We discussed the importance of exercise for your mental health in the video. It’s not something you should take for granted. You can improve your brain health by simply adding an exercise program into your daily life.
These are additional guidelines to help you achieve your physical well-being.
Six strategies to improve your physical health
1. GET ACTIVE
Your ability to perform daily tasks depends on how your body functions. A shorter life expectancy and more medical problems have been linked to sitting down or lying down. You can improve your chances of good health by getting up and moving around.
Tips to Increase Your Activity
- Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Your car should be parked at the end of the street, or in a parking lot.
- Participate in “walking meetings” at work with your colleagues.
- Arrange your home so that you can stand up or walk on a treadmill while using the computer or TV.
- You can set an alarm to your computer that will go off every hour. It will prompt you to move for a few seconds.
- Walking as if it’s already late for the bus, or an important meeting is a good idea.
- For arm exercises, keep small weights around your house or office.
2. MAINTAIN YOUR BONES, MUSCLES, AND JOINTS
Your body is a highly mobile machine because of the interconnectedness of your bones, muscles, and joints. Your body is susceptible to wear and tear, just like any other machine. To keep your body moving smoothly, it needs to be maintained and cared for regularly.
Keep your body in shape
- Keep a healthy weight. A high weight can cause pain in your hips and knees.
- Do muscle strengthening (resistance), activities that involve all major muscle groups at least twice a week.
- Activate all week. You should aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity per week such as walking or biking.
- Comfortable, well-fitting shoes are essential.
- A well-balanced diet is important. To protect your bones, ensure you get enough vitamin D and calcium each day.
- Avoid lifting large objects. Lifting heavy objects requires you to bend your knees while keeping your back straight.
3. FIND YOUR HEALTHY WEIGHT
Maintaining a healthy weight can help lower your chances of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other types of cancer. You can take control of your weight and improve your health. To access the Body Weight Planner, click here
To achieve your weight loss goals,
- Reduce portions.
- Choose a variety of colorful vegetables every day.
- Whole grains are better.
- Take it easy with fats and oils.
- Reduce added sugars
- Keep doing the things you love.
- Take a walk, bike or garden.
- Strengthening activities.
- Active for 10 minutes daily, multiple times per day. Every little bit counts!
Keep track of your progress
- Keep a log of your food and activities.
- Be realistic and strive for a slow, moderate weight loss.
4. LEARN YOUR METABOLISM
As you age, your metabolism will change. Your metabolism changes as you age. You lose more calories and your food is broken down differently. Also, you lose lean muscle. The weight can quickly add up if you don’t exercise and eat better. Middle-age spread quickly becomes middle-age sprawl. Having extra weight can be a risk to your health.
To combat the effects of aging:
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle.
- Limit snacking.
- Get plenty of water.
- Move more. Move more. Take the stairs.
- Sleep well.
- Limit alcohol use. High-calorie alcohol can lead to health problems in older adults.
- Tobacco products should be avoided. You can improve your health in many ways and you will live longer.
5. Eat a healthy diet
Every day, we make many decisions. It can be difficult to make informed decisions when it comes to what we eat and how we feed our families. Healthy eating plans don’t just limit unhealthy food choices, but also include a wide range of healthy foods. Learn which foods you should add to your diet, and which ones to avoid.
To eat a more healthy diet
- Limit “bad” fats. Reduce the intake of trans and saturated fats. Instead of butter, stick margarine and meat fats like shortening or oil, use olive or canola oils.
- Reduce sodium intake. Instead of canned, smoked or processed meats, choose fresh poultry, fish and lean meats. Fresh or frozen vegetables should not contain added salt, and food that contains less than 5% Daily Value of sodium per portion. Cans must be rinsed.
- Look for more complex carbs. Consume more complex carbs like starches, fiber, and starches. These can be found in whole-grain bread and cereals, starchy vegetables, legumes, and other grains.
- Reduce added sugars. Choose foods with low or no added sugar. Look for the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods to find products with lower total sugar.
- Increase your fiber intake. Increase your fiber intake by switching to whole grains.
6. DEVELOP HEALTHY HABITS
Healthy choices can make us happier and live longer. Perhaps you have already tried to eat healthier, exercise more, stop smoking and reduce stress. It is not easy. Research shows that you can improve your ability to live a healthy life.
To develop healthy habits
- Plan. Identify triggers and unhealthy patterns. Realistic goals are important.
- Change your surroundings. Make healthier choices easier by finding ways to do so. Eliminate temptations. Make changes in your community such as safe places to walk.
- Ask for help. For support, reach out to family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and other people.
- You can fill your time with activities that are healthy. You can exercise or enjoy a hobby. Spend time with your family and friends.
- Keep track of your progress. Keep track of your progress to keep you focused and avoid making mistakes.
- Visualize the future. To stay on the right track, think about future benefits.
- Reward yourself. Reward yourself for achieving a small goal, milestone, or massage.
- Be patient. It takes time to improve and there will be setbacks. You should be focused on progress and not perfection.
References from the Video Newsletter
JAMA Psychiatry. 2018 Jun 1;75(6):566-576.
Association of Resistance Exercise Training with Depressive Symptoms: Meta Analysis and Meta-regression Analysis of Randomized Clinical Studies.
Gordon BR, McDowell CP. Hallgren M. Meyer JD. Lyons M. Herring MP.
Sports Med. 2017 Dec;47(12):2521-2532.
The Effects of resistance exercise training on anxiety: Meta-Analysis of randomized controlled trials.
Gordon BR, McDowell CP. Lyons M. Herring MP
The American Journal of Psychiatry. Published online: 3 Oct 2017.
Exercise and Prevention of Depression: Results of The HUNT Cohort Study
Samuel B. Harvey, F.R.A.N.Z.C.P. Ph.D. Simon Overland Ph.D. et. al.