http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/01/25/small-changes-get-big-results


DanvilleSanRamon.com

- January 25, 2008

Small changes get big results

Becoming healthier is easier than you think

Health experts say that making small changes to your lifestyle is the most effective way to achieve long-term good health. Rather than taking on big goals that are difficult to reach and often result in frustration, integrating slight but key adjustments into a daily routine can create lasting improvements in fitness and well-being.

Something many people fail to realize is that seeing benefits of change does not mean drastically changing your lifestyle.

"If people can learn to remove just 250 calories from their diet each day they would easily be able to lose a half a pound per week," said Pam Wilson, MS, RD, a registered dietician at San Ramon Regional Medical Center. "It is much easier to lose weight if you take it slow."

Wilson also commented on being aware of your portion sizes, "See if you can cut your portion size in half, if not allow yourself a little bit more. This is the new philosophy of dieting--making small changes."

Here are some ideas on how to help improve your health with small changes that will have an impact:

* Take a few 10-minute breaks throughout the day. If possible, take a short walk outside or to the other side of your office building. It will clear your head and help to improve your metabolism, get the blood flowing and rejuvenate you during the workday.

* Stay hydrated. Today, people of all ages are looking for hydration options to support their active lifestyles, but they're not willing to sacrifice taste or incur added calories. Make your water multitask for you by choosing a water beverage that hydrates while also providing essential nutrients.

* Take time to laugh. Studies show that deep laughter can greatly benefit our health by lowering levels of stress hormones, relaxing muscles and reducing anxiety. Take a break during the day to check out an entertaining Web site or unwind before bedtime with your favorite late night show.

* Cut restaurant meals in half. The portion size at restaurants has increased during the last decade and eating out can be a big factor in weight gain. Split your entrée with your dining partner or divide your serving in half and take it home for lunch the next day.

* Eat foods that are colorful. Healthy foods are usually those that have vibrant colors such as red and yellow peppers, blueberries, cantaloupe or spinach. By incorporating a variety of colors into your diet at home and while eating out, you are more likely to get your recommended daily nutrients.

* Incorporate moderate exercise into your routine. Studies have shown that moderate exercise such as walking for 30 minutes a day, five or more days a week, can improve your cardiovascular fitness. You will see even greater benefits if you increase the mileage, walk up an incline, or jog.

--Courtesy of ARAcontent Tyler Bierbower contributed to this report.

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