Keeping Fit

Healthy Living Habits that Work

The amount of exercise you need depends on your goals, age and physical ability.
September 2017

When it comes to advice about healthy living, there are opinions nearly every place you turn. Unfortunately, a great deal of that information is based on fad diets and trendy workouts that may deliver quick results but don’t promote a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.

The medical community generally agrees that slow and steady is the way to win the race toward healthy living. Adopting a broad set of healthier habits can deliver results over time and foster a new way of living that promotes your overall health and wellbeing.

• Aim for balance: A diet that combines healthy levels of protein and carbohydrates from all the food groups is the surest way to deliver your body the vitamins and nutrients you need for optimal health. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans call for an eating plan that is centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and reduced-fat dairy foods, rounded out by lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts for protein. When planning your meals, be sure to limit saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugar.

• Know when to say when: Building a healthy lifestyle is about more than eating the right foods. It also means keeping your calorie count in check. That means keeping the amount you eat and the portion size in mind. Work with your doctor or a nutritionist to determine your body’s true caloric needs, which can vary depending on numerous factors such as your age, activity level and overall health. Then get smart about the portion sizes that will help you stay within those parameters. Initially, you may want to weigh out portions but soon you’ll be able to recognize and adjust your portions on sight.

• Set your body in motion: Increasing your activity level not only helps burn calories and boosts your metabolism, it also helps tone your muscles and improve overall body condition by promoting healthy blood flow. The exact amount of exercise you need will vary depending on your goals, age and physical ability. You may need to work up to the optimal level, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week for most adults.

• Give yourself a break: Most experts agree it’s OK to indulge and enjoy your favorite treat occasionally. Skipping a day at the gym won’t end your efforts either. The key is to make those allowances an exception rather than the norm.


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