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20(14) tips for a Healthy New Year

With 2014 around the corner, many people make New Years resolutions, such as adopting healthier habits.

Here are some of my recommendations (not in any particular order):

 

1. Keep hydrated– drink a minimum of half your weight in ounces of water. If you active exercising, then increase your consumption. If your urine is dark, take  this is as a sign of dehydration. I like to start the day with 16 oz of water.

2. Lift weights- weight lifting has favorable effects on metabolism, body composition, strength, cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, hormones, bone density and mood.

3. Roll a joint-  Self-Myofascial Release (SMR) with the Grid and other Trigger Point tools helps to maintain soft tissue flexibility and optimum soft tissue length. SMR is excellent for injury rehabilitation and prevention as well as a pre workout warm-up and post workout cool down.

4. Try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) a couple of times per week. Hills, stairs, jumping rope, circuits and cardio equipment can be used to rev up your metabolism for a better looking body and improvements in your cardio-respiratory system.

 

5. Change your exercise routine every 4-6 weeks to avoid injuries and plateaus.

6. Get a Movement Screen. A simple Overhead Squat Assessment can help to identify which of your muscles are over active and need to be stretched, which are under active and need to be strengthened and which joints are dysfunctional. You can then fine tune your exercise routine, prevent injuries and/or eliminate pain.

7. Eat locally, seasonally, sustainably, mindfully and organic as much as possible. Taking this general approach to how you eat is better for your health and the environment. Farmer’s markets are an excellent venue to support this approach to food.

 

8. Drink Green Tea. There are a number of health benefits associated with this beverage, some of which include the prevention of certain cancers, heart disease and side effects of type II diabetes, as well as helping to speed up metabolism for weight loss. It also Improves mental health and enhances digestion.

 

9. Eat more nuts.  Nuts are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, omega 3 fats and fiber. They have been shown to reduce blood pressure and inflammation, help reduce blood sugar and aid in weight loss.

10. Eat more color.  Colorful fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense and high in phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is an underlying factor for most chronic diseases.

11. Snack on Berries.  Berries are high in phytonutrients that have been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and help with weight loss. They can also slow cognitive decline, reduce the chance of developing Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimers, boost heart health, and reduce the risk of developing certain cancers

12. Choose Dark Chocolate as a healthy snack. Cocoa, can reduce the risk factors for heart disease. Flavonoids in cocoa beans have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease. Flavonoids also help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function. In addition, some research has linked chocolate consumption to reduced risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. Choose 70% cacao or greater.

13. Get enough Sleep.  Poor sleep hygiene negatively affects your ability to lose weight and can actually lead to weight gain. In addition, inadequate sleep will depress your immune system, increase your pain and adversely affect your ability to heal.

14. Don’t stress.  Ongoing stress  can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases, such as  diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. Take a deep breath, spend time with family and do something for yourself   (even retail therapy 🙂  )

 

 

Have a healthy new year!

 

About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin

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