Exercise doesn’t have to mean pumping huge iron, doing extreme workouts or running yourself into the ground. Regular, schedule workouts are great, but you should also look for ways to lead a more active lifestyle. The little things can build a solid foundation. For some extra punch, find ways to combine Exercise with your other goals (such as seeing friends more, spending time outdoors, finding a community service project). Keep it fun and full of variety. What you really need is an Exercise program that doesn’t completely turn your life upside down. This will help you stay off of the typical - and harmful - Exercise roller coaster.
The Fitness goal section of the SparkDiet is full of good Exercise and activity ideas. Use it to plan ahead for those regular workouts and follow along as you get a little better every day. More about Exercise
There’s too much emphasis these days on so-called “bad” foods. After enduring so many dieting and Nutrition messages, we’re left with a conviction that there are several foods that we should never eat again - milk, eggs, sugar, even carrots for pete’s sake. As a result, we deprive ourselves of energy-sustaining nutrients. Every food has value. Too much of anything can hurt. But by subtracting this value, we bamboozle our own performance. Like a ship, your body needs balance to move forward. Lean to far to one side and you’re turning in circles.
What’s the answer? Make smart substitutions - small changes that make a big difference. Focus less on getting rid of menu items, and more on dining on healthier versions of those items. You can find a number of substitution ideas within SparkDiet's helpful Nutrition tools, along with tracking and reporting features that prove your progress. More about Nutrition
Few things affect how you think and act as much as Sleep. Its impact on performance is much-proven but underestimated. In fact, 2/3 of us get less than 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Even small amounts of lost Sleep add up to a Sleep Debt that muddles your brain and fatigues the rest of you. The negative cycle created by Sleep Debt may be the #1 way people destroy their goal achievement momentum. Regular amounts of good slumber sets a sleep/waking rhythm that energizes you in the daytime and relaxes you at night. Remember: quality and environment are just as important as quantity.
Keeping a sleep log is the first step to taking control of your sleep patterns and practices. Note the time and amount of sleep, how long it took to fall asleep, and how you feel the next day. Using this tool, you’ll quickly see the link between your Sleep experience that the next day’s emotions, mental skills and energy level. More about Sleep
In the old days, Stress helped us survive. If you were attacked, your fight-or-flight instincts produced loads of adrenalin and cortisol - the Stress hormone. The problem is, unless they’re dissipated by physical activity (like running from a bear), Stress hormones store up and attack tissue in your brain and heart. Besides killing your concentration and memory, this tissue and nerve damage can be permanent and deadly. Just five minutes of Stress leaves your immune system vulnerable for nearly six hours. Exercise is a great way to release those hormones, but there are other strategies you can use to keep Stress from happening to begin with.
First, get rid of self-inflicted Stress. We set ourselves up for anxiety all the time by being late, not focusing and procrastinating. Second, control how you react to stressful situations. Finally, find time to relax and rejuvenate. Perspective, breathing and posture can calm you down quickly and keep you down. More about Stress Management
Most everyone has at least one bad habit. This isn’t usually a big deal - unless it starts to work against your goal program. If you smoke or gulp down quarts of caffeine, you’re not giving your body a chance to help out. If you don’t pay attention to hygiene or the risks that surround you, you’re just asking for a health-related interruption to your consistency. Your foundation will only be as strong as your Healthy Habits. By taking care of some basic housekeeping issues - and maybe even kicking that bad habit - you give your foundation the support it needs.
Set some Healthy Habit goals today. Here are some places to start, quick ways to create and live a healthier lifestyle. And don’t forget to floss! More about Healthy Habits
Fitness is the perfect place to involve other people in your program. Creating your own Goal team is a great way to keep Fitness interesting and the fastest way to get results. A will be there to cheer, listen and prop you up. Most importantly, a keeps you accountable and consistent. You’re much more likely to succeed if you have someone rooting in your corner and expecting things from you.
ing comes in many forms. A can be a friend or family member who just knows about your goals and checks up on you. Maybe one of our SparkPeople Community members would agree to be your Goal Buddy and you can help each other. Or you can hire your own Personal , a skilled professional who has helped many other people reach similar goals.