodyweight exercises, add resistance enhances the benefits.

Already have a strength training routine? Well. Now go heavier or risk hitting a plateau. General adaptation syndrome tells us that the body adapts to an exercise routine after about 8 to 12 weeks. If you keep doing the same routine day after day, week after week, you will reach the exhaustion phase. At this point, your workouts stop working. By increasing your weight selection, you change the stimulus and effectively stimulate a new and improved response.

As an added benefit, lifting heavy weights improves muscle coordination, or the ability of different muscle fibers to work together and build strength. It also helps increase the number of calories you burn while at rest and may improve your biological age by promoting the production of testosterone and growth hormone. This is important for building lean muscle mass and burning fat more efficiently.

Raise your heart rate.

Whether you like to pump iron or prefer to dance in your living room, be sure to increase your heart rate. Regular aerobic exercise has positive effects on blood lipid levels and blood pressure - risk factors for coronary heart disease. Higher heart rates also burn more calories, which is helpful in the pursuit of weight loss.

For an even greater calorie deficit, alternate between low and high heart rate zones in one workout. This is the basis of interval training, and it doesn't take a lot of time. In fact, some types of high intensity interval training (HIIT) can take as little as four minutes. Of course, if you have more time to spare, 30 minutes is the ideal point. However, even this can be broken into smaller pieces.

Arizona State University's Healthy Living Research Center found that walking briskly for 10 minutes three times a day resulted in a drop in average blood pressure over a 24-hour period. It is important to note that a "brisk" walk was one that raised participants to about 75% of their maximum heart rate predicted by age. At this intensity, you can answer questions with short answers, but leading a conversation makes you breath and eat.

Let recovery dictate your workout.

Imagine riding a bike on the beach. The wheels will hardly turn and may even skid uncontrollably from side to side. This is your body with little sleep. Without proper recovery, your body cannot function at its best. Your reflexes are slow resulting in sloppy form. Even minimal exertion increases your heart rate and puts you out of breath.

On these days, your willpower may say “Go!”, But your physical health calls for a break. Listen to him. Maybe take a yoga class instead of running six miles. Or take a day off and get back to your routine after a good night's sleep. It also works the other way around. On the days when you feel fully recovered, hit the gym. Enjoy a primed body and a refreshed mind while you have it.

Have no idea how well you are recovering? Download a sleep app or invest in a fitness tracker. These technological treasures offer insight into your body's sleep and recovery patterns. In the same way the numbers you need to exercise effectively, look at your resting heart rate, heart rate variability, and breathing rate. Many portable fitness devices today track these measurements for you. Pay attention to the models. A large spike in your respiratory rate, for example, is a sign of poor recovery - or could even be an early sign of illness.

Small diet adjustments that have a big payoff

Cut down on your sugar intake.

The 2015-2020 dietary guidelines recommend that Americans consume less than 10% of their daily energy (calories) from added sugars. After further research, the 2020 Dietary Recommendations Advisory Committee found that "the side effects of added sugars ... can contribute to unhealthy weight gain and obesity-related health problems." Consequently, the new recommendation (2020-2025) will be to consume less than 6% of energy from added sugars.

Take a closer look at your daily diet. Where can you reduce or eliminate the added sugar? Obviously, cutting back on sweets and desserts is a good idea. But the report noted that sugary drinks tend to be the most common source of added sugar. Think about your morning coffee or sweet tea order with lunch. Also check out the nutrition facts panel for breakfast cereals and ask yourself if your favorite protein bars are healthy or not.

Modify your meat consumption.

Don't rush to conclusions here. Although there are many benefits of vegetable proteins, no one is suggesting that you adopt a vegan lifestyle. This diet tip focuses on source of your animal protein. An impressive body of research has proven that high consumption of red and processed meats is associated with health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. This is largely due to the concentration of saturated fat in red meat and the high amounts of additives in processed meats.

Unfortunately, there is no clear definition of what “high consumption” means. That said, most physicians and dietitians recommend two to three servings of red meat per week. The rest of your protein should come from lean sources that are low in saturated fat, like turkey and chicken. Better yet, prepare a seafood dish. The Advisory Committee reports that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat - like the polyunsaturated fat found in fish - reduces the incidence of cardiovascular disease in adults.

Drink for one.

Other than calories, alcohol does not provide any nutritional value. But if you drink too much, the health effects are almost instantaneous. The first disruption occurs in the brain, where the lines of communication slow down. This is why your speech is insulting and you lose coordination. This is not the worst, however. Drink a lot of alcohol in one sitting can lead to cardiomyopathy, irregular heartbeat, stroke, fatty liver, fibrosis, various types of cancer and more. According to Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention, this type of binge drinking is on the rise - up 12% from 2011 to 2017.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with raising a glass of champagne on New Year's Eve or celebrating a job well done at happy hour. Alcohol can be consumed in moderation. But… and that's a big but: moderation is considered one drink a day, on the days you drink. The next time you're at a social gathering, sip your cocktail slowly and enjoy good company instead of a second drink.


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For some people, crunches and other abdominal bourrinage workouts are the last thing they’d want to do — so they don’t. ' Part of the perception is that it’s difficult. We tend to want to avoid doing things that require effort, especially as we get older, when that’s harder for us, ' says Lorna Brown, a physical therapist who specializes in geriatrics at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

But skipping abdominal strengtheners can have a big effect on your mobility and independence — and not for the better.

The abdominal muscles ( often called the abs ) include not just the visible ' six-pack ' or rectus abdominis groupes musculaires in the front of your abdomen, but also the obliques in the front and side of your abdomen and the transverse abdominis across your lower abdomen. ' The transverse abdominis is the inner bourrinage underneath the outer abdominal layers. It provides stability around the spine, ' Brown explains.

The abs are part of your core, the collection of groupes de muscles that act as your foundation. In addition to your abs, your core includes the groupes de muscles along your spine, near your shoulder blades, in your hips and buttocks, and in your pelvis.

You must work all your core groupes de muscles to stay strong and réactive. ' We need that strong core or base so that the arms and legs can perform well, ' Brown explains.

What if you don’t mind doing shoulder, hip, and back muscle exercises, but can’t stand the ab workout ? You’re putting your entire core in jeopardy. ' If your core isn’t ne change pas and strong, you increase the risk for injury and falls when you lift something or walk, ' Brown says. A weak core also makes it hard to turn, bend, and get dressed.

Starting position : Kneel on all fours with your hands and knees directly aligned under your shoulders and hips. Keep your head and spine neutral.

Move of the month : Abdominal contractionPhotography : Michael CarrollStarting place : Kneel on all fours with your hands and knees directly aligned under your shoulders and hips. Keep your head and spine neutral. Movement : Exhale as you tighten your abdominal groupes musculaires by pulling them up toward your spine. Keep your spine neutral ( no arching your back ! ). Hold. Release your abdominal zones musculaires and return to the starting place. Do this eight to 10 times, then rest for 30 to 90 seconds. If you can, repeat the sequence.

Abdominal exercises don’t have to include crunches, and you don’t have to do a long ab workout. You may find it more palatable to sprinkle ab exercises throughout the day. ' Shorter segments of exercise can still contribute to better health and function, ' Brown says. The key is to make each ab exercise count by ' activating ' the groupes de muscles.

Can’t think of ways to fit abdominal exercises into your schedule ? Check out the Harvard Special Health Report Gentle Core ( www. health. harvard. edu/gc ), and consider the following tricks.

Watch TV from the floor. You probably did this when you were a kid. Try it now, and maybe you’ll be more likely to do an ab exercise, like modified push-ups ( leaning on your forearms instead of your hands ). ' Or try lying on your back with your knees bent, ' suggests Brown. ' Then activate the abdominal muscles by drawing in your belly button toward the spine. '

Use phone time. Stand with your back flat against the wall while chatting on the phone. Activate your abs. ' Draw in your belly button again, and push yourself against the wall, ' says Brown

Take a break from work. Whether you’re in the kitchen or at the office, you can do a modified push-up against a desk or counter.

Don’t just stand there. Sneak in an exercise while you stand in line at the bank or grocery checkout. ' Do a single-leg stand and slightly lift your leg off the floor while activating your core groupes musculaires, ' Brown suggests. ' Keep your chest high and your shoulder blades down and back. '

March in place. Next time you’re brushing your teeth, march in place. ' Make it intentional. Draw in the abdominals and keep your hips level, so they’re not swiveling, ' Brown adds

You can even activate the abdominal groupes de muscles while you’re walking. ' Just be very intentional about it, ' says Brown. Think about positionnement and bourrinage activation with each step. The more often you activate your abs, the stronger they’ll become, making ab workouts a lot less daunting.

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