Lightly stretch your calves and thighs by sitting on the floor with your legs straight in front of you and reaching for your feet. Stretch your quads by standing on one foot, and pulling your lifted foot towards your buttocks. Stretch your arms and shoulders by reaching each arm across your chest and pulling back with the opposite hand. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds, and complete each stretch twice. Breathe deeply, to deliver oxygen to the muscle being stretched.
6. Eat your veggies...(And fruit)!....You've probably heard it a million times, so why aren't you getting the recommended 5 servings of both fruits and vegetables? Life can be stressful, so many people reach for the quick and easy frozen dinners and packaged foods, instead of fresh fruits and vegetables. Though packaged foods may contain 'natural' ingredients, they're lacking the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which fresh produce has to offer. To get the most out of the health benefits from fruits and vegetables, follow the Rainbow Rule: Eat a different colored fruit or vegetable with every meal. Each colored vegetable and fruits contains unique health benefits. For example, red foods contain lycopene which can lower the risk of cancer. While blue foods offer fiber and Vitamin C. Try making smoothies with fresh berries, or make chili with fresh beans and tomatoes.
7. Get Fat!.....No, I'm not telling you to start eating chocolate and gain weight. It's time to swap out the saturated fats with 'good' fats. Saturated fat raises the levels of cholesterol in your blood, and can lead to weight gain. Also, it's time to get rid of Trans Fat, which was invented to make foods taste better and last longer. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal products, such as beef, poultry, pork, eggs,and butter. Trans fat are very prominent in fast food. So what are the good fats? Monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats lower cholesterol while raising HDL cholesterol-the good cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats are found in nuts, avocados and olive oil. Polyunsaturated fat also lowers cholesterol and is found in fish such as salmon, and corn and soy oils. So instead of snacking on cheese or other fatty foods, try a handful of almonds or walnuts.
8. Get your 8!..... It can be difficult, impossible or even inconvenient to get 8 hours of sleep every night. You might rethink your schedule, though, because sleep may be more important than you thought. A good night of sleep does a whole lot more than just keep you alert the next day. Studies have shown that sleep can reduce stress, aid in weight loss, help your body overcome illness and injury, even reduce your risk of cancer. For many of us, 8 hours of sleep is unrealistic. Between work, kids, and other obligations, it can be impossible to get a full night of sleep. So how can you get the most out of your typical night of sleep? Here's a few ideas.
- Refrain from caffeine after 3PM.
- If you exercise at night, be sure to end at least an hour and a half before bedtime.
- Cool off your room, it's been proven that most people sleep better in a cooler room than a warmer room.
- Avoid before-bed-snacks, and eat your last meal at least one hour before bed.
- Get relaxed before getting into bed: try a warm bath, light stretching, reading or a warm mug of chamomile tea.
- Turnoff all distractions: If you like to fall asleep with the TV on, set it on a timer, to go off shortly after you fall asleep. (Even if the volume is muted or low, the light can affect your sleep)
- Set a gentle alarm: Being woken up by what seems like a bomb siren is not a good way to end an otherwise good night of sleep. Try a medium-volume radio alarm, an alarm that starts quiet and progressively gets louder, or a spoken alarm.
Never meditated before?
Here's the basics: Sit on the floor with your legs criss crossed. Straighten your back and place your hands lightly on your knees. Close your eyes, and concentrate on your breathing. Breathe slowly in through your nose, and out your mouth. Do not try to think about 'nothing.' If your thoughts wander, bring yourself back to concentrating on your breathing. Without moving, try to individually feel the presence of each body part, starting from your toes, and working your way up. Continue to concentrate on your breathing. Once you feel you have regrouped and slowed both your heart rate and breathing, slowly open your eyes and stand, and continue on with your day. Once you have practiced basic meditation, try to quiet your mind so that you can hear your heart beating. This take ultimate relaxation and quiet, so do not get frustrated if you can't hear it for a while.
10. Drink your tea.... Finally, drink your tea. Black, green, white and oolong teas are all jam-packed with antioxidants. These antioxidant can help ward off cancer, lower cholesterol levels and even prevent blood clot. Green tea is also a very common aid for weight loss. Be careful, though: Studies have shown the adding milk or cream to your tea can deplete the antioxidant levels in your tea. Be ware of caffeine in tea, and if you're drinking a cup before bed, choose a decaff variety.
These ten things are what I am doing to improve and work toward the ultimate healthy body, without pills, products or any unnatural means. Try them out, some may work for you better than others, some you may not like at all, but all of them lead to a healthier you in one way or another!