Tuesday, January 1, 2013

How to achieve your health resolutions in 2013

How to achieve your health resolutions in 2013

How to achieve your health resolutions in 2013
How to achieve your health resolutions in 2013 (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)
Health resolutions come and go, but this time we're telling you to stop and give them a good chance. 

Let's be positive in 2013; whether it's weight loss, weight gain, eating healthy, exercising everyday or simply sleeping more, we are here to help you keep your health resolutions. Without sugar-coating the facts, we give you tips, ways and methods to have a healthy 2013. And yes, we include tips to achieve your health resolutions through pocket-friendly, effective ways. Here's how to achieve your health resolutions in 2013! 

Health resolution #1: Quit smoking 

Every year, millions of people across the world try to quit smoking but fail. One of the main reasons why smokers fail to quit is their inability to formulate and adhere to a fixed quitting program. After a few attempts, they lose faith in the fact that they can ever stop their smoking habit successfully. But, always remember that you are in control of your body and armed with a solid plan you can reach your ultimate goal. 

- Recognise that smoking is a habit 

- Draw a plan to quit smoking 

- Set a realistic date 

- Surround yourself with supportive friends 

- Create a non smoking environment at work 

- Avoid taking smoke breaks 

- Find the root cause of the problem for smoking 

- Control withdrawal symptoms with NRT 

- Create a new habit 

- Take up exercises to quit smoking 

Health resolution #2: Weight loss 


Fitness coach, Arnav Sarkar says, "When it comes to training, you don't need to do 20 exercises in each workout, and neither do you need to spend 45 minutes on the treadmill." 

Arnav goes on to explain this fast weight loss belief, "The best fat burning exercises require much lesser time, and give you a lot more results. In general the exercises that use the biggest muscles groups and work a lot of the muscles at the same time will be the most beneficial. For eg., a squat uses the muscles of your lower body, core and also the upper body to some degree. Due to that it will burn a lot more calories than what just training your abs with a crunch will." 

He says "Besides the regular strength training exercises like lunges, push ups, rows, etc, some athletic activities like sprinting, burpees, kickboxing, jumps, etc too will help to burn a lot of fat. The only thing is that if you are very overweight and have severe joint issues then these dynamic exercises could be dangerous for you. In that case stick to the exercises with low joint impact like push ups, squats, overhead presses, rows, etc along with a good diet to see results." 


Tweak your diet to better suit your weight (gain or loss) goals. 

Eat every 2 hours (if you eat light) and every 4 hours (if you eat heavy). 

Eat at least three servings of fruit in a day. 

Include at least one portion of vegetables with each meal. 

Protein will help you boost your metabolism. 

No weight loss diet plan is complete with routine injections of fats and energy, or as we better know them - fluids and nuts. Eat a small handful of nuts and seeds every day when you haven't eaten in a couple of hours. 

Health resolution #3: Weight gain 

Being thin brings with it health problems like anemia, a weak immune system, and later in life - even fertility issues while trying to conceive, not to mention fragile bones. Again, a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) is a good measure of whether you weigh too little or too much. 

Healthy diet: You may take dietary supplement, but you need a balanced diet more. You need the right amount of protein, carbs and fats. Help yourself to nuts and dairy products. Protein is the key for muscle building; this will help you gain weight. 

Increase liquid intake: If you want to gain weight, you need to build an appetite; and while this might be a tad non-traditional, you can rely on wine as a hunger stimulant. A small glass of wine before your evening meal will help you appreciate your food a whole lot more. Also, avoid drinking water before meals and in between meals, you don't want to ruin your appetite. 

Eat less: If you eat in between meals, cut it out. They say you should eat three large meals or five to six small meals in a day. Eating less is more. Choose food with nutritional calories and increase intake of starchy foods like potatoes. 

Exercise: If you're indulging where food's concerned, beware of the inevitable skinny person's paunch. No matter what your skinny status, as you grow older, you will develop an unsightly paunch. To avoid this, you must endeavour to maintain a toned body. For this, exercise is essential. Participate in a balanced mix of cardio, weight training, and flexibility exercises every day. 

Quit smoking: The more you smoke, the higher the chances that you will not feel hungry. Why? Because cigarettes have a component that suppresses your appetite. 

Health resolution #4: Weight management and weight control 

- Say yes to the veggies 

- Eat slowly 

- Drink water 

- Serve your plate in the kitchen 

- Focus on your target 

- Walk a mile 

- Home-cooked is good 

- Eat in a smaller plate 

Snack on protein: Consumption of protein is great for weight loss. You feel full and satisfied when you eat a sufficient amount of protein as it keeps you full for longer. 

- Healthy breakfast 

Health resolution #5: Build muscle 

Ask any fitness trainer why most workout novices burnout quickly, and he or she will answer that the biggest mistake those newly bitten by the fitness bug make is to try to imitate top bodybuilders. Most novices forget that bodybuilders perform extreme workouts and follow tailor-made diets. 

At the same time, the only way to build muscle mass in a short period of time is a combination of the right workouts, a balanced diet, and some patience. 

- Strength training is important 

- Following a trainer-advised sets and reps workout structure is necessary 

- Importance of eating protein in building muscle mass. 

- Cutting back on excess junk calories as much as possible. 

- Importance of limiting the cardio routine. 

- Stretching helps. 

- Pushing the limits and not overworking on one muscle group. 

Muscles that are too tight and inflexible are highly likely to get injured while working out, and more so when you are lifting heavy weights. Thus, it is necessary to maintain adequate levels of flexibility, if not great levels if you want to be able to train heavy and get the best results. 

Varying your training volume and creating more tension is important too. One the biggest mistakes many trainees make is that they let themselves burn out due to overtraining. 

Health resolution #6: Get more curves 

What can you do for the perfect shoulders? 

In order for anything to do with our physical form to take its perfect shape, the main things we need to do is build strength and feed the muscles as well as add flexibility and suppleness to muscles so that they take the shape that they were intended to have. 

- Overhead press 

Bent over rows 

- Pull ups or lateral pull downs 

- Headstands, handstands, elbow stands, shoulder stands 

How to get the perfect butt? 

Single leg squat - First learn to balance yourself, then stretch out your arms parallel to the floor. Lift one of your legs and squat, stay down for a second and rise. 

Step ups - Place your left leg on a step or a risen area for a second, and let your right leg be behind you. Then step down with your right leg followed by left. 

Hip extensions - Place a table a little ahead of you, stand with you legs apart. With the support of the table bend forward at a 45 degree angle; then lift your legs behind you without bending it or your body. Hold it for a second, and bring your leg back down. 





Health resolution #7: Get a flat stomach 

-Strength train atleast 3 days a week. This will help boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories even at rest. 

-Ditch the "500 crunches" workouts and do more intense core work with exercises like windmills, Turkish situps, hanging leg raises, etc. 

-Perform 2-3 HIIT or high intensity interval training workouts a week. These need not and should be long in duration, 10-20 minutes is enough if done correctly. 

-Get more active. Even if you spend 1 hour a day in the gym on all days of the week, it is still just 7 hours of a total of 168 hours in the week. Try to make the best of the remaining hours by getting more active. Plan playtime with friends/kids, and move a lot more during the day. 

-Get 6-8 hours of sleep each night. Less than that and your hormones will always be in a fat storing state, and you will find your dreams of a flat stomach hard to realize. 

-Meditate, and use other stress reduction strategies that will keep your cortisol levels under control and keep you from gaining abdominal fat and not make you age faster. 

-Eat more protein, fiber, and healthy fats. This means more lean meats, veggies, and nuts. 

-Eat less junk, refined and sugary foods. These are the worst enemies of a flat stomach, and they are often the cause of many other chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, etc. 

-Drink more water, atleast 2 liters a day is a bare minimum. Less than that and your body will not be able to burn fat most efficiently. 

Health resolution #8: Get heart healthy 

Exercise: Physical activity not only enhances body fitness but also ensures mental wellness. If performed on a regular basis, exercise keeps many health diseases at bay. Regular exercising helps in lowering risk of heart diseases and strokes, managing blood pressure and helps in controllinghigh cholesterol, reducing risk of obesity, helps in preventing or controlling diabetes, controlling weight and boosts brain cognitive functions. It also helps in preventing Osteoporosis and strengthens bones and joints by building strength and body stamina and alleviating mood and reduces stress and depression. 

How much exercise is enough? Muscle strengthening activities like 30 minutes of aerobics three or more times a week and stretching exercises at least twice a week are advisable for a healthy heart. However, if your tight schedule doesn't allow time for sweating it out, then 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity like yoga or swimming a day, at least five times a week will also keeps you fit. Ideally one should be able to maintain two thirds of age predicted heart rate (which is 220 minus age in years) for 20 minutes for three times a week. 

Health resolution #9: Lower cholesterol 

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that provides energy to the body's cells. Produced from the carbs and fats that we eat, cholesterol is extremely essential for the body to work in a proper manner; however, too much cholesterol in the body leads to its build-up in the walls of our arteries and this increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Thus, it becomes essential to lower cholesterol in your daily diet, especially if tests have proved that your levels are too high. 

- Quit smoking 

- Exercise most days of the week 

- Reduce saturated fats and banish trans fats from your diet completely. 

- Consume alcohol in moderation. 

- Lose weight if you are obese/overweight 

- Eat more spinach. 

Health resolution #10: Fight obesity 

As per medical standards, if a person's Body Mass Index (BMI) is higher than 30, he or she is obese. 

Lose weight, if you are obese and particularly around your waist. Exercise daily. Any kind of additional activity will work as well; try your hand at a mix of activities like walking, weight training, aerobics, cycling, playing sports, as this will help increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides. 

Obesity can cause what's known as insulin resistance, a condition in which the body can't use the hormone insulin properly. Released by the pancreas, insulin turns glucose into the blood and then into energy. Insulin resistance often leads to two of the most dreadful lifestyle conditions- one isdiabetes and the second one is high levels of cholesterol. 

Health resolution #11: Skin care 

Winter, summer or rain, not to forget pollution can hamper, dry your skin and damage it. But the story continues, you can change the course of the condition of your skin by following certain habits for healthy skin. Keep your skin perfect by regular washing, applying moisturizers, taking plenty of water or fluid. Have fruits, salads and avoid oily, spicy, fast foods. The skin should also be massaged with natural soothing creams. 

Health resolution #12: Hair care 

Hair health is a reflection of how healthy or unhealthy your life is. Genetic pre-disposition may cause harmful effects, but healthy living may prevent adverse conditions like alopecia. Taking care of your hair is as important as any other part of the body. While you tend to cover other body parts your hair are subjected to a lot of pollution, dirt and chemicals. 

Best foods for healthy hair: 

- Eggs 

- Whole grains 

- Brown rice 

- Bacon 

Vitamin C 

- Salmon 

- Dal 

- Calcium rich diet 

Health resolution #13: Budgeting for fitness 

Diet: Eat Seasonal fruits and vegetables, eggs, beans, oats, lentils, lean meat, peanut butter. 

Exercise: Home gym accessories for warm ups, cardio and cool downs 

- Skipping rope 

- Exercise mat 

-Home gym accessories for strength training 

- Workout bench 

- Home gym machines 

- Dumbbells and barbells 

Health resolution #14: Exercise everyday 

Strength and conditioning coach, Arnav Sarkar says, "Considering that we live in times where we have handicapped and wheelchair athletes, it would be absurd to hear anyone claim that it is too late for them to start exercising... if you are beginning to exercise at an older age, it would be important to make sure that you start slow, and also ideally train under a good instructor, as you have more potential to get injured than someone in their 20s." 

Benefits of regular exercise on cardiovascular risk factors. Exercising rigorously for 30 minutesthrice a week benefits your heart in many ways. Exercise lowers high blood pressure because it regulates vascular tone, improves blood flow, and normalizes chemical and neurotransmitter release. Regular exercise is good for everybody, more so for those with high blood pressure as there are lot of collateral benefits. By reducing body weight, exercising has been found to reduce bad cholesterol and improve good cholesterol in the body. Other than this it improves sugar levels, blood circulation and development of collaterals. 

Why do diabetics need to exercise? 

There are several reasons why diabetics need to exercise, firstly to reduce blood sugar level, then to maintain a healthy body weight. Regular exercise reduces your chances of heart diseases. But most importantly, exercise is highly recommended for Type 2 diabetics as it helps with better weight management. 

Exercise can improve insulin efficiency, lower blood pressure, and control sugar levels, bad cholesterol - all while building muscle strength and tone. 

Health resolution #15: Eat healthy home food 

Tucking into a home-cooked meal can make you live longer, new research says. Researchers from Monash University, the National Defence Medical Centre and the National Health Research Institute, Taiwan, found that people who cooked at home at least five times a week were 47 per cent more likely to still be alive after 10 years. 

The study looked at the cooking habits of Taiwanese living independently aged over 65 years. When researchers followed up 10 years later, they found of the surviving participants that frequent cooking was a significant factor in their health and long life, the journal Public Health Nutrition reported. 

Of the participants, 31 per cent reportedly prepared meals at home at least five times per week, 17 per cent cooked no more than twice a week, nine percent cooked at home three to five times per week, while the remainder (43 per cent) reported that they never cooked at home, according to a university statement. Mark Wahlqvist, emeritus professor from Monash University's Asia Pacific Health and Nutrition Centre at the Monash Asia Institute, who led the study, said those who cooked more often had a better diet. 

"We found those that cooked more frequently had a better sense of nutritional knowledge than those who didn't. Cooking is an activity that requires both good mental and physical health," Wahlqvist said. 

"We found that those who cooked more frequently had a better diet and more favourable nutrient densities," he said. "It is therefore possible that cooking is related to longevity through food choice and quality," added Wahlqvist. 

Health resolution #16: Avoid indulgence 

Caffeine is found naturally in cocoa, coffee and small amounts in tea. It's used as an additive in cola beverages and energy drinks. Although in small quantities it does no harm, when taken in large amounts it can cause sleeplessness, irritability, nervousness, and increase in blood pressure, amongst other conditions. It's best to consult a physician if you face any health concerns, but any reduction in caffeine for a self-confessed caffeine addict would be beneficial. 

How to get rid of sugar in your diet 

Whether in desserts, snacks, or even full-fledged meals, sugar is an integral part of every Indian festival, function, dinner, even a simple tea party. But, what is bothersome is the unending disadvantages, which are tagged with the harmful effects of refined and processed sugar. Here are some effective tips to ditch the sugar content in your diet, even though you have a sweet tooth. 

Healthy ways to sweeten your food 

1. Honey is an excellent way to do away with the phlegm and allergies from the body. Not only this, honey is much sweeter than white sugar and acts as a healthy substitute to it. 

2. Raisins or Kishmish can be added to any sweet dish as the sweetening agent present in them gives ample amount of taste. 

3. Dates (also known as khajur) have around 60% sugar content and the more you dry them, the more water evaporates from them, increasing the sugar content in them. 

4. Figs (also known as anjeer) were used instead of sugar even when the concept of sugar was unknown to man. 

5. Fruits such as apples, strawberries, blueberries, mangos and pineapple can be served as desserts. All you need to do is lightly saute them in a bit of olive oil, add the said fruit and a bit of water. 

6. Jaggery (also known as gur) is prepared by the extract of sugarcane juice, gur is dark, unrefined sugar and is one of the most available ingredients in Indian households. 

Health resolution #17: Relax, de-stress, sleep and meditate 

Sleep is one of the great mysteries of life. Studies have shown that lack of sleep contributes to everything from a simple sluggish feeling felt throughout your day to an increased risk of heart attack. But if you have recently been struck by cupid and you can't sleep, buddy you are in a hopeless situation! For the rest of us, fortunately, there are some things you can to do to get your sleeping schedule back on track. 

How to handle stress: 


Guided imaginary 

Say no 

Avoid negative people 


Listen to music 

Stop cribbing 

Cry it out 

Stay off the news 

Take a break 


Take a massage 

Avoid office politics 

Balanced diet 

Health resolution #18: Get an exercise buddy 

If you find workouts boring or you feel lonely spending an hour at the gym, then get an exercise buddy. This will help you stay focused, keep you interested in working out, and it will be collaborated effort. Plus each one can help the other get off the bed and pump some iron and encourage each other to push your limits. 

Health resolution #19: Take an active holiday 

Plan an active holiday atleast once a year, something on the lines of trekking, camping, adventurous holiday. There are several adventure group in the major cities, and nature is always an hour's drive away. But before you step out, take the right measures and a well planned first aid kit. 

Health resolution #20: Have a healthy family 

Feeling the security and warmth of love from a spouse, a parent, or a child is a rich blessing. This love from our family helps us cast out fear within us and such love is a desire for every human soul. If you enjoy this cocoon and wish to create a healthy and happy environment for your family, then creating and following healthy family habits can be the easiest way to do so. 

- Never skip meals 

- Exercise regularly 

- Floss everyday 

- Play together 

- Eat right 

- Start each day with a healthy breakfast 

- Always wash hands before every meal 

- Sleep is essential 

- Regular medical examination 

Read more Personal Health, Diet & Fitness stories on www.healthmeup.com

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