With 2020 upon us, it is a new year and a new decade. Historically, one of the top New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. Unfortunately, many people look to fad diets and weight loss products to achieve their goals quickly. While fad diets may prove effective initially, research shows that many people don’t find long-term success with these types of diets.
However, we want to help create a healthier you in 2020. Healthier habits have benefits and cost savings in many areas of your life - including your life insurance and health insurance policies. We've assembled helpful tips to get you started on your health goals for this new decade.
In this article we will cover:
- Lasting Lifestyle Changes vs. Quick Fixes
- Setting Yourself Up for Success
- Sit Up Straight: Improving Posture to Support Your Health
- Taking Steps to a Healthier You
- Creating Injury-Free Workouts
Lasting Lifestyle Changes vs. Quick Fixes
Instead of setting a goal to lose weight fast this New Year's, set a goal to lead a healthier lifestyle. Common lifestyle New Year's resolutions include the following:
- Exercise regularly—Aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week and to do strength training exercises of major muscle groups at least twice a week.
- Maintain a well-balanced, healthy diet—Try to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein-rich foods, and healthy fats. Make it a goal to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet.
- Increase the amount of sleep you get—One of the best ways to become healthier is to get enough sleep. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep, the expert-recommended amount, per night.
Set Yourself Up for Success
According to U.S. News & World Report, 80% of New Year's resolutions fail. That's why it's so important to set yourself up for success when you're choosing a resolution.
Regardless of what you choose as your New Year's resolution, make sure it is a "SMART" goal—one that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely—to increase the odds that you will stick to it.
Sit Up Straight: Improving Posture to Support Your Health
So many of us spend extended periods of time sitting at our computers that health and safety experts are getting seriously worried about the effect poor sitting posture may have on our long-term health.
They warn that poor posture can damage your spine, reduce your flexibility when moving and affect your balance. It can even impact your digestive system and affect your breathing.
Quick Tips for Better Posture
There's a whole science, known as ergonomics, behind the way we sit and the furniture we use. Here's what the experts advise:
- Ensure the seat fully supports your back or that you are sitting in a position that keeps your spine straight.
- The seat's padding should support your thighs and hips, and your feet should touch the floor, with your legs straight down (that is, at 90 degrees to the floor).
- If your feet don't reach, get a footrest, lower the seat or find a more suitable one.
- Relax your shoulders. Don't round them or pull them back. Just hold them straight. Try to keep your elbows close to your body, not stretched out.
- Don't sit still for too long -- and don't cross your legs. Shift your sitting position every now and then, gently stretch your muscles, and take brief walks around your home or office.
Of course, good posture is not just about how you sit at your computer. It's about the whole way you carry yourself, whether you're sitting or standing still or walking.
When you're standing, consciously stand up straight as though you are trying to make yourself as tall as possible. Now, it's time to keep your shoulders back, pull your stomach in and keep your head level -- that is, not using your head to look up or down.
Posture experts also say it's important to try to put most of your weight on the balls of your feet when standing, with your arms hanging down naturally at your side. Your feet should be slightly apart -- roughly in line with your shoulder width.
It's a good habit to try regularly reviewing your posture. Just take a few seconds every now and then to give yourself a "once-over" -- and then make any necessary adjustments. Keep at it -- with practice you might feel a whole lot better!
Taking Steps to a Healthier You
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, most Americans should log 10,000 steps per day to reduce the risk of disease and help lead a healthy, productive life. Consider using a pedometer, a device used to track how many steps you take.
Use these stair-use recommendations to help reach your daily 10,000 step goal:
- When you need to use the restroom at work, walk the stairs to another floor to do so.
- While at work, at the shopping mall or other public buildings, consider taking the stairs instead of riding the escalator or taking the elevator.
- If you're physically able, always take the stairs when traveling only three floors or less.
- You can also help the environment by taking the stairs versus using the elevator or escalator. Teach this eco-friendly lesson to your kids too!
- If you are traveling several floors up or down and cannot physically take the stairs the entire way, consider getting off the elevator one or two floors early and take the stairs the rest of the way.
- Huffing and puffing up the stairs will build your cardiovascular health, while also toning your leg muscles.
Consider implementing stair-use into your routine while you're out and about, and burn a few calories in the process!
Don't try to get your 10,000 steps in one activity. Not only is this a daunting task, but it is not as effective. By breaking up your step goal into smaller chunks, you will be more motivated to meet your goal and you will be burning calories throughout the day.
Creating Injury-Free Workouts
Exercise is a great way to combat stress, lose weight and boost your energy. To get the most from your workouts, it is important that you add warming up, cooling down and stretching to your exercise routine. These three simple steps are proven to prevent painful and costly injuries later.
Warming up allows your body time to adjust from rest to activity. It increases blood flow to the muscles so they stretch easily, reducing the risk of muscle tears. It also lubricates joints and carries oxygen to the heart.
To effectively warm up:
- Use movements that are similar to those you will use in your workout, such as light calisthenics, walking, jogging, etc.
- Gradually increase the intensity of your warm-up.
- Don't overdo it! Your warm-up should be about 15 minutes and intense enough to cause a light sweat.
As with warming up, cooling down should include movements similar to those in your workout, but at a gradually decreasing level of intensity.
After cooling down, stretching helps to build flexibility and range of motion. When stretching:
- Use gentle and fluid movements and breathe normally.
- Work specific parts of your body, maintaining each stretch for 20 to 60 seconds.
- Never force a joint beyond its normal range of motion; you should not feel any pain.
Many muscle and bone injuries are the result of skipping a warm-up and cool-down before and after exercise.
Remember, preventing an injury is easier, cheaper and less painful than trying to recover from one.
As your trusted insurance provider, the team at Pasadena Insurance Agency wants to make sure you are getting the best lifestyle tips to support a healthy and active lifestyle. If you have questions about life insurance for yourself or your family, give us a call.
Also, we offer group benefits for employers. If you'd like assistance with your company's group benefits, contact our team.