4 Easy Ways to Eat Healthier!

4 Simple Food Substitutes to Help You Eat Healthier … from Morning to Night

So you want to eat healthier, but you find it difficult and time-consuming with your busy lifestyle to prepare healthy foods…. and the thought of a “diet” is overwhelming?  Great news! There are several easy, great-tasting food substitutions that you can make to help live a healthier lifestyle. (Notice the word here is lifestyle, not “diet”). Changing even a few of your habits can save calories and provide better nutritional ingredients… while also saving you time!

Here are a just a few of my favorite food substitutions to cover you from morning to night:

 1.  Make Your Own Flavored Oatmeal

Do you often opt for pre-packaged flavored oatmeal as a quick breakfast for you or the kids?

Healthier Eating Infographic

Even though these are simple and convenient, they are usually loaded with added sugar and sodium. Instead, try making your own “overnight oats”. This offers a fantastic, healthier way to have breakfast all ready for those busy mornings.

How to: Purchase steel cut or whole oats. Then, I recommend putting together: ¼ cup of steel cut oats, ¼ cup of almond milk, ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce, ¼ cup of Greek yogurt or Siggi’s vanilla yogurt, and a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Shake altogether, then refrigerate overnight. All the ingredients soak and absorb together, and can be eaten as is from the refrigerator. Or, it can be warmed up in the microwave for 30 seconds/1 minute. It’s an amazing combo of flavor and satisfies other nutritional needs, too.

Click Here for other healthy overnight oats options as well.

2. Substitute Rice Cakes for Bread

Always pack a sandwich for lunch? There’s an easy way to lighten that carb load. Try rice cakes instead of bread! Unsalted cakes are your best option. Not only is a sandwich made with rice cakes less calories and carbs, but it won’t bog you down or limit your options.

Peanut butter sandwich? Put that PB on rice cakes. Craving an Italian sub? Put some (nitrate-free) lunch meat and avocado spread on rice cakes.

In the mood for pizza? Lay on some marinara and mozzarella. Click here to learn more about the rice cakes trend.

3. Switch to Natural Peanut Butter or PB2

Love peanut butter? That’s fantastic news because it’s delicious, versatile, and can be a considerable source of protein. However, most peanut butter sold in grocery stores is laden with trans fats and excess sugar.

Make the easy switch to peanut butter labeled as “natural” or to the product PB2, which is a powdered peanut butter that can also be found in most grocery stores right in the peanut butter section.

PB2 has less sugar and fat and is even more versatile than regular peanut butter (think cooking, smoothies, etc.). Measure out and mix with water, and you’ve cut the calories of peanut butter in half.

Click here to understand the health benefits of powdered peanut butter.

4. Eat Yogurt for Your Evening “Dessert”

Need a sweet fix at night? Our registered dietitian recommends eating dairy at night as a snack. So, choose yogurt instead of cookies or ice cream. Keep in mind that “fruit on the bottom” yogurt is laden with sugar, so better choices would be Dannon Light & Fit vanilla, or Click here for ideas and brands to look out for to nail down this substitute, guilt-free.

There are SO many other ways that you can make simple substitutions for every snack or meal throughout the day, for you AND your family. If you would like some additional advice on these handy switches or additional healthy recipe ideas, please contact me in UAC Member Services or the Nutrition & Wellness Center.

My email address is [email protected], and I’d be happy to help!

Youth Sports Performance & Injury Prevention

Youth sports are bigger than ever in Lancaster PA. We have club teams, year-round training, and sports specialization. Long drives and endless hours on the field have become the norm. Kids do it because they love it, and parents support it because they love their kids. But here’s the problem…

Youth Sports Injuries Are Also On The Rise

Sports Safety InfographicWith all of these tools at our disposal, child obesity is at an all-time high. Youth injuries, like ACL tears and even Tommy John surgeries, are also at an all-time high.

And among all of these, the most devastating issues might be the psychological ones, like a lack of self-confidence – because you can’t leave that on the field.  So what’s the solution?

Injury Prevention Starts With Teaching Correct Movements

First and foremost, we need to teach kids how to move correctly. We’re at a point where most kids are simply ill-prepared to participate in sports. Most of them haven’t learned how to move their bodies the right way, whether they’re running, kicking, throwing, jumping, or cutting. Movement is the most fundamental piece of not only athletic development, but of general health and well-being.

How We Enhance Youth Sports Performance At UAC

This is where we come in. Here at Universal, we teach kids how to succeed on the field by first establishing a solid foundation of proper movement. From there, we build functional strength that transfers to the field and develop sound running mechanics to improve speed and agility.

The result is a stronger, faster, quicker, more explosive, and more resilient athlete. It’s not uncommon for our new athletes to improve their speed by 25%, increase their vertical jump by 8 inches, and nearly double their strength.

It’s Not Just About Kids Playing Sports

But not every kid is in it for the athletics alone, and we get that. That’s why we offer a number of different options for every kid, all the way from ages 7 to 18+. Participating in a fun and challenging workouts leads to a happier, healthier, and more confident kid who’s more likely to value their health well beyond their athletic career.

And beyond physical measures, it’s through this process that kids build newfound confidence – they realize that, if they put in the work and strive to get 1% better every day, they can reach higher and achieve more than they thought they were capable of.

Helping All Kids Succeed

Everyone wants to help their kid succeed, both on and off the field. With our help, you can give your kid an amazing opportunity to develop and thrive in a number of ways. I consider it my duty to YOU to be a driving force to improve your child’s life.

Get Your Leafy Greens On!

Easy Ways to Eat More Greens!

If you are a veggie lover, read on. If vegetables are NOT your favorite, well then you should read on too!

Leafy greens for nutrition, health and weight loss

Whether you love or hate them, greens are a must when it comes to our health. Leafy greens have many benefits to boast, and there are countless numbers of ways they can be eaten. If you struggle to get your greens in, the ideas below might be a game changer for you.  Including more leafy greens in your diet, may even make your brain younger!

Leafy Greens 101

So what constitutes a leafy green anyway? Examples of these green bunches of goodness include:

  • Salad Greens – leaf lettuce, Romaine, spinach, mesclun, arugula, watercress, iceberg
  • Cooking Greens – Swiss chard, kale, collards, mustard greens, turnip greens

Benefits of Leafy Greens

Greens have many health benefits. The darker the green, the richer the nutrient value. Benefits include hearty amount of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as high doses of antioxidants – touting them as one of the best cancer-preventing foods. According to the USDA, vitamin K in dark leafy greens helps protect bones from osteoporosis and prevent inflammatory diseases in the body. Additionally, adding greens to your diet increases fiber intake, which helps to keep the GI tract healthy. Including more leafy greens in your diet, will benefit you in many ways, but did you know they may even help prevent dementia and cancer!  Salad anyone?

Ways to Eat Leafy Greens

Spring is finally here, and it’s probably safe to say that all of us will be thinking about sunshine and the great outdoors. For some that may mean outdoor farmers’ markets and at-home gardening. What better to plant or buy fresh at market than fresh, crisp greens? Keep reading to find simple ways to add greens to each meal of the day.

Breakfast Ideas

  • Fold greens into your eggs
  • Blend greens into your favorite smoothie

Lunch Ideas

  • Dice greens up and toss into your tacos or burrito
  • Stir greens into the broth of your favorite soup
  • Use greens as a wrap or ‘bread’

Dinner Ideas

  • Sauté greens into your pasta sauce
  • Toss greens into pasta as it finishes cooking

The benefits of leafy greens are numerous, and the ways to incorporate them into your day are endless. So get out there and get your greens on!


Recipes to boost greens!

Apple Kale Smoothie
Yields: 1 smoothie

Ingredients:
¾ cup kale, chopped with thick stems removed
1 small celery stalk, chopped
½ banana
1 small green apple, cored
¾ cup milk of choice
½ cup ice

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.


Napa Wraps
Yields: 6 servings

Sauce:
¼ cup brown sugar                                 12 Napa cabbage leaves                         3 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce                  1 cup red bell pepper, sliced                  3 Tbsp. basil, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced                           1 Tbsp. ginger, minced                           1 ½ Tbsp. lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced                             3 oz. dry cellophane noodles, prepared
1 ½ lb. cleaned and cooked shrimp
Directions:

  1. In a small dish, mix the 3 sauce ingredients and set aside.
  2. Lay Napa cabbage leaves in a large shallow dish. Add enough boiling water to cover leaves, and allow to soften/steam. Remove and pat dry with clean towel.
  3. In a small skillet, on medium-high heat, sauté peppers, ginger, garlic, cilantro, basil and lime juice. Cook until peppers are soft. Remove from heat.
  4. To assemble wraps, place cabbage leaves on flat surface, top with 1/6 of vegetable mixture, 1/6 of noodles, and 3-4 shrimp. Fold leaves into the center and dip into sauce. Enjoy!

 

For more recipes like these, visit the Nutrition and Wellness Center at UAC or our Facebook page.

heart healthy bowl of berries to eat for a healthier heart this february

Heart Healthy Eating Tips for American Heart Month

During this cold winter month, red hearts and love are in the air. But more importantly, it is also American Heart Month. This is why our Nutrition & Wellness team here at Universal wanted to take some time to talk about the importance of loving our hearts through heart healthy eating.

For the 2017 year, one out of three deaths were caused by heart disease in the United States; that is approximately 800,000 American lives. But fear not, because there are several things you can do to keep your risk low; especially by making healthy food choices.

According to the American Heart Association, there are a variety of nutrient-rich foods from multiple food groups that people can consume to help keep a healthier heart and safe cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Heart Healthy Foods to Try:

  • Leafy Greens: romaine lettuce, arugula, cabbage, Swiss chard, collard greens
  • Whole-Wheat Foods: whole-wheat bread or pasta, brown rice, oatmeal
  • Lean Protein: fish, poultry
  • Nuts: pecans, almonds, cashews, pistachios
  • Berries: strawberries, raspberries, blue berries, goji berries, acai berries
  • Beans: chickpeas, lentils, peas, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans
  • Other: extra virgin olive oil, tomatoes, quinoa

Are these options not necessarily your first choice to indulge upon? That’s okay! For seasonality sake, let’s take look at some heart healthy alternatives to some of your go-to Valentine’s Day favorites.

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries vs. Your Standard Truffles

Is chocolate your guilty pleasure? Chocolate covered strawberries are a great heart healthy treat to consider. Let’s compare these easy-to-make treats to Godiva dark chocolate truffles. One truffle is approximately 105 calories, while one dark chocolate covered strawberry is roughly 130 calories. The numbers line up nicely, but you’re getting more heart health benefit from the strawberry over the truffle ingredients.

TrufflesDark Chocolate Covered Strawberries
105 Calories130 Calories
6.5 g fat7 g fat
4 g sat fat4 g sat fat

What Does Your Heart Love More: Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate?

What is with all the hype around dark chocolate anyway? Is it the flavor or the fact that is simply just a healthier heart option for you? Statistically speaking, dark chocolate is made with more than 60% cocoa as compared to milk and white chocolates.

Health Benefits of Flavonoids

Cocoa contains flavonoids, which act like antioxidants; which helps with cell protection within your body. According to the National Institute of Health, health benefits of flavonoids include heart disease prevention through lowering of blood pressure and LDL, or unhealthy cholesterol.

One ounce of dark chocolate has 170 calories while milk chocolate has 150 calories in one ounce. Looks like milk chocolate is the better option, right? Maybe, but just remember that milk chocolate does not have the higher heart healthy flavonoids, and if you prefer milk chocolate you just may eat more than what the averaged serving size is.

Dark ChocolateMilk Chocolate
170 Calories150 Calories
12 g fat8 g fat
7 g sat fat4 g sat fat

To Dine Out or Stay in This Valentine’s Day?

Fondue. NY strip steak. Chocolate and champagne. What does your Valentine’s day look like?

Regardless of what’s in store, it is safe to say that you are in the driver’s seat when dining at home. The amount of butter and salt used to sauté and sear is entirely up to you. Be careful when dining out, as calorie-rich meals can pack in not only extra calories but also higher counts of sodium and fat. For example, Swiss cheese fondue for two at The Melting Pot is about 400 calories per person. But if you’re dining in this Valentine’s Day, try Swiss cheese squares with sliced pear or apple. 2 slices of cheese have about 200 calories.

Swiss Cheese Fondue (The Melting Pot)Two Slices of Swiss Cheese
400 Calories200 Calories
25 g fat16 g fat
17 g sat fat10 g sat fat

Our hearts need to be nurtured to stay healthy. There are many ways you can work to keep your heart healthy during this month. Check out what free nutrition seminars are happening, or tie up your sneakers and break a sweat in a group fitness class. Also remember to eat and drink all things heart healthy. What will you do to be good to your heart this month?

Beginners Workout Guide for New Year’s Resolutioners

How to Stay Motivated with Your Fitness & Health Goals

Are you still feeling like it’s a “New Year, New You!”? For many people, the new year included a resolution… commit to a diet, determine an exercise regimen and much more. The hope for many is that by Spring, they will feel and look their best. Does this ring a bell? Regardless of what has you motivated to take charge of your health in 2018, starting and sticking to your plan can be challenging. This is why we put together some tips to help you stay motivated and meet your goals this year!

  1. Set Realistic Goals for Yourself

    Don’t reach for the stars, yet. Begin with short term, realistic goals. With exercise, start at a slow, comfortable pace. As you become more conditioned and comfortable in your workouts, up the ante and adjust goals accordingly. If weight loss is a goal for you, start by looking to lose 1-2 pounds/week. By starting small and setting realistic goals, you are setting yourself up for success.

  2. Hold Yourself Accountable

    Meeting with a fitness or wellness coach is a great idea for those who need guidance and support. Better determine your fitness short term and long term goals with a professional. Professional wellness coaches are trained to outline the best fitness plan for each and every client.

  3. Try A Group Fitness Class with A Gym Buddy

    Need a little motivation to get on track and stick to your plan? Go to a group fitness class! Better yet, go to a class with a friend! Be accountable to a buddy. Tap into the support of others and experience the motivation found in group fitness classes.  Group classes are also a benefit because if you are ever confused with a workout technique, a fitness instructor leading the class can provide alternative methods of training to help those who are just beginning their fitness journeys.

  4. Hire A Fitness Trainer at Your Local Gym

    To get started and stay motivated, you may want to hire a personal trainer to help you reach your fitness goals. Trainers are certified to help clients exercise safely. Personal Trainers are professionally taught how to best outline workout regimens for people who are just stepping into a healthier lifestyle or for those who are in need to meeting their personal fitness goals.

  5. Fit Workouts into Your Busy Day

    When your schedule does not allow you to get to the gym, you can incorporate a few simple workouts into your day anywhere you are. Using your own body weight creates a total-body workout for any ability level. Examples include:

  • Push-ups (advanced: with single leg raise)
  • Plank (advanced: side plank with raised top leg)
  • Squats (advanced: squat jumps)
  • Alternating Lunges (advanced: add a plyo jump)
  • Bent knee crunch (advanced: supine reverse crunch)

If you are at all in need of keeping to your New Year’s Resolution this year, we are happy to help you here at Universal! At Universal Athletic Club, our members’ success is our #1 priority. With a little bit of guidance, and a lot of encouragement, you too can start and stay committed to meeting your health and fitness goals in 2018!

Benefits of “Real Food” Weight Loss Plans

At some point or another, many of us have struggled to lose weight. The biggest roadblock to weight loss is the desire to look slimmer, quickly. From fad diets to quick fixes in a pill, dieting in the United States is a $64 billion industry according to a study done by Marketdata Enterprises. So, today we are telling you to disregard those pricey dietary supplements and processed frozen meals. Losing weight by consuming “real food” provides the strongest long-term benefits to a healthier lifestyle.

What do we mean by “real” food? Real food is found in it’s most natural form with little to no added preservatives or sugars. Yes, this means cooking from scratch and not being dependent on processed foods or frozen meals. For example, eating an orange versus an orange-flavored ice pop that claims to be “with real fruit”.

Consuming food in its natural form is what our body needs to get the proper nutritional benefits. At Universal, our nutrition experts have compiled a list of benefits to real food for people looking to lose weight.

1. Making Real Food Consumption A Lifestyle

The road to weight loss should not include a diet consisting of over-the-counter supplements, a ’30 day liquid cleanse’ or even as far as restricting your food intake. The latest trendy diet may promise to deliver short-term weight loss, but is the weight going to stay off in the long run? What happens when you reach your goal, and you still don’t know how to keep the weight off? Sure, you can purchase prepackaged foods and shakes for as long as your wallet allows. However, a real food weight loss program is designed to promote lifelong eating habits and can be followed over the long term.

real-food-chart

2. Real Food Is Already Accessible to You

You can’t guarantee the latest fad diet or cleanse will always be available to you in a store or for cheap. Fad Diets often include fronting more money than regular grocery shopping and although they may provide short-term results, it is much harder to keep off that quick-loss weight once concluding a fad diet.

As an alternative, you can always venture a mile or two down the road and find somewhere to grab real food to eat; your local grocery store! Whether it’s a local produce stand, organic fruits and veggies, lean meats or seafood; getting into the habit of purchasing clean and non-processed foods is quite easy to do.

3. Real Food Is Family Friendly & Fun To Experiment With

Losing weight on a plan involving food from all the food groups is also family friendly, think back to the classic food pyramid. You can serve the same food you are eating to everyone in the household by modifying as needed to satisfy different taste buds. So ditch that frozen pizza or bag of fries! Slice up your own sweet potato fries or be fun with your meals. For example, have your family try a ‘build your own’ pizza bar; substitute portobello mushrooms for dough or even try mini zucchini pizzas.

4. Hold Real Foods Accountable to Your Social Calendar

Weight loss plans with real food also make it tricky to stay on plan when your social calendar is calling your name. Going to parties or out to eat can get tough. You may not always have the healthiest options available to you. So it’s important to stick to your plan and not fold. For example, grab a burger with no bun, choose the fruit or veggie platters over those bowls of chips and pretzels. Let’s face it, the latest diet trends are not going to be served up at the next work outing or summer barbecue, which is why real food consumption is actually an easy alternative.

So if you are thinking of taking the plunge to shed some extra pounds, start by hitting your local grocery store or market and shop healthy. Select real food for real eating.

For personalized questions or assistance from Heather or anyone on The Nutrition & Wellness Center’s team at Universal, email [email protected] or call 717-569-4754,

4 Easy Steps for Starting Exercise as an Older Adult

Daily Exercising = Healthy Aging

You have probably heard the old adage,“It’s never too late to start.” This phrase could be applied to many activities and habits. However, the most significant ending to this statement, would be “…a consistent exercise program.”  Research has shown, that the benefits of physical activity are great. In fact, daily exercise for older adults serves as a prescription for preventing, treating, and managing chronic diseases and conditions including the leading causes of death in the United States, heart disease and cancer.

Improvements to one’s physical health can be made at any age. In general, people age differently from one another; factors that play a key role in this are overall lifestyle choices and irreversible genetics. We cannot control our genetics, so one would suggest modifying our lifestyle habits, which gives us the best chance of survival.

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A few lifestyle factors that make the biggest difference in physical health are abstaining from smoking, eating a well-balanced, healthy diet (consisting of whole foods), managing stress, monitoring cardiovascular markers including blood pressure and blood lipid profiles, and regular physical activities — all of which are great examples.

My Personal Experience with Older Adults & Exercise Benefits

Working as a certified Exercise Physiologist for the past 20 years, I have witnessed true success stories in older adults (65 years and older) who have survived accidents they should not have. However, because they were physically active prior to the accident, they survived Through rehabilitation, they are thriving once again.

I’ve seen older adults who exercise and easily perform their Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) which has significantly helped their quality of life. Aren’t we are looking to move through our day with better ease? I would vote “yes!.”

I’ve watched numerous joint replacements with successful outcomes because the patients were committed to exercise routines for older adults prior to surgery. As one’s age increases, the risk of hip fractures increases by 95% resulting from a fall. One hip fracture can lead to numerous other health issues.

There are many ways to decrease your chance of falling, but physical activity is amongst the most impactful.  A well-rounded exercise routine for older adults is essential.  Exercise for older adults may include incorporating cardiovascular exercise such as:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Resistance training
  • Balance
  • Agility
  • Mobility
  • Coordination
  • Reaction time training.

While this might feel overwhelming, here are a steps to help keep you in line with your goals when choosing/re-starting your an older adult exercise program

Steps to Starting Exercise Routines for Older Adults

  • STEP ONE: Consult with your physician and inquire on whether there will be any negative affects to your exercise regimens based on the medication that you are taking.
  • STEP TWO: Commit to three months of regular exercise. When starting out, prepare your mind that you are going to adopt this new habit for 12 weeks and stick with it. Set a goal to be as consistent as possible. Believe it or not, by week 12, you will notice some differences in your quality of sleep, energy levels, overall mood, and an increase in stamina.
  • STEP THREE: Aim for 30 minutes of exercise on five or more days of the week (or 150 total minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity). What does moderate-intensity mean? It is an exercise intensity that is hard enough to break a sweat, but you could still carry on a conversation with your walking partner. You could break it into two 15-minute bouts per day, depending on your schedule.
  • STEP FOUR: Diversify your exercise routine types. Studies indicate that a combination of aerobic exercise, resistance training (2-3x/week), flexibility/mobility training and balance exercises yield the biggest benefits to one’s health and well-being. Focus on one area to begin the first few weeks, possibly aerobic exercise such as walking.

My top recommendation? Try a SilverSneakers class. I know what many may be thinking, “Those classes are for the elderly, and I am not in that category. I may age ten years just by trying a class,” but I encourage you to have an open mind and try a new class. You may be surprised!

These classes are designed to target those skills and functions that decline with age, including balance, strength, muscular endurance, agility, coordination, reaction time, flexibility and mobility. My goal in every class is to incorporate a variety of regimens to execute the best exercises for older adults.

 

7 Reasons Why Exercise Programs for Older Adults Are Beneficial

Healthy Aging Includes Exercise

As an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age. It also helps your muscles grow stronger so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others.

Not doing any physical activity can be bad for you, no matter your age or health condition. Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none at all. Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do.

Physical Activity is Essential for Healthy Aging

  1. Cardiovascular-respiratory health: The heart, a muscular organ, is the most vital part of the human body. The lungs, which provides oxygen to the heart, is extremely important as well. As we age, the efficiency of the heart and lungs decreases; however, regular cardiovascular exercise slows the effects of aging.  Aim for accumulating 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week  such as walking, biking or swimming. Exercise at an intensity to break a sweat, but at a pace where you can still hold a conversation with a friend. I could sit here for hours and list all the ways that cardiovascular exercise improves the function of the heart, lungs and related components , but to cut to the chase…it is essential to do — almost as essential as breathing!

seniorbenefits

  1. Psychological/Emotional well-being: Both aerobic training and resistance training yield significant improvements for depression and anxiety. Both also increase in quality of life including perceptions of body pain, vitality, social functioning, morale and sleep quality.
  2. Free Insurance: Think of exercise as additional health insurance. If you need unexpected surgery, joint replacements or experience an accident, the more fit you are prior to injury or surgery the quicker you’ll be on the road to recovery.
  3. Cognitive benefits: Studies show, a combination of aerobic training and resistance training decreases the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
  4. Weight management: As we age, our metabolism with naturally slow. Therefore, without mindful eating and regular exercise, it becomes very easy for the pounds to creep upwards. Exercise is a natural way to burn calories and preserve muscle mass. The less weight our skeletal system carries, the happier our joints.
  5. Fall prevention: More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling. Hip fractures can lead to a lengthy list of undesirable conditions and a severe decrease in quality of life and independence. Keeping bones strong through weight bearing exercise and resistance training, maintaining agility, reaction time, joint mobility, kinesthetic awareness and balance are all important factors in preventing a fall from occurring. Luckily, these areas can be improved because exercise does prevent falls in older adults.
  6. Chronic disease and disability prevention: A regular exercise program, 150 minutes per week, will minimize the physiological changes due to aging and a sedentary lifestyle. Physical activity and exercise for older adults will increase the active life expectancy while limiting the development and progression of chronic disease and disabilties including certain types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, depression, and many others.

Any movement is better than NO movement! Exercise guidelines for older adults emphasize that for most health outcomes, additional benefits occur as the amount of physical activity increases through higher intensity, greater frequency, and/or longer duration.

The guidelines stress that if older adults cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week because of chronic conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.  It all starts with a single movement!

Start today, by trying one of our SilverSneaker classes.

5 TIPS TO INCREASE YOUR WILLPOWER

If I told you there was a way to increase willpower, would you be interested? Imagine if you always had the willpower to eat right all the time, never miss a workout, walk the dog every day or stop a bad habit. It turns out that there are some very achievable things you can do to increase your willpower.

If you have ever read my “Owners Box ” in our club’s Program Guide, you know I like to read and often share what I have learned to help motivate others. I recently read The Willpower Instinct  by Kelly McGonical, PH.D. I highly recommend this book if you wish you could control your willpower a bit more.

Here are 5 ways to increase willpower that I took away as “key nuggets” from this book:

  1. Try Breathing Techniques – Try some simple breathing techniques for just 5 minutes a day. This is a basic form of meditation in which you close your eyes and breathe as deeply and slowly as you comfortably can for a minimum of 5 minutes daily. You’ll want to slowly inhale as deeply as possible, hold for a few seconds then slowly exhale, holding again for a few more seconds before taking another breath. Ideally, you are aiming for about 4 breaths a minute. It’s normal for your mind to drift in and out of many different thoughts, but try to focus on just your breathing.
  1. ExerciseStudies show amazing results for individuals who start and stay with an exercise program. Without even consciously thinking about it, those who took place in regular physical activity actually ate better and began eliminating other unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking.
  1. Get enough sleep – If you get a good night’s sleep and are well rested, you are much more likely to make better decisions. What’s interesting is that exercise is one the best things you can do to help fall asleep quickly and sleep more soundly throughout the night.
  1. Eat RightTo make sure your brain has the energy it needs to function at 100%, you need to eat “clean”. If you consistently eat poorly, this affects the processing ability of your brain , making you much more likely to make poor decisions. Your brain uses glucose and glycogen for energy, so when you go long periods of time without eating, you are going to affect your brain’s processing ability. This also holds true if you completely eliminate carbohydrates from your diet. Your body stores a great deal of glycogen in your muscle cells. By exercising, you actually start storing more glycogen over time, which in turn can be used by the brain. This is also why you have more energy when you work out regularly.
  2. Lower Your Stress Levels –Stress is a real downer if left unchecked. Unfortunately, some stress is a fact of life, and we need to learn control and manage what we can. My golden rule is not to “sweat the small stuff” or worry about the things you have no control over. Once again, exercise is one of the best things you can do to de-stress along with meditation or breathing techniques.

I hope these tips help you live a better & healthier life!  If you need any assistance, just come and see us at the club!  Contact Us.