Three key steps to health and fitness
Spring is in full bloom, the snow and ice have melted away and most people wish their extra pounds from a winter-long hibernation would magically do the same.
With summer just around the corner people are looking for quick fixes to morph their pudgy appearance into that healthy, toned fit look we all crave.
Unfortunately, there are no short cuts to getting fit and healthy, but it’s probably easier than we think. You can make the right start today by following these three key steps to health and fitness:
The Canada Food Guide to Healthy Eating recommends we eat a variety of foods.
- Choose whole grain and enriched products.
- Eat more vegetables and fruit.
- Choose lower-fat dairy products more often.
- Choose leaner meats, poultry and fish, as well as beans, dried peas and lentils.
- Limit salt, alcohol and caffeine.
- Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight by enjoying regular physical activity and healthy eating.
Regular exercise not only makes you feel energetic, it will help you improve muscle tone and body shape, control blood pressure and reduce stress levels.
Aim for 60 minutes of physical activity daily to stay healthy or improve your health. As you progress to moderate activities, you can cut down to 30 minutes, four days a week. Add up your activities in periods of at least 10 minutes each.
It’s important to start slowly and build up as you go. This activity doesn’t have to be difficult, try to build them into your daily routine:
- Walk whenever you can — get off the bus early, use the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Reduce long periods of inactivity, like watching TV or surfing the Internet.
- Stretch and bend for a few minutes every hour.
- Every little bit helps, but more is even better.
Keep energy levels up
Everybody snacks. Snacks can be fun and healthy; it just depends on what foods you choose. Make your snack choices from healthy food groups mentioned in “Step 1.”
- Think of healthy snacks as mini-meals. Snacks are meant to tide you over, not replace a meal. So it’s important to keep the portion size small.
- Vary the snacks each day.
- Choose snacks that pack a lot of nutrition such as low-fat yogurts, hummus and fruit/vegetable juice boxes.
- Always satisfy your thirst. Choose water often and be sure to drink more in hot weather or when you are very active.