It doesn’t matter whether you want to lose weight, become fitter or gain muscles, healthy lifestyle changes are the keys to accomplishing your goals. Healthy lifestyle changes can include adding regular exercise to your weekly schedule, changing your eating habits or both. While you might think that changing your eating habits means dieting, nothing can be further from the truth. Diets don’t work. Sure, you may lose a few pounds at first, but eventually the diet ends. Then you go back to normal eating habits and regain all the weight you lost…sometimes even more.
Eating healthy isn’t just another form of dieting; it’s a way of life. Eating healthier is all about making smarter choices when you eat. It may be something as simple as eating an open-faced sandwich instead of one with two slices of bread or eating smaller meals more frequently. It may involve learning to cook healthier, such as steaming or broiling foods instead of frying them or making substitutions in recipes, such as using unsweetened applesauce to replace some of the oil and sugar when baking. A nutritionist or personal trainer certified in nutrition can show you ways to make those changes and never have to diet again.
The more you exercise, particularly if you’re doing the right exercises the right way, the more endurance and strength you’ll build. You’ll also build flexibility, which helps prevent injury. Regular exercise also boosts your immune system to help prevent disease and protect the cells. It increases the lengths of the telomeres, which protect your chromosomes and keep cells dividing. Cell death or damage causes disease and aging. You’ll improve every part of your body from your respiratory system to your brain. In fact, some studies show that exercise might be beneficial for slowing the progress of Alzheimer’s disease and most studies show it helps keep mental functioning stronger.
Losing weight requires you to eat fewer calories than you burn. While a healthy diet is one lifestyle change you can make to lose weight, adding exercise to the mix supercharges your weight loss. Exercise not only burns additional calories while you’re doing it, it also builds muscle tissue. Muscle tissue requires more calories than fat tissue does, so it boosts your metabolism.
Making healthy lifestyle changes can help prevent serious conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. If you already have these conditions, it can make them easier to manage and control.
You’ll sleep better at night when you make healthy lifestyle changes. In fact, adequate sleep each night is also a healthy lifestyle change. Your body heals itself as you sleep and your mind rests to take on the challenges of the next day.
You’ll burn off stress with regular exercise. Regular exercise is necessary to burn off the hormones created by stress. If allowed to remain, they can make changes in your body that can affect your health.
You’ll build confidence and feel more like being social and doing fun things when you make lifestyle changes that include a healthy diet and regular exercise. Enjoying life and having fun keeps you more youthful and healthy.