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Healthy Nails Start with Healthy Foods

by Susan Bowerman

It takes the right nutrients to help support strong, healthy nails.

Just like your skin and hair, your fingernails are a window to the “world within”––the health of your skin, hair and nails are a reflection of what you put into your body. And, like any other living tissue, your fingernails rely on a steady supply of nutrients to keep them strong and healthy.

Fingernail Fundamentals

Your nails are made up of layers of protein known as keratin, the same protein found in your hair. And they tend to grow at a fixed rate, with some slight variations: men’s nails usually grow faster than women’s (except during pregnancy, when the pace often picks up); fingernails grow faster than toenails; the nails on your little fingers grow more slowly than the others; and nails usually grow faster in the summer than in the winter. Also, the hardness of your nails is largely determined by genetics.

Even though you can’t make your nails grow faster or make them harder, it’s important to provide them with the nutrients they need to stay strong and healthy. That way, your nails may be able to grow longer since they may be less likely to crack or break.

Four Nutrients that Support Nail Health

1. Protein

Since your nails are composed primarily of protein, it should come as no surprise that you need adequate protein in your diet to support the health of your nails. Choose from a range of low-fat plant and animal sources: soy and other beans, eggs, dairy products, seafood, poultry and lean meats.

2. Omega-3 fatty acids

Beneficial fats can help keep your nails moisturized, keeping them from appearing dry and dull. Fish is the best source of these omega 3s but you can also find omega-3s in walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds.

3. Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that’s vitally important in protein synthesis, as it helps your body manufacture the keratin protein in your nails. Oysters are the richest source of zinc, but you’ll also find it in other proteins–meat, fish, poultry, beans and yogurt–as well as nuts.

4. Magnesium

Magnesium is a multitasker mineral–it’s needed for literally hundreds of chemical reactions in your body and, like zinc, helps your body to manufacture the proteins found in your nails. Magnesium is easy to get because it’s so widespread in healthy foods. Green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, avocado, whole grains, yogurt and soymilk are all good sources of magnesium.

Take a Holiday From the Holidays

women on beach on holiday frame on their faces

by Laura Chacon-Garbato

Sure, you look forward to the family gatherings and parties, but after the holidays, sometimes you feel like you just need a vacation. It’s all fun and games while you’re eating to your heart’s content, but once the party ends, you look at your waistline and your skin, and you think, “I need a vacation.”

You’re also probably staying out late, overindulging on sugary treats and alcohol. All of these can contribute to tired, dull looking skin. So here are three easy steps to get your skin healthy and glowing.

Use a Cleanser

Cleanse your skin in the morning and at night before going to bed. Make it a routine, just like brushing your teeth. Avoid harsh, ordinary soaps, and choose cleansers that are gentle, dermatologist tested and sulfate free. Choose something that’s appropriate for your skin type. For dryer skin, select products with ingredients like aloe vera, which help to soften and moisturize the skin. If your skin is oilier, pick ingredients like orange or citrus oil, which can leave your skin feeling refreshed. Also, make sure to use lukewarm water when removing or preparing products before they go on your skin, as hot water may irritate it.

Hydrate Your Skin

You know about the importance of drinking water for the healthy maintenance of your body, but it’s also vital for your skin. When your skin is hydrated, it looks beautiful and has a radiant glow. A daytime moisturizer is essential to maintain your skin’s moisture barrier and nourish the skin. Look for added benefits in the product like vitamins A, C and E, which are antioxidants that prevent free radical cell damage. To make it easier on yourself, you should use a protective daytime moisturizer with a broad spectrum sunscreen already in it. The sun emits harmful UV rays all year round, even on days when it’s less sunny. These rays can not only burn your skin, but also contribute to skin aging, sun spots and skin cancer.

Exfoliate

Exfoliating your face can leave your skin looking smoother and brighter in minutes. It’s important to scrub at least once a week because it helps to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. When you’re young, your body automatically sheds skin about every two weeks, but as you get older, that process is altered and slows down. Exfoliation reveals smoother, healthier looking skin. Also, it helps to remove the barrier that prevents your skincare products from penetrating into your skin and gives you the benefits they have to offer. Look for products with blueberry seeds, grapefruit, pomegranate or jojoba beads. These types of ingredients can help you achieve soft, smooth skin.

The New Year is a great time to get started on a healthy skincare routine and it only takes minutes. Remember, the skin is delicate and it needs to be taken care of, so look for quality ingredients that’ll deliver results.

Simple Guide to SPF, UVA, UVB

Sun Protector for your Skin

by Laura Chacon-Garbato

Pursuing the perfect tan might seem like a great idea when we are in our twenties, but as we get older, the perfect tan and unprotected sun exposure can take a toll on our skin. We must learn how to take care of it every day to ensure glowing, more youthful looking skin throughout the years.

When it comes to protecting your body from the sun, it’s important to understand why sun protection is a must, regardless of your age or the time of the year.

To protect your skin, you need to be conscientious of the damaging UVA and UVB rays of the sun. We often see these acronyms on our skin care products, cosmetics and clothing, but do you know what they mean?

  • SPF = Sun Protection Factor
  • UVA = Ultra Violet A (long wave)
  • UVB = Ultra Violet B (short wave)

 

UVA and UVB are two very different types of radiation that can damage your skin. To make it simple, remember UVA – A for Aging, as these are the rays that age your skin. And think UVB – B for Burning, as these are the rays that burn your skin.

UVA rays cause skin aging

UVA rays are responsible for skin aging and wrinkling and can contribute to skin cancer. Because UVA rays pass easily through the ozone layer, they make up the majority of sun exposure. UVA rays can pass through clouds, glass and even some clothing. You might not be able to feel them, but they will affect your skin.

UVB rays cause sunburn

UVB rays are responsible for sunburns and cataracts, and they can affect the immune system. Most importantly, UVB rays also contribute to skin cancer.

SPF lets you know how long you can stay in the sun

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) found in our sunscreen products gives you an idea of how long you can stay in the sun before your skin starts to get red. And everybody is different. SPF only applies to the UVB rays. It does not apply to the UVA rays. SPF products come in various levels, including SPF 15, SPF 30, SPF 50 and more. Here’s how they work: let’s say that your skin will start to redden when exposed to the sun in just ten minutes. You would take that ten minutes and multiply it by the SPF number you’re using.

For example, if you’re using an SPF 30 product:

–  10 minutes x 30 (SPF) = 300 minutes
–  Take the 300 minutes and divide by 60 minutes, which equals 1 hour
–  300 minutes / 60 minutes = 5
–  The result: around 5 hours of standard sun protection

If you’re at the beach or in direct sunshine for extended periods, always be cautious with sunscreen and your chosen sun protection factor. It’s important to not have a false sense of security when it comes to your sunscreen. Many products are not water resistant, so you wouldn’t be able to rely on five hours of protection if you’re swimming or exercising. Also, most sunscreens are intended for normal, everyday sun exposure, not a full day in direct sun. At the beach or while exercising in the sun, you should consider a stronger sunscreen than usual. And as always: apply, apply and reapply.

Top 10 sunscreen tips

1. Always apply sunscreen, whatever the season.
2. When purchasing sunscreen products, always look for “broad spectrum protection” on the label to ensure you are protected against both UVA and UVB rays
3. The proper amount of sunscreen for your body is about 1 oz. (or 30ml), which is just enough to fill a shot glass. You need a teaspoon (5 grams) of sunscreen just for your face.
4. Apply sunscreen at least 15 to 20 minutes before going into the sun. If your skin is already red from the sun, the damage has already started.
5. It’s important to protect every exposed area of the skin, including your ears and any bald spots; and wear protective clothing such as long sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats
6. Wear sunglasses that provide UVA and UVB protection. Not only can your eyelids burn but exposure to the UVB rays can lead to cataracts.
7. Don’t think you’re protected in your car or looking out a window. The sun’s rays can penetrate glass, so protect yourself even if you’re not in direct sunlight.
8. Make a habit of reapplying sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or excessive sweating.
9. Stay out of the sun during the hottest hours of the day and seek the shade as much as possible.
10. If you simply have to have a tan, use self-tanner. (But remember to wear sunscreen, too.)

Unprotected sun exposure is the leading culprit in skin aging and skin cancer. We must protect ourselves each and every day––while looking fabulous, of course.

Save Time with These 8 Make-Ahead Meal Ideas

healthy dishes for meal ideas for saving time

by Susan Bowerman

Here’s how an hour or two of food prep on the weekend can help you put together healthier meals for the entire week.

Make-ahead food ideas help me stay organized, save time and always provide something healthy and delicious for when I’m hungry. I like to spend an hour or two on the weekend preparing some staple foods that I can use all week. Take a look at my top eight make-ahead food ideas.

Salad Greens
Pre-washed salad greens are convenient, but they can be pricey. Instead, I buy a variety of lettuces and greens, break them into bite-sized pieces for salads, then wash and spin them in my salad spinner. Then (don’t laugh) I put them in a pillowcase and store them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. The salad spinner gets the greens really dry, and the pillowcase works better than plastic bags to keep them fresh and crisp. The greens don’t get soggy this way, and they stay fresh for a full week.

Pre-cut Vegetables
I pack a salad nearly every day for lunch, and I make a salad almost every night for dinner, too. To make it easy, I prepare a lot of different veggies and store them in individual containers in the refrigerator. My standbys are thinly sliced cucumbers, red onion and bell pepper, grated carrots and chopped parsley. To prep my food ahead of time, I often blanch some broccoli or cauliflower florets or roast some zucchini slices or asparagus spears in a hot oven and chill those. These veggies quickly and easily get worked into my lunch salad and dinners throughout the week.

Pan-Seared Chicken Pieces
Cooking some chicken in advance is a real lifesaver for me. Starting with about two pounds (1kg) of chicken tenders (goujons), I sprinkle them with a little salt, pepper and paprika. Then I brown them on one side in a little bit of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. I flip them over, add a few tablespoons of liquid to the skillet (white wine, broth, water, or lemon juice), cover the skillet and let them cook for 5-6 minutes until they’re done. I often add these to lunch salads, stuff some into whole grain pita pockets with veggies and hummus, or use them to make a quick soup or pasta for dinner.

Beans or Lentils
Slow cookers are great for making homemade beans or lentils. I like to slow cook black beans with onions, garlic and spices. Once they’re cooked, I keep them in the refrigerator to mix into my salad for lunch or use them as a base for a soup or chili.

Hard-Boiled Eggs
Eggs are one of the best protein sources around, and it only takes a few minutes to hard boil them. I use hard-boiled eggs as a protein source in my salads, and I often grab one for a quick snack. I like to spread a rice cake with some grainy mustard then top it with a sliced egg and some of my sliced vegetables.

Tuna Salad
When I have tuna salad in the refrigerator, it’s a lot easier for me to work more fish into my diet. I mix flaked tuna with either mashed avocado or hummus, a little mustard and a lot of chopped vegetables (again, those pre-cut vegetables). It serves as a protein source for my salad at lunch, or I’ll use a little scoop for a high-protein snack on some whole grain crackers.

Hummus
Hummus takes only a few minutes to make and will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a week. It’s also very inexpensive to make, compared with the price of store-bought versions. Start with a can of beans (garbanzos/chickpeas are traditional, but other beans work just as well). Drain the beans, rinse and drain again, then whirl in the blender with a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper until smooth. Hummus with raw veggies makes a great snack, but I also use it in place of mayonnaise in tuna or egg salad, or I’ll thin it down with a little vinegar and water for a delicious salad dressing or sauce on steamed vegetables.

Salad Dressing
Bottled dressings are expensive and often high in salt, sugar and preservatives. Making your own dressing is simple and allows you to control the ingredients. I mix two parts olive oil to one part acid (citrus juice, vinegar), then add salt and pepper to taste. I vary the acid and often use a blend, like lime juice and rice vinegar. You can experiment with adding dried herbs, mustard, garlic powder or onion powder.

For more tips on healthy eating and nutrition, visit I Am Herbalife Nutrition.

A Healthy Diet for Healthy Skin

woman with healthy skin eating healthy food

by Laura Chacon-Garbato

A healthy diet is essential to the health of your body, but it’s also essential to the health of your skin.

A variety of nutrients, including protein, antioxidants, vitamins and collagen can help improve the way your skin looks. Healthy skin is easily recognizable because it’s usually glowing. Here are some nutrients to consume for healthy, glowing skin.

Nutrition for Skin Health

Eat Protein

A diet low in protein, over the course of many months, can cause a loss in skin tone. Your skin may start to sag and wrinkle beyond what would be reasonable for chronological age. Proteins are essential for tissue repair and the construction of new tissue. Cells need protein to maintain their life, so the body uses protein to “replace” worn-out or dead skin cells. Including proteins in your diet from sources like chicken, meat, fish, soy or tofu will help you solve that concern. Meal replacement protein shakes are also great options for protein consumption.

Importance of Antioxidants and Vitamins

While protein is essential to achieving healthy skin, antioxidants A, C and E are also crucial. Deficiencies in any of these nutrients can affect the health of your skin. The skin easily shows the effects of oxidative damage, and antioxidants have been shown to be potent in protecting the skin from oxidative damage. Make sure your diet includes fruits like blueberries, strawberries and apples, and vegetables like broccoli, spinach and kale. Additionally, a multivitamin is an excellent way of ensuring that you are providing your skin with what it needs to look healthy.

Collagen Consumption

The human body’s collagen accounts for 25% to 30% of its total protein, of which about 75% is skin collagen. Collagen is located primarily in the connective tissue, and it’s responsible for giving the dermis its firm structure. Look for products with hydrolyzed Verisol® collagen. Verisol® collagen works from the inside out to support the structure of the skin.* Verisol® collagen supports skin elasticity and reduces wrinkles. For added benefits, there are products in the marketplace that also contain antioxidants and minerals to support healthy nails and hair.* During the aging process, which starts in your mid-20s, the skin suffers from a progressive loss of moisture and becomes increasingly dry. When this happens, the dermis becomes thinner; the connective tissue loses its firmness and elasticity, and wrinkles and sagging start to occur.

A healthy diet can support healthy skin. It’s the best way of looking and feeling great. When you nourish your body from the inside out, with the proper food and nutrients, your body will thank you with youthful and radiant skin!

  • Verisol® is a registered trademark of GELITA AG.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

10 Heart-Healthy Foods Your Body Will Love

dish of avocado salad with arugula tomatoes  black olives and bread

by Susan Bowerman

Most people don’t need an excuse to party, but in case you need an official reason to celebrate, February doesn’t disappoint. Sure, there’s the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day, but we also have Groundhog Day and Presidents’ Day. And in case you didn’t mark your calendars, February is also National Heart Health Month. You probably don’t want to celebrate this holiday with pizza and buffalo wings. So, instead, why not show everyone that you’ve got a heart of gold by preparing a delicious heart-healthy meal?

First, if you intend to drink alcohol, make a toast to your good health with a glass of champagne. Not only is champagne festive, but a glass of bubbly contains polyphenols—naturally occurring compounds found in grapes that affect the body’s regulation of blood flow and blood pressure.  We don’t recommend you drink alcohol to get polyphenols for this purpose, but maybe thinking about them this way will remind you that you should find healthful sources of polyphenols in your diet.

Next, start your meal with a colorful salad. Bright orange carrots, red tomatoes and deep green spinach owe their colors to carotenoids. These are a group of antioxidant pigments that help the heart by inhibiting the oxidation of the ‘bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood, a key step in the development of atherosclerosis.

Don’t stop there, though. Toss some avocado into your salad for a bonus. Carotenoids are also fat-soluble, so avocado’s healthy fat helps your body absorb these beneficial compounds. Even better, add some beans to your salad. Their water-soluble fiber helps to keep cholesterol levels in check.

For your entrée, grill up some fresh fish. Fish is one of the best sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which help to keep certain fats in the blood within normal range (like triglycerides and cholesterol). And that can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Let yourself go “a little nuts.” Tree nuts like almonds, walnuts and pistachios are rich in substances called phytosterols, which help to lower cholesterol. Toast nuts lightly to bring out their natural flavor and then sprinkle them over salads or veggies.

There’s no better finish to a great meal than a bit of chocolate. Naturally occurring compounds in cocoa called flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that fight free radical damage and help protect the heart. The darker and more bittersweet the chocolate, the better it is for you. So, enjoy a bit of dark chocolate, or drizzle some melted bittersweet chocolate over fresh berries for a doubly healthy dessert. Berries get their beautiful red-purple colors from anthocyanins, natural pigments that act as antioxidants, too.  We don’t recommend sweets as a regular part of your diet because of the sugar they contain, but as with polyphenols, thinking about antioxidants in your desserts might help you remember to pay attention to them as part of your diet.

I’ll admit that National Heart Health Month isn’t exactly a “cards and flowers” occasion, but why not celebrate anyway? It’s a perfect time to feature heart-healthy foods in a delicious, healthy meal that you and your loved ones can literally “eat to your heart’s content.”

For more tips on healthy eating and nutrition, visit I Am Herbalife Nutrition.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips to Reduce Body Fat and Improve your Heart Health

woman with meter and bowl of salad for control weight

by Susan Bowerman

Here’s why keeping your weight in check is so important for heart health, and how a heart-healthy diet can help you control your weight.

February is American Heart Month, which is why we’re focusing this month on heart health. A “heart-healthy” diet can help you to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. That’s important, because carrying too much body fat—especially around your midsection—may increase your risk for heart disease.

Why Excess Body Fat Affects Heart Health

The larger and heavier you are, the harder your heart has to work. As you gain body fat, your body has to develop additional tiny blood vessels in order to supply oxygen and nutrients to the fat cells. But more blood vessels means an increased workload for your heart, because—in order for the blood to reach all of your cells—your heart has to work harder, and it takes more blood pressure, too.

Where you carry your fat also makes a difference. The fat that lies around the abdomen (often referred to as “belly fat”) is different from the fat deposits you have in other parts of your body. An excess of body fat that collects around your midsection and internal organs is associated with an increased risk for heart disease—in part, because of influences on blood pressure and levels of fats in the bloodstream.

Carrying extra weight can also affect your heart health in another important yet less direct way. Many people complain that excess weight makes it difficult or uncomfortable to exercise—which, of course, is so important to heart health, weight management and overall health and well-being.

Diet and Lifestyle to Control Weight and Promote Heart Health

  • Enjoy a healthy, well-balanced diet. It’s no secret that a healthy, well-balanced diet is important to good health. But it bears repeating that eating the right foods—and not eating too much —is key to weight management, which in turn helps promote heart health.
    •  Low-fat proteins from a combination of plant and animal sources will help keep saturated fat intake down, while satisfying hunger at the same time. They’re also going to be the lowest calorie choices, too. Plant-proteins are naturally cholesterol-free, and seafood provides heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA.
    •  Colorful fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, should be your go-to carbohydrates. They’re nutrient-rich, yet relatively low in calories, which makes them the best choices for meeting your carbohydrate needs. Their fiber and water content help to fill you up, and adequate intake of certain fibers—such as the soluble fiber found in foods like apples, oats and beans—are associated with lower levels of cholesterol in the blood, as long as you stick to a low-fat diet. And when you focus on these “good” carb sources, you’ll wind up eating fewer foods that have a lot of sugar and refined carbs, which can rack up calories quickly.
    •  Small amounts of healthy fats, such as a sprinkle of nuts, a drizzle of olive oil or a few slices of avocado, can boost flavor and nutrition in calorie-controlled meals. Using fats thoughtfully and sparingly will help you with calorie-control, since fats are more calorie-dense than either proteins or carbohydrates.
  • Exercise regularly. Cardiovascular exercise—exercise that boosts your breathing and heart rate—promotes heart health in a number of ways. Like any other muscle, your heart responds positively to exercise, becoming more efficient at pumping blood and delivering oxygen to your tissues. You also burn calories while you exercise, which can help in your weight-loss efforts, as well as to maintain a healthy body weight. Regular exercise also helps keep blood pressure under control and is a great stress-reliever. Keeping both blood pressure and stress levels in check is important to the health of your heart.

For more tips on healthy eating and nutrition, visit I Am Herbalife Nutrition.

Create a personalized Circuit Training Workout in 5 easy steps

woman stretching for running in the city wearable watch for measure calories

by Samantha Clayton

Follow this balanced circuit training routine for a great full body workout that gets you the results you want, while limiting the possibility of overuse injuries.

Whatever your focus––be it improving your strength, cardiovascular fitness or endurance––you can benefit from doing weekly circuit training sessions.

Circuit training is a great way for people of all ability levels to exercise. Whether you’re new to exercising or a seasoned pro, you can use circuit training to help you improve your overall fitness level, and target and strengthen your trouble spots.

Circuit training involves performing lots of different exercises in one sequence. This makes it almost impossible to get bored during your session. Plus, because you get to set your own schedule, you can easily fit it into your day. Circuit training is also great because it allows you to squeeze in exercises that you don’t necessarily enjoy. Since you only have to do each move for a short amount of time, getting in some dreaded cardio or strength training work is a lot less daunting.

Here are a few simple tips to help you set up your circuit in a safe way that maximizes your time.

Choose Your Workout Duration

You can do a circuit that’s as long as 60 minutes, or as short as 5 minutes. Decide what amount of time will fit in with your personal schedule, while keeping in mind that the more intense training should be kept to a shorter duration.

Decide on Your Rest Time

You can do a continuous circuit, which is when you go from one exercise to the next without a rest until you have completed one full set. Or you can take a short rest after each exercise. The less rest you have in between exercises, the greater the challenge will be. However, having adequate rest between each full set of exercises is important, as it will allow you to work out at your very best. Base your rest times on your personal fitness level. As your fitness level improves, you will need less rest in between each exercise.

Choose Your Exercises

If you are doing a full-body circuit, try to include exercises that engage your largest muscle groups, such as legs, glutes, chest and back. Also, add in some stability-based moves that involve your core muscles, as well as some cardio. There are so many exercises to choose from, but a few of my favorites include squats, lunges, crunches, burpees, push-ups and jumping jacks.

Exercise Order

The best way to organize your workout is to avoid using the same muscle groups back to back. Alternating between lower body, upper body and core exercises can help you to avoid overworking a particular muscle. When you’re doing a targeted circuit workout and focusing primarily on one area of the body, it’s still important to think about how your joints work and how to avoid over-stressing your body. The shoulder joint, for instance, can become easily stressed out, so avoiding doing exercises like planks, push-ups and mountain climbers all in one set is important. Try to ensure that each exercise that you choose engages your muscles in a different way. When it comes to organizing your routine, common sense will steer you in the right direction.

Number of Exercises

The great thing about circuit training is that you can choose to include as many or as few exercises as you wish. I believe that it’s best to set up a circuit that allows you to repeat it three times. Adequate repetition is important when exercising if you wish to get results. For example, if you have 15 minutes for exercise, choose five exercises that will allow you to do each for 45 seconds, and perform three full sets with adequate time to catch your breath in between sets.

Planning out your own circuit can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. Though it takes a little bit of practice to design your own workouts, when you plan it out in advance and make sure it’s balanced, you’ll be well on your way to becoming your own perfect trainer.

Get Fit Starting From Scratch

strong man on starting position of running in the highway

by Samantha Clayton

Do you wish you were more fit, but the days and weeks just seem to pass by without you doing anything active? Here’s how you can turn it around.

Despite your best intentions, it’s not hard to get caught in a no-exercise rut. You have a busy life, and sometimes fitness slips down the priority list. Unfortunately, for some it can seem like you’re so far out of shape that you’ll never get fit again.

But don’t worry, you can get fit again. Regardless of your current fitness level, today’s fitness advice may help.

I’ve gone back to basics and focused on what really helped me. There was a time when I didn’t feel great about my body – I lacked stamina, strength and flexibility. My self-confidence dipped, and I wanted to hide. I couldn’t believe that I’d let myself fall so far, and regaining my former fitness felt like a mountain too steep to climb.

This isn’t the usual fitness article about how you need ‘x’ minutes of this exercise and ‘x’ minutes of that exercise. This is for those of you who sincerely want to get fit and don’t know where to start, because right now all exercise feels too daunting to even try. Don’t despair – I’m here to give you fitness hope.

My ‘ABC x 3’ Get Fit Program

Using my own experience of adjusting to life with four children and a husband who was always traveling for work, these are my ABCs to help you get back on track. Give these tips a go and you could find yourself back in possession of willpower, confidence and energy in no time.

Fitness AAA

Action

Fitness and exercise can feel like too big a challenge, so let’s just push to become more active and get fit. That can mean adding in a simple stretch or a walk around the block. Any movement is better than no movement.

If you’re not fit, then you don’t need any high-pressure labels. So, let’s simply take ‘action’ by being ‘active’ in some way, every day.

Analyze

Look at your schedule and see where there is time for action. You don’t think you have two hours to get to the gym, change, work out, change and get home again? Fine. Let’s start small. Can you find a minute before breakfast or two minutes after work?

Just as you wouldn’t start climbing a mountain at breakneck speed, you can slowly ease yourself into action. Find a few minutes and use them to stretch. Reach to the ceiling or gently roll your neck and enjoy the feeling. Over time, try to build from two minutes of action to five.

Accountability

You know you need to exercise. I know you need to exercise. Add it to your daily to-do list and do something active every day.

If you stretch before breakfast for a minute, then write it down. If you walk to the end of your street, then write it down. You’re more likely to exercise if you hold yourself accountable, and after five days you’ll have at least five minutes of exercise to show for it.

You might not be at the top of the mountain yet, but you can see you’ve made a start!

Fitness BBB

Breathe

For me, my falling fitness level was tied to an increasingly busy lifestyle and stress. That taught me that it’s good to make time to breathe.

Right now, as you’re reading this, take a deep breath in and feel your chest swell. Now breathe out slowly. Try to push all the air out of your lungs.

Mindful breathing can help us focus, so find something you do every day and use it as a reminder to enjoy some relaxation and deep breathing. You might decide to breathe deeply while waiting for the coffee to brew or as you water your plants. I do it after the kids clamber out of the car for school and I have a moment before driving away and tackling the next part of my day.

You won’t get far up that mountain if you don’t take time to breathe and assess your progress.

Break

Take a break. We’re all busy, and it feels like we just don’t have any time, but are you sure you can’t squeeze in a five-minute break from what you’re doing? Hard as it might be to believe, your productivity may go up if you step away for a moment. A break to walk from one side of the room to the other or to step outside can help you refocus while adding crucial action moments to your day.

If you do take a moment to walk around your place of work, then don’t forget to write it down. Every step takes you a little higher up that fitness mountain.

Balance

You’re more likely to stick with your daily actions if you can find a way to balance your new activities with your daily needs. You still need to do your chores, keep up your social circle and all the other things that make up your day-to-day life. No one wants to be boring, so find the right life balance. That means you need to add more action than you were doing, but don’t go over the top and become so active that it’s unsustainable.

To get all the way up that fitness mountain, you need to pace yourself.

Fitness CCC

Change

Change won’t happen unless you make it. We can all wish and hope and dream, but we won’t get fit unless we take a first action step.

You have to be honest with yourself every day. If a day goes by and you haven’t had an action moment, then understand that you aren’t climbing the mountain. You’re standing still or even rolling back down.

Community

Use your community to help you rebuild and get fit. Your family, friends and coworkers can help you clock up action moments and may want to join you as you steadily climb the mountain. You probably aren’t the only person you know who wants to get fit. Tell everybody what you’re trying to do, and your friends will motivate you. They’re likely to be proud of you for actively taking back control.

Climbing that mountain is easier if you aren’t struggling up alone.

Commit

None of my ABCs will help if you don’t commit to taking action. As you read this, I hope you feel motivated. Use that feeling right now: move your body in some way, stretch your arms out or take a deep breath and point your toes. If you’re feeling really motivated, then do a little wiggle and feel yourself smile!

Now that you’ve started, commit to taking a few more steps up the mountain each day. Pretty soon you’ll look back and see how far you’ve climbed.

Four Fitness Tips for Healthy Aging

by Samantha Clayton

As you age, daily activity and dedication to balanced nutrition can have a positive effect on your body. Here are a few balanced exercise routines that can help you to get and stay fit for the long term, if you keep at it.

There are many benefits that are associated with living a healthy, active lifestyle. Reduced stress, improved body confidence and improved cardiovascular health are just a few. Regular physical activity is important regardless of your current age and fitness level. It’s never too late to get started with a new exercise routine.

Dedication to living a healthy, active lifestyle as you age can help to counteract aging effects, such as muscle loss, decreased bone density and decreased joint mobility. Yet, many people believe that as we age our need for activity diminishes. The truth is that the older we become the more focus we must put on staying active, so that we can maintain a good quality of life, perform daily tasks and maintain good overall health.

It can be difficult to understand what exercises are appropriate for your current age and level of fitness. Quite often, it’s not until after you get injured that you realize you were performing exercises that were too advanced. I believe that following a balanced and varied exercise routine that slowly progresses as your fitness level and strength improves is the best approach for people of all ages.

Understanding a few basic fitness terms can make a big difference in the way you approach your routine. Here are four modes of fitness that you should consider doing as part of your routine:

Low impact exercise involves movements that place minimal direct force on the body. It’s typically the best type of exercise for people who are just getting started with a fitness plan, or those who have taken time away from exercise. It’s also often recommended for people who have physical limitations due to injury. Examples of low impact exercises include walking, cycling, swimming and using a rowing or elliptical machine.

High impact exercise is any activity that places a direct force on the muscles and joints of the body. It generally involves having two feet off the floor at one time. Jumping, hopping and running are all examples of high impact exercise. Performing this type of exercise is essential for building strong muscles and bones. However, you should be cautious of doing too much too soon, especially if you are new to exercise or have a significant amount of weight to lose. High impact activity places stress on joints, and you should slowly build up to including this type of exercise in your routine.

Low intensity exercise refers to working out at a lower level of exertion. Intensity level and exercise are closely related. When you are exercising at low intensity, you will feel as though you could carry on a conversation and stay within 60-70% of your max heart rate.

High intensity exercise refers to pushing your body to work hard. Exercising at a high intensity has become increasingly popular in the fitness world. This type of training used to be reserved for athletes; however, there are many benefits associated with it, so lots of people incorporate high intensity training into their weekly routine. High intensity training sessions tend to be shorter in duration, making it a practical option for people who want to get results but have limited time available. It’s important for people to check with their health care provider to ensure that they are healthy enough to participate in high intensity exercise.

Mixing up your exercise and combining several types of training into your routine may help you to avoid overuse injury and get the healthy aging benefits you desire.