Beyond Exercise: Staying Healthy Outside The Gym

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There’s more to staying healthy than just hopping on the treadmill every single day; healthy habits range from eating well, drinking water, and not indulging in unhealthy habits too often. Although exercise can go a long way towards helping you become a perfect picture of health, here are a few other lifestyle habits you can adopt outside the gym to give your fitness regime a little boost.

Quit your bad habits

Beyond Exercise: Staying Healthy Outside The Gym

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It’s no great secret that smoking and drinking are bad for you. Smoking directly causes 30 percent of heart disease deaths, 30 percent of cancer deaths, and a massive 80 to 90 percent of all lung cancers, not to mention increasing the risk of developing mouth, throat, and, bladder cancer. Fortunately, there are number of methods available to help you quit smoking for good. You can choose from e-cigarettes, nicorette gum, nicotine patches, and plenty of support groups willing to share their experience. The health benefits are almost immediate, because your lungs and cardiovascular system begin repairing themselves within minutes of your last cigarette.

People who drink excessively are at higher risk for liver damage, various cancers including those of the liver and mouth, high blood pressure, and depression. You don’t have to quit completely, but it won’t hurt to cut back, or even limit yourself to a few glasses on special occasions. Soon after you cut back, your digestion will improve and you’ll sleep more soundly. Your blood sugar will be lower and steadier, your blood pressure may fall toward a healthier range, and even your brain will bounce back. You’ll even enjoy a healthy liver and cardiovascular system for the rest of your life.

The good news is that exercise is excellent for helping you quit these bad habits, and your running stride will greatly improve once you’ve given them up for good.

Mental health

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Often, it can be difficult to shut off your brain and just take a little quiet time for yourself, which makes us more susceptible to stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. It’s important to set aside some time away from your commitments to recharge. Meditation encourages you to concentrate on your breathing and to stay present in the moment. Don’t worry about the things you still have to do. Don’t focus on the past or the future. Just sit quietly, breathing deeply, and feel the air moving in and out of your lungs. The practice of meditation will, in time, boost your overall happiness, decrease stress, ease your anxieties, and lower your blood pressure.

Alternatively, you could take your mind off your problems by indulging in your favorite pastimes. Hobbies aren’t just a way to kill time; they are a way of relaxing and relieving stress. The joy you can get from indulging in a hobby could also help you live longer, or at least help you recover from illness more quickly. You should also try to socialize as often as you can; reaching out to your family or reconnecting with your friends can lift your spirits more than any rush of endorphins you get from exercise. Even the most introverted people need a little social interaction every once in a while.

Intimacy

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Speaking of reaching out to people, you should also make time for your partner. An active sex life isn’t just good for your relationship or self-esteem, but it’s proven to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and therefore decreases the number of strokes caused by high blood pressure. However, to stay healthy you should also practice safe sex with new partners, no matter how old you are; drugs like viagra are increasing the amount of older couples who are having intercourse, and therefore the number of STDs is on the rise. There is plenty of helpful info regarding when to get tested available, as well as info on how to spice up a long-term relationship. There are plenty of ways to feel intimate with a partner without getting physical; even spending an afternoon cuddled up together will release a rush of endorphins that will relax you, and improve your overall quality of life.

Drink more water

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If you weren’t drinking enough water to begin with, then you probably suffered from fatigue, headaches, and constipation on a regular basis. There is evidence that not drinking enough may be associated with falls and fractures, heat stroke, heart disease, lung disorders, kidney disease, and decreased immune function.

Water is even more important when you’re exercising because you have to replenish the water and sodium you have lost through sweat. The body can lose several liters of water during a one-hour period of exercise, so you’ll need to replace that water or face the effects of dehydration. Don’t ever assume that you can afford to go for a run without bringing a bottle of water with you. Dehydration while exercising can lead to loss of coordination, muscle fatigue, cramps, and exhaustion.

Avoid fad diets

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If you’ve been trying to lose weight for a long time, then you should know that fad diets never work. At best, you lose weight quickly and manage to keep it off for a week or two before you put it all back on again with some added gain, or you give up halfway through because you’ve essentially been starving yourself and you can’t do it anymore. As far as what you need for a proper healthy diet, you just need to eat food that is healthy. Anything that grows in the ground or on trees, swims in the sea, or runs on land is considered healthy food. Stop eating ready meals that are full of refined sugars and start cooking your own nutritious meals.

The human body needs calories, carbohydrates, and fat in order to function properly throughout the day – despite what you may read in some diet books, these macronutrients are not the enemy. The only thing you need to really avoid is overindulgence – too much of anything can be a bad thing.


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