Monday, December 26, 2011

Small Steps for a Great New Year

As we approach the new year, most of us think about resolutions. Although resolutions include a variety of important broad topics such as career and family, starting with these 3 small steps will create a solid base for your major accomplishments: exercising, stress management and healthy eating 

Exercise Consistently
If you've been an inconsistent exerciser in the past, make this your year to find a workout plan you can maintain. "It'll make a big impact on your cholesterol and blood pressure," says Keith Roach, M.D., RealAge's chief medical officer, who's an avid triathlete. "It can be a good stress reliever, too." Exercise also helps smokers kick the habit.
Then there are the anti-aging benefits: Exercising regularly can make you feel 9 years younger. Aim for 30 minutes of activity a day. A mix of aerobic, strength, and flexibility training is ideal.
Conquer Stress
Managing stress is challenging, Roach says, but worth the effort. "It has such a powerful effect on your health." Chronic stress takes a huge toll on your body. It's linked to obesity, high cholesterol, depression, digestive woes, and insomnia. Stress also wears down your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to colds and flu.
Relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing can help. So can exercise. Whatever method you choose, effective stress management has terrific anti-aging benefits. Taking good care of your emotional health and well-being can make your body think it's 16 years younger.
Eat Better
Even small dietary adjustments will boost your health. "Try to do just a couple of things at a time," Roach suggests.
Aim for 5 servings of veggies and 6 servings of whole grains each day to feel 4 years younger this year. Swapping saturated fats, like butter, for heart-healthy unsaturated fats like olive oil can turn back the clock up to 6 years. Add at least one serving of fish a week to feel another 2.7 years younger.

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