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9 Easy Ways to Become Fitter This Year

9 Easy Ways to Become Fitter This Year

With the New Year upon us, it seems resolutions are on everyone’s minds with hashtags, tweets, and facebook statuses proclaiming new fitness and healthy-living goals for 2014.

Unfortunately, however, many people make the mistake of attempting to make too many drastic changes with their New Year’s goals. The key to changing habits is making small changes and focusing on one thing at a time.

Here are 9 easy ways you can move toward your 2014 fitness goals.

1. Make your goal so small (at first) that you can’t mess up.

The mistake many people make after the new year is dreaming too big. Now don’t get me wrong – vision is super important – but if you shoot too high you will only get discouraged. The key is to start small, build consistency and confidence, and then increase your goal.

Want to form a running habit? Try running just 10 minutes a day. Yoga? Do 10-minute yoga routines. Once you master those, move on to something more challenging.

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2. Focus on exercise that you ENJOY.

Too many people make exercise a chore, something that they have to do to say they did it or to lose extra weight.

Wrong wrong wrong.

You should exercise because you love it. Intrinsic motivation should drive you. Begin by doing the exercise that you love. Once you begin letting joy guide you, you will be exercising more often in no time.

3. Hold yourself accountable.

Many people make the mistake of keeping their goals to themselves, but all  keeping your goal a secret does is decrease the likelihood that you will meet it.

Instead, try joining a support group. Tell your friends or family. Once you tell someone, either virtually or in real life, you will be more motivated to get it done, whatever it is.

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4. Choose consistency over length of workouts.

It’s a mistake to workout for 5 hours once a week, when you could exercise 30 minutes a day. Consistency helps build a habit, and helps your body grow accustomed to exercise regularly.

Choose small, consistent workouts over long, irregular ones.

5. Reward yourself with [healthy] positive reinforcements.

Psychology teaches us that positive reinforcements are more motivating than negative ones. If you want to build a habit, encourage the habit you want to build.

Love smoothies? Reward yourself with a low-sugar fruit smoothie, not a 700-calorie sugar bomb. Love chocolate? Reward yourself with some healthy dark chocolate, not an entire package of Oreos. Love socializing? Reward yourself with just one or two low-calorie cocktails with coworkers after work.

6. Focus on ONE fitness goal at a time.

One of the cons to big dreaming is the desire to take on too much. The trouble with this is that the more goals you add, the easier it becomes to get distracted from your goals.

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There is only so much energy that can be invested in goal-setting; the more goals there are, the more limited the energy. Instead, pick one goal to focus on, and add more when you accomplish that one.

7. Write it down.

Studies upon studies have supported the power writing down goals has. They key is to write down what you want to accomplish.

Want to form a running habit? Write: I will run for 20 minutes every day. Yoga? I will attend yoga class 3 times a week. Then, DO IT.

8. Be specific.

A mistake many people make is producing over-generalized goals. They might say “I want to be fitter” or “I want to get better at yoga.”

Instead, make your goal as specific as possible, breaking it down into small steps.  Include how many times per week, what exercise, how long, and any other relevant details.

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9. Cultivate a positive mindset.

Positivity is the key to any ambitious vision. Without positivity, you can’t achieve nearly as much. A positive attitude becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: when you believe you can accomplish something, you make the attempt, and put in the work necessary to get it done.

Try soaking up positive quotes, videos, and mantras to motivate yourself to accomplish your goals.

What do you do to stick to your fitness goals?

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Alli Page

Allie is a pessimist-turned-optimist healthy food junkie who blogs about happiness, healthy living and travel.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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