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How to Instantly Fall in Love With Moving and Start Shaking off the Extra Pounds

How to Instantly Fall in Love With Moving and Start Shaking off the Extra Pounds

Americans move a lot less than citizens of other countries. Average daily step counts vary quite a bit around the world: the U.S. ranks 30th, with an average daily step count of 4,774, while Hong Kong comes first, at 6,880 steps per day.[1] Outside of counting steps, there are other measures by which we fall behind in terms of physical fitness and exercise. Even though our step count (4,774) is similar to Mexico’s (4,692), the US’s obesity rate is higher: 3 8% (US) compared to 32.4% (Mexico).[2]

These figures are sobering. Many of us struggle with our weight and activity levels, largely because we are an especially work-obsessed nation. And yet it’s important to our physical and mental health, to our relationships with others, and our overall sense of well-being to be active.

We all know this, but how do we actually put our intentions into actions? It might be easier than you think.

Measure, measure, measure.

All you have to do, really, is measure your activity. Be totally honest with yourself, without judgment.

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Measure how much you move. How often are you active? How many times do you work out every week? For how long? What type of workout? How strenuous is the activity?

Count how many steps you take. Some of us drive to work, while other of us might walk well over a mile each way to get there. These steps count for a lot. If you don’t get a chance to move a lot at your job, or during your commute, find reasons to move – during a lunch break, while making a phone call, or just when you need a moment to think.

Finally, measure how much you stand, sit, and move around. Becoming aware of your sedentary activities and your active moving will give you a better picture of how active you are overall.

When you have a better picture of your overall activity levels, improvement will come, slowly but surely. You will find yourself unconsciously trying to up your step counts or number of workouts. This, in turn, will boost your health. Moving helps us stay active, decrease obesity, boost heart health, increases our energy levels.[3]

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Motivation and Goals

Measurement helps gives you the motivation you need! But as you become aware of that tendency toward wanting to improve yourself and increase your physical activity, you might find these four tips helpful.

1. It doesn’t matter how you measure it: just do it.

Some people use fitness tracking watches (see the many models of Fitbit, Garmin, etc.) to get tons of data automatically on their phone apps; others prefer the low-tech (and low-cost) solution of just logging it in a physical book. It honestly doesn’t matter which way you choose to go.

It’s sort of like playing games, you either want to make some numbers higher or lower; think, for example, about board games like Agricola or the many mobile games that require you to use “coins” to purchase certain tools or power-ups. You choose which things to prioritize (increasing your number of steps or spending less time sitting), and then work toward better fitness in that domain.

2. Talk about it with your friends or accountability partners.

It’s nice to know how you are doing, whether you’re doing great or need a little extra push. But either way, it’s more fun to work toward goals when you can compare with peers and add a little competition (or warm encouragement) to make it fun!

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This is the philosophy behind programs like Strava that connect workout logs with social media. You can pursue different targets – or the same ones, if you have similar goals – and make a point to talk about your progress with friends for accountability.

3. Create and stick to clear goals.

10,000 steps (equates to roughly five miles) per day is a good target for overall activity. If you are an able-bodied person who can walk without trouble, try to make this your goal. When you have this target, you’ll try to meet it. It’s helpful encouragement to keep you moving more!

Or if you have a gym membership, go to a yoga studio, or swim at your school’s gym, set a tangible and clear goal. Log it when you complete it, and make a note of it when you don’t. The goal is transparency and honesty with yourself; with this kind of visible marker of your progress or lack thereof, you have a much higher chance of success!

4. Be kind to yourself and revise when necessary.

Even though it’s key to set tangible goals, it’s equally important to be aware of your limitations. If you have very little experience with exercise, or if you’re injured or feeling unusual pangs or aches, take it easy. It is quite possible to overexert and injure yourself. As you work toward goals, do it mindfully. Check in with yourself often.

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There are also small ways to get more active, and these are good ways to implement more physical activity without any risk at all. Instead of going thru drive-in for food, walk there. Instead of taking the elevator all the time, take the stairs. Instead of sitting all day long in office, stand a while or walk around some time.

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that this is not enough, but it’s important. Make sure to augment your little fixes with both aerobic workouts and strength-training activities. And every time you do, log it, measure it, and adjust your goals!

Featured photo credit: Photo by dan carlson on Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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Jolie Choi

Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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