It’s a fact, children are spending an increasing number of hours indoors and in front of screens, cultivating a sedentary lifestyle. Now it’s more important than ever for each member of your family to be involved in a fitness plan. Teaching your kids healthy habits today will change their lives for the future.
Get Everyone Active
The benefit of regular exercise is undeniable. As adults, our fitness program typically works around our busy schedules. Waking early to run outside before heading to off to work, joining a CrossFit squad, or fitting in a tranquil yoga class during lunch hour. While we often create goals that align with our individual lifestyle, shifting the focus to family activities can inspire better physical health and a greater state of overall wellness—and it can even be fun!
Some benefits from regular physical activity include:
Improved blood circulation throughout the body
Helping maintain healthy weight
Preventing bone loss
Boosting energy levels
Preventing and helps manage high blood pressure
Supporting a healthy self-image
Helping to manage stress levels
Fighting moderate anxiety and depression
Increasing muscle strength
These are just a few reasons to focus on family fitness and instill a healthy attitude for an active lifestyle. Spark an early love of exercise as you inspire your family to make physical activity a normal part of their daily routine.
Healthy Parents, Healthy Kids
Find the right balance for your family by modeling healthy habits yourself. Activity levels will differ from family to family—focus on a sound middle ground. An environment of health and wellness, one that allows children to explore different activities and cultivate their own athletic interests, leads to healthy bodies, minds, and experiences. And, most importantly, builds high self-esteem.
Most kids naturally want to try things they see their parents doing. Stroke their curiosity with a fun workout, stretching, and energetic games. If they see you happy and thriving with daily exercise, they’re more likely to join in and see physical activity as a normal part of life.
Adventure in the Everyday
The habit of movement can encourage adventure. Find and explore new trails, bike paths, or create an outdoor game at the park. Infuse imagination with physical activity and encourage unknown outcomes. This teaches your kids how to take risks safely and gives them the freedom to have rich experiences under supervision. A great way to nurture their spirit of exploration is to plan day trips or vacations to national parks, mapping out memorable hikes together.
iPads, Xboxes, cell phones, and computers often give children a false sense of enjoyment. A National Survey of Children’s Health found that young people who spend seven hours or more on screens each day were twice as susceptible to depression or anxiety. Twenty percent of kids between the ages of 14 and 17 fit into this category, as many parents let hours go by without regulating game, video, and other media kids use.
Take steps to limit screen time and, instead, encourage playtime. Advocate walks, bike rides, or set up equipment in the yard. Tournaments and ongoing games give kids a healthy dose of competition and something to look forward to in the days ahead.
A Gift of Grit and Determination
As adults, we accept that responsibility and facing daily challenges is a part of life that often brings great rewards. This is a hard lesson to teach children who are not yet emotionally mature and don’t quite understand the importance of perseverance. Life isn’t always fair. Help your kids realize what they’re good at physically and work with them to develop these strengths. Fitness will show them that grit and determination can transform their talents and help them gain a healthy confidence around achievement.
Sweat Together, Stay Together
Integrating regular family fitness activities is a great way to create memories. Adventure and play will naturally bring you together, teach you how to get along with one another, and help deepen your family relationships. If you spend evenings and weekends training together, learning to swim, traversing mountains, you bet you’ll learn to trust and rely on each other, and make some memorable moments along the way. Quality time creates quality bonds.
Healthy Habits for Life
Beyond living a more well-balanced life, a family fitness routine helps children create healthy habits in all aspects of their lives. Setting goals and following through with smaller day-to-day activities establishes healthy habits for life.
Regular family fitness is just one way to create a healthy, balanced, and fun environment for your loved ones. What other ways do you enhance your family life as a team?
As we go through life there are many things that we encounter that take us off track and divert our attention away from some of the most important things that we can do which is to take care of ourselves. Yes, there used to be an adage that said the “Golden Years”, but as I have found out for myself, your years are only “Golden” if you put health as your top priority.
Your life experiences make you an expert at handling change. Starting a new job, moving to a different city, the birth of a child. All events that transform your life and shape you are about change. For women and men, healthy aging is the next challenge to conquer.
But everyone ages differently. Women go through a specific ageing process called menopause. And while every woman will experience it, not everyone is aware of what to expect.
Men go through hormonal changes with age, too. It’s not the same as what women deal with, though. (You can read the facts about male menopause below.)
No matter what’s ahead, when you understand how your body changes as you age, you will feel ready to march into each new year and decade with confidence. And preparing for healthy ageing now can help ease your body into each subsequent phase of life. Whatever your age, there are steps you can take now to get on track for healthy ageing.
To tackle what’s coming with age, let’s break up adulthood into some of the key concerns during different decades of life. This is by no means a comprehensive list—a whole book would be needed for that. But you’ll read about what to expect in terms of hormonal changes with age and some of the other physical changes you might encounter. Learn tips about how to handle what might be coming your way.
You’re never too old to learn about your body. And you can never start paying attention to healthy habits too early. So, no matter your age now is the time to start down the road to healthy ageing. The choices you make throughout your life are the key to enjoying every minute of it.
Get Active to Prepare Properly in Your Twenties and Thirties
Your twenties and thirties are a great time to develop healthy habits that’ll last throughout your life. Start exercising on a regular basis as soon as possible. Partner up with a family member or friend and get fit for the future together.
One concern for women and men is a loss of strength and bone density later in life. That’s why your younger years are a great time to strengthen your muscles and bones, armouring your body through regular physical activity.
Getting in shape now might seem premature, but it’s never too early to start. As you age, some activities will become more challenging. So, start working out now to help maintain your independence when you are older.
Think about activities like shopping, gardening, and hiking. Muscle and bone loss could make these difficult. Lifting groceries, pushing a wheelbarrow, and climbing stairs are all things you will want the freedom to do in the future. That’s why you need to stay active in your twenties and thirties—so you can keep doing the things you want to with the people you love.
All you need is 30 minutes of activity each day. And many of these suggestions can be done with a partner. Build up your stamina and set your body up for comfortable ageing by keeping physically fit.
Fortifying Health in Your Forties
Working out during the week is a good start on the road to healthy ageing. And a diet of healthful foods can make the trip even smoother. These habits set you up for wellness in your next decade of life. That way when your forties roll around you can meet any ageing challenge head-on.
Ageing skin will be one of the first symptoms you tackle.
By your forties, the skin that has served you so well can start to show signs of wear. All the fun in the sun, smiling and laughing you’ve done shows up in the form of wrinkles. Both women and men can expect to get wrinkles. Here’s why they show up and how you can minimize their appearance.
The wrinkles around your eyes and mouth come as the result of intrinsic and extrinsic ageing. Intrinsic ageing is what happens when your body naturally starts to produce less and less of the proteins that keep skin bouncy and firm—collagen and elastin. This intrinsic ageing process actually starts before your forties. In fact, after age 20, your skin produces one percent less collagen each year. So, by your forties, you’ve probably noticed a difference in your skin’s appearance.
Extrinsic ageing also changes the look of your skin. This form of ageing accounts for the damage that comes from outside your body. That can include things like tobacco and pollution.
You’ll notice extrinsic ageing when your skin looks splotchy and uneven in texture. Radiation from the sun is one of the biggest contributors to extrinsic ageing. Responsible sun exposure is healthy (15-30 minutes per day). But excess sunlight damages your skin and is the source of most of your wrinkles.
To prepare yourself for the age-associated changes in your skin, sunscreen and sun-obscuring clothing (long shirts, pants, and hat) is your primary defence. Sunscreen protects your skin from damage and should be used every day. For maximum skin protection, try to use sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30-35.
If you want to avoid the appearance of wrinkles, try adding an antioxidant-rich serum and moisturizer to your skincare regimen. Antioxidants are great at reducing the appearance of redness. They can help even out your skin tone and give your skin a healthy glow. While moisturizers help give a more youthful appearance by helping retain moisture in the top layers of the skin and protecting from outside elements that can contribute to skin dryness.
Add antioxidants to your diet, too. Your ageing skin will thank you. So will your brain. Your forties are for fortifying your body for healthy ageing. And it’s smart to look ahead and consider the health of your brain. A diet rich in antioxidants is great for your mind and can help keep you sharp. (More on that later.)
Don’t sweat your changing skin. Everyone experiences wrinkles. But you can help your skin retain its healthy look and elasticity with sun protection and proper skincare.
Healthy Aging in Your Fifties: Hormonal Changes and You
For women, the most noticeable changes of ageing come about in your fifties. Menopause begins around age 50 in most women. This final shift in estrogen hormone production can happen quickly, so be on the lookout for some of the symptoms. Estrogen is the hormone that controls a woman’s menstrual cycles.
Menopause signals the end of a woman’s reproductive years. This is the point in life when the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and estrogen production declines significantly. When menopause begins, monthly periods become irregular and eventually stop. These hormonal changes eventually cause a loss of fertility.
Changes in regular menstrual cycles might be the first symptom of the start of menopause. But your body will also experience other changes when menopause begins. Symptoms include hot flashes, mood changes, dry skin, and poor sleep to name a few. Becoming aware of these future changes can help you plan to keep yourself comfortable.
Consuming foods rich in phytoestrogens (like soy), daytime physical activity, and breathing exercises at night can help improve your sleep if it’s interrupted by menopause. Another good idea is limiting caffeine intake to the beginning of the day. That way you won’t be wide-eyed and jittery when it is time for bed.
Investing in a good skin care regimen can help with dryness caused by menopause. Moisturizers and creams formulated for mature skin can help your body preserve moisture and brighten your complexion’s appearance.
And remember, while many of these hormonal changes might seem dramatic, their side effects won’t last forever. Always keep in mind that menopause is a normal part of ageing. Most women transition out of menopause within about five years and see a reduction in most menopausal symptoms over time.
A Word About Male Menopause
You might be wondering if there is an equivalent hormonal ageing process for men. While there is no distinct man-opause (male menopause), men do experience hormonal changes as they age.
All men will see a reduction in testosterone with age. But this change is gradual and not as marked as estrogen’s changes in women.
Symptoms of reduced testosterone include a loss of muscle mass and decreased energy. Some men may experience mood changes, decreases in strength, and sex drive to name a few. The physical symptoms can be alleviated with regular exercise. And changes in mood can be addressed with mindfulness, emotional support, and help from a trusted healthcare provider.
Mentally and More—Staying Fit in Your Sixties and Beyond
The previous decades have been preparing you for healthy ageing with habits like regular exercise, a healthy diet, and proper skin care. In your sixties, you have the chance to work on perhaps your most important organ of all—your brain. And keeping your brain in good shape will make ageing a more enjoyable process.
Stimulating your mind can help you stay sharp as the years go on. As you settle into your sixties and beyond, forgetfulness might be on your brain. A small amount of cognitive decline is expected as you age. Luckily, there is a lot you can do to keep your wits about you well into the future.
Engaging in activities that challenge your mind and memory are great ways to stay in mental shape. Studies have shown that adults who practiced cognitive stimulation through active learning saw less cognitive decline later in life. These include: playing musical instruments, taking classes (cooking to math), learning a new language, writing/journaling, memory games, talking with friends, actively working on hand-eye coordination, and practicing a new sport.
What kinds of things can you work on to keep your mind sharp? Learn. Learn. Learn! Reading, writing, and studying a new language are all excellent ways to keep your brain learning. You might even find that these activities are fun.
Playing card and board games are great for your brain, as well. Try to play with others as much as possible. This is a great time for being with family and friends. What’s more fun than playing games and making memories with those you love?
Another way to protect your memory is by eating a diet rich in antioxidants. Current research suggests that cognitive decline and brain ageing is caused by oxidative damage. Free radicals gnaw away at neurons. Antioxidants target free radicals and help protect your brain cells.
You can find a lot of antioxidants in berries. Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are great sources. Put them on your breakfast cereal. Eat them as a snack. However, you do it, incorporating antioxidants into your diet can support your ageing brain.
Don’t spend your sixties and beyond worrying about your memory. Activate your brain by learning new things and engaging with your favourite people. Talk, read, write, and learn as often as you can. Keep up a healthy diet with lots of antioxidants and other brain nutrients.
A Healthy Life, No Matter The Age
Living well doesn’t stop just because you get older. At any age, you can have a healthy and happy lifestyle. By preparing for healthy ageing in your youth, these transitions can become more comfortable and manageable.
Start healthy habits like a good diet and regular exercise today to keep your body strong for when you get older. Take time to care for your skin and get ready for some of the hormonal changes coming your way. And keep your mind sharp by continuing to learn all the time.
You might think that age is just a number. And you would be right. You can embrace that number (no matter how high) knowing you are prepared for healthy ageing.
The fact of the matter is I have spent the last 8 years of my life focusing on my health. As hard as is, I too am human and slip from my commitments but each time find it easier and easier to hop back on the wagon. I know now how it feels to be healthy and I want to keep striving to, control and maintain my health, because if I don’t care, who will?
If you are interested in making the rest of your life, the best of your life, join us anytime to walk your path to health. USANA products can be purchased at the below link. We are also available anytime to have a discovery call and find out more about you.
Newsflash! Potato chips still aren’t good for you. That’s probably pretty obvious. And you already know a healthy diet and activity are important for maintaining your weight. But one large, long-term study got very specific about the worst foods for your waistline.
Researchers spent 20 years studying over 120,00 healthy people. Evaluations every four years helped the study pinpoint foods and behaviors that have the biggest impact on weight gain over time.
A More Complex Remedy
You probably already have some guesses. But before we start naming names, there were some interesting overall conclusions. They may reinforce what you know and add information to shape your healthy lifestyle.
Let’s start with the one you might guess. Highly refined or processed foods, liquid carbohydrates, and alcohol consumption were found to contribute to weight gain. But fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains showed the opposite effect—limiting weight gain.
That’s kind of a no-brainer, but the next one is less obvious. Mostly because it’s common to hear “eating less and exercise is all you need.” It’s an easy way to describe the change to a healthy lifestyle. But the study adds some nuance.
Their analysis suggests “dietary quality (the types of foods and beverages consumed) influences dietary quantity (total calories).” So it shifts the conversation from “less is more” to “the right amounts of the right foods.” Overall, it means choosing better, healthier options help keep your overall energy balance in check.
Weight Gain Can Sneak Up on You
Weight management is inextricably tied to the laws of thermodynamics. It all comes back to the conservation of energy—total energy in a system remains constant. Basically, you can’t make energy disappear. If you eat calories and don’t use them, they’re stored.
The study found that consistently having an extra 50–100 kcal per day is enough to add weight. Those small increases stack up over time. That’s how the average study participant gained 3.35 pounds during each four-year interval.
Findings like this underline the importance of daily dietary diligence. And shows the wisdom of taking the long-term approach of lifestyle change over quick-fix, fad diets.
Top 6 Worst Foods for Your Waistline
Now the part you’ve been waiting for—time to see how close your guesses were. Here are the worst offenders:
Potato chips: The absolute worst—of the foods in the study, at least. Increased servings of these snacks contributed a four-year average gain of 1.69 pounds.
Potatoes: You can’t have potato chips without potatoes. It’s probably no surprise that increased servings of the starchy root tacked on a four-year average of 1.28 pounds.
Sugar-sweetened beverages: Exactly one pound was added for study participants who increased sugary-drink intake.
Unprocessed red meats: The study found an 0.95-pound average gain for those who increased red-meat servings over four years.
Processed meats: You hear about how bad these are for your health. And the study found processed meats accounted for 0.93 extra pounds on average.
Alcohol: An additional drink each day meant participants added 0.41 pounds, on average, over four years. Again, that’s almost half a pound for each drink you add per day.
How did you do? Hopefully the clues above about starches, refined grains, and processed foods helped you out. Or maybe you were tipped off by other studies that have found similar results about these types of food.
The authors suggest the satiating inability of starches and refined grains may be to blame. Since they don’t make you feel as full, you eat more to fill yourself up. That could account for the constant extra calories that can really add up.
Foods to Stock Up On
The study didn’t just have bad news for carb cravers. It also identified some of the food types that showed positive effects on weight over each four-year period. Here’s what they found:
Yogurt: Kind of surprising that this was the study’s best of the best. The authors admit it could be confounding factors or maybe the bacterial benefits could be to blame. Other research over two decades has linked calcium-rich foods and weight. Whatever the cause, the results showed a four-year average of -0.82 pounds for participants that increased servings of yogurt.
Nuts: Nothing crazy about this one. Nuts are constantly mentioned as a part of a healthy diet. The study showed an average of -0.57 pounds for these protein-packed snacks.
Whole grains: Unlike their processed cousins, whole grains showed a four-year average of -0.37 pounds.
Vegetables: This large variety of this category might explain why vegetables only accounted for an average of -0.22 pounds. But that’s still another reason to eat more vegetables.
The results probably reinforce your ideas about what a healthy diet looks like. The authors list some reasons why this group of foods showed benefits for keeping weight gain in check. And it goes beyond simple calories.
The study suggests satiety may to blame again. With higher fiber content and slower digestion speeds, these foods make you feel full. And if you’re eating more whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables, you may not feel the need to fill up on other more processed, higher calorie foods.
Time to Start Healthy Habits
Diet is only a piece of a healthy lifestyle. And this study took a look at behaviors and habits that impacted weight gain over time, as well.
Health isn’t as simple as diet and exercise. But physical activity did have a huge, positive impact. Across all groups, physical activity accounted for a four-year average of -1.76 pounds. So, those who got moving fared well in the battle against weight gain.
A sedentary activity—watching television—had the predictably opposite effect. Study participants added 0.31 pounds per hour, per day. Some of this was tied to the snacking that happens during television session. Either way, it gives binge watching a new meaning.
For most of us, sleep is a pretty physically idle experience. But your sleep was tied to positive outcomes. Those whose nightly sleep averaged less than six hours or more than eight hours showed more weight gain.
The study’s advice might sound familiar—eat a fresh, healthy diet, sleep, and get off the couch. But it adds some complexity to the common “just eat less and lose weight” idea.
And whether your guesses about the foods were right, it’s a nice reminder. Checking your progress towards a healthy lifestyle can have an impact. The authors say repeated assessment over time is important. So use the information to make changes and build your health lifestyle.
Healthy eating is a combination of a number of different factors. From portion control and proper nutrition, to counting calories and eliminating sweets, maintaining a healthy diet can be a little overwhelming.
When it comes to eating healthier, the key is to work smarter — not harder. Here are 6 simple ways to kick-start healthy eating habits:
1) Unlock the potential of frozen vegetables.
Frozen? Yes. Fresh vegetables are always a healthy choice, but prepping them can be time consuming and they can go bad before you get a chance to eat them. Frozen vegetables are cheap and require no prep. Toss them into your morning omelet or sauté a serving with dinner. When veggies are ready to use at a moment’s notice, you’re more likely to eat them.
2) Eat your vegetables first.
Start off each meal by eating the green stuff before the protein or carbs. Doing this will keep you from filling up on the main course, and will even help you eat less when you get to the other foods on your plate.
3) Plan ahead and cook extra protein.
When you’re making dinner, cook an extra serving of protein and add it to tomorrow’s lunch. Toss your extra chicken into a fresh salad or use last night’s steak in a tasty wrap.
4) Invest in a dressing mister.
Dressings can add a lot of calories to a salad — one tablespoon of olive oil has almost 120 calories by itself. One spritz from an oil mister distributes just 5 to 10 calories evenly for a lighter, tastier salad. Plus, making your own dressing means you’ll get to make it exactly how you like it.
5) Substitute salt with seasonings.
While we need some salt each day to maintain balanced health — 1,500 mg of sodium daily — the average Canadian consumes more than twice that much. It’s all too easy to consume too much salt, which can lead to a lot of health problems. Just one teaspoon of salt adds up to over2,300 mg. Instead of salt, boost your meals with onion powder, garlic or basil. Not only do these spices add flavor, they offer a lot of health benefits as well.
6) Plan tomorrow’s meals before you go to bed.
Invest in a good set of food containers and make an effort to plan tomorrow’s breakfast, lunch and snacks before you go to bed. Planning ahead will help save time in the morning, and you’ll be less likely to buy a high-calorie, high-sodium, expensive lunch.
Changing any habit takes time, and adopting a healthier diet will take practice. Start slow and make simple changes to ease into your new lifestyle. Once your old habits are a thing of the past, healthy ones will become easier than ever.