Shedding pounds and keeping them off gets tougher as we age. We vow in January to make big changes, but by Valentine’s Day our motivation has vanished. Maybe it’s time for a new strategy. Here are a few easy-to-implement, small steps you can take to start down your path to personal fitness.
Weigh yourself everyday
Bump up your weekly weigh-in to once a day. A study from the Minnesota University found that from a group of 1800 dieters, those that stepped on the scale daily lost an average of 12 pounds in two years – compared to 6 pounds from the group that weighed in weekly.
Watch less TV
Replace half your TV viewing time with activities like getting outdoors. It’s a great way to avoid those tempting food ads, which can sometimes give us the urge to snack. Another great idea is to place a treadmill or elliptical in your living room – that way you can do some cardio while enjoying your favorite shows!
Recruit a workout buddy
A smart strategy for any diet or fitness plan is to enlist the assistance of a friend. If you already reside in a retirement community, it’s a simple as visiting your on-site fitness center and striking up a conversation!
Eat more fiber
Fiber keeps us feeling satisfied longer, aids in digestion, keeps the colon healthy, and helps control blood pressure and cholesterol. The American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily – which is considerably more than the 10 to 15 grams per day consumed by the average person. Add fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, wheat, bran, beans and lentils to your pantry. Your body will thank you for it!
10k steps a day
Taking 10,000 steps a day is not as tough as it sounds. Between running errands, and doing household tasks, most people already average about 5000 steps daily. Use a pedometer to track your progress. Add extra steps by taking the stairs rather than the elevator, parking further from your destination, and walking instead of driving around town.
Get more sleep
If you’re not sleeping at least seven hours a night, you’re putting yourself at risk of sleep deprivation – and all of its associated effects. A study from the University of Chicago found that sleep deprived people have lower levels of appetite-controlling hormones – which is why individuals who only get four hours of sleep per night are more vulnerable to rapid weight gain. Try going to bed at the same time every evening, and make sure you stick to your routine – even on weekends.
Drink more water
A cold glass of water before each meal or snack causes the body to burn calories! Researchers found that drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water bumped up the metabolic rate of test subjects by 30%, for a period lasting about ninety minutes.
Check the glycemic index of food
Foods which contain large amounts of sugar and carbohydrates rank quite highly on the glycemic index. The subsequent spikes in blood sugar levels can create hunger – causing you to eat much more than you actually require. Check food labels to avoid added sugars, and opt for fresh produce over processed or fried vegetables.
Written by Alice Lucette. This article appears courtesy of SeniorsZen.com, a complimentary retirement resource for Canadian seniors.