Dylan Foster - Guest post
With more and more Americans fighting a battle against obesity, many are finding that it’s necessary to change their lifestyle rather than just their habits. Eating a healthier, more well-balanced diet is a wonderful way to start, but without exercise to balance it out, you may find that you don’t feel any better. In fact, there are several activities you can do that will work together to create a healthier lifestyle. Alone, they may only be slightly effective, but together, they will help you find the strength you need to get and stay healthy.
It’s also important to find the right type of activity for you. For instance, you might hate running, but find that bicycling is much more enjoyable. Finding a way to incorporate activity into your daily routine that is also fun will help you stick with it even when you’re not feeling motivated.
It’s not always easy to find the right path for a better lifestyle, but with these tips, you can get a good start.
See your doctor
If you believe you’re overweight or obese, talk to your doctor. It’s important to figure out your ideal weight for your height and to make sure you aren’t suffering from any health issues — such as diabetes -- before you make any big changes to your diet or activity level. Once you’ve been cleared from your doctor and have a good idea of where to go next, you can start mapping out a wellness plan that’s tailored to your needs.
Look at your healthcare
Many health insurance plans have wellness benefits built in that you might not be aware of, but that can help you on your health journey. For example, many Medicare Advantage plans offer membership to the senior-focused SilverSneakers wellness program, giving you access to exercise facilities, classes, and groups all over the country. For the under-65 crowd, insurance providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield will reimburse you for gym memberships under $150. You’re paying into your health insurance, so look over your plan, and take advantage of any wellness program perks it offers.
Find the right kind of exercise
Exercise is not only great for losing weight, it can actually help boost your mood and battle disorders such as depression and anxiety. If you’ve been having issues with your mental health recently, it might help to start going for walks every night after dinner, or join a health club that has a pool so you can swim whenever you want.
Mixing activity with something you enjoy doing is greatly beneficial, as is inviting a loved one to join you. Start up a game of kickball with the kids in the backyard, or go to the park and walk the trails with your dog. Whatever activity you choose, it should get your heart rate up for at least thirty minutes over the course of the day.
Take a trip
Although many people tend to hesitate when it comes to taking the time to head off on a vacation, it could be exactly what the doctor ordered. This is especially true if the vacation you take allows you to spend a lot of time outdoors. For example, heading out to Los Angeles provides a number of opportunities for exercise and exploration. Not only can you spend quite a bit of time strolling around Venice Beach, you can also enjoy hiking the many trails the area has to offer. And if you select a vacation property that’s located on or near the beach, you won’t have to go very far to find an area where you can get a little exercise. Regardless of where you choose to go, make sure it’s someplace that provides ample opportunities for exercise.
Get enough sleep
Your level of rest can really affect the way you feel, and when you feel tired and unmotivated, it’s much easier to pick up fast food for dinner than cook a healthy meal. Getting enough rest — at least seven to eight hours every night — will help you feel more energized and ready to tackle anything that comes your way. It will also help your metabolism stay on track.
Get your family on the same page
It’s tough to stick to a healthy diet when others in your family are bringing home snacks and sweets, so talk to everyone about the changes you want to make, and help them understand the role they need to take. It will also help to plan out meals before going grocery shopping. Make small changes by looking for healthier ways to cook your favorite foods and switching refined sugars for whole grains.
Fighting obesity is never an easy task, but with a little planning and some support from your friends and loved ones, you can get there. Remember to talk to your doctor before beginning any new regimen, and make sure you’re healthy enough to take on any new exercise routine.
By Dylan Foster