Sixty percent of American adults are obese or overweight. It is a near-epidemic national health problem, one that contributes to a vast range of residual health issues, from high blood pressure to diabetes. Prevention is important, given the extreme difficulty of overcoming a problem that begins in early childhood for many people. For those who struggle with obesity, establishing wellness-focused actions—including an effective workout routine, healthful diet, sufficient rest, and more—is key to addressing what can be a life-threatening problem.
Exercise and healthy eating are a good start, but must be part of a larger wellness picture that addresses one’s entire life. People often blame their busy schedule for not maintaining a healthy regimen, but most of the following tips can easily be worked into your lifestyle.
Fruit, vegetables, and whole grains like whole-wheat breads and brown rice should be part of your daily diet. Foods high in carbohydrates, saturated fats, and flour are leading causes of obesity and make it difficult to break the dangerous cycle that’s triggered by chronic obesity. Eating healthy portions is just as important, at least a cup of raw vegetables and one cup of fruit every day. And carefully manage your caloric intake, bearing in mind that taking in more calories than you can burn off only contributes to obesity.
Avoid fast foods like fries and cheeseburgers. If you do eat at a fast food restaurant, opt for a salad with low-fat dressing or a grilled chicken sandwich. And if you’re in the habit of eating desserts, try switching to fruit, rice pudding, or sorbet instead of cookies, pies, and ice cream.
It’s important to couple your dietary intake with a vigorous exercise regimen. Thirty minutes a day of cardio activity, anything from walking to weight training or yard work, should be your goal. If you’re unable to work formal exercise into your day, try taking the steps at work instead of the elevator. Walk to the bank on your lunch break. And try walking to the store rather than driving the next time you need to pick up something. Remember, cumulative exercise will work, as long as you hit that 30-minute goal.
For some people, exercising at home is more comfortable and easier to do than making time for the gym or a midday workout. You can easily put together a “home gym” with a few inexpensive objects, such as kettlebells, dumbbells, resistance bands, and a Swiss ball. Exercising at home can be a lot more convenient, easier, and comfortable than trying to exercise during a busy work day. Start slow and gradually increase your repetitions as you feel stronger and more confident.
Get Your Sleep
Sleep is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle. Getting seven to eight hours a night can help you manage stress, lower blood pressure, and strengthen your immune system. It can also help your body regulate functions that are important to managing your weight.
Don’t neglect your mental health. Take time for contemplation and the peace that comes from following a meditative discipline like yoga or breathing exercises that help you focus and relax. Self-reflection can be an effective way to manage your overall health.
Obesity is a serious health problem, but there are many ways to combat it by adapting your lifestyle and personal habits. If getting started is difficult, start by planning out a well-rounded health routine designed to keep your caloric intake and exercise routine in balance. And don’t forget your mental well-being while you’re working at it.
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