- Stop Making New Year's Resolutions
- An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
- February is Heart Health Month
- For the Love of Chocolate
- WEB EXCLUSIVE:
New Year's Resolution: Get Moving and Start Losing
Stop Making New Year’s Resolutions
Start Making SMART Solutions
Every year, resolutions are made. And inevitably, every year the same resolutions are broken. While we all mean well behind our annual lists and vows to fit into our skinny jeans, the fact of the matter is that living healthier and making better life choices is an everyday lifestyle change.
So this year, after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season winds to a rest, take time for you. Here’s to a healthy look at your New Year.
Tackle the Bulge
It’s the one New Year’s resolution that makes every list, every year. Make a pledge to yourself to start small. Take on attainable, realistic goals and gradually incorporate these lifestyle changes into your diet and exercise routine.
Jump off the latest diet bandwagon and do what works for you. There’s no perfect way to diet. Simply eat balanced meals and make smart food choices. Better food choices will ultimately lead to a better, happier and more energetic you.
Fit in some fitness. Do what your schedule allows. Jump on the treadmill before your morning shower, take a brisk walk around the neighborhood after dinner, whatever your schedule allows. Bit by bit, add varied exercises to your daily routine.
Don’t Be the DD…
Dehydrated drinkers beware: Caffeine and alcohol drain your body of essential fluids that you depend on for various vital functions. Our bodies are made mostly of water, so let’s give ourselves more of what we crave. Even slight dehydration can lead to feelings of tiredness and a lack of energy.
The benefits of water are seemingly endless. Water can actually aid in weight loss by replacing high-calorie drinks. Sometimes when we think we’re hungry, we’re really just thirsty. Water also helps flush toxins from our system, benefits our skin, and can even ward off headaches. So drink up that H2O; it may be better for you than you think.
Practice Safe Sleep
Sleep is restorative, stress-reducing and heart healthy...so why don’t we get enough of it? With schedules getting busier and busier and our cell phones always buzzing, it’s easy to see why we sometimes let sleep fall by the wayside.
As the old adage says, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” This actually may not be so far-fetched. Sleep aids in health as it repairs your body. When we nod off, our body repairs itself at a cellular level from damage done by stress, pollutants, infection, sun exposure and so forth.
When you’re tired, do you find yourself forgetting important things? Sleep actually improves your memory. After a good night’s rest, your brain is able to better process and retain knowledge. Getting ample rest can actually control your appetite, as well. When we deprive our body of sleep, it looks for energy elsewhere, and we begin longing for high-calorie foods and carbohydrates.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
The path to health begins with a simple step. Walk the dog a little further each morning, opt out of happy hour, grab a salad instead of fast food for lunch. Whatever your first step is, it can heavily influence your overall lifestyle change. So now that you’ve got the facts, what’s your first step going to be?
February Is Heart Health Month
Did you know? Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease kills an estimated 630,000 Americans each year. One of the most common types of heart disease, coronary artery disease (CAD), can lead to a heart attack. You can greatly reduce your risk for CAD through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication.
You are at higher risk of heart disease if you are:
- A woman age 55 or older
- A man age 45 or older
- A person with a family history of early heart disease
You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors are also important for people who already have heart disease.
- Watch your weight
- Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation
- Get active and eat healthy
- Talk to your doctor about taking aspirin every day if you are a man over the age of 45, or a woman past menopause
- Manage stress
To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its affects, AAA is proudly participating in American Heart Month. From Feb. 1–March 31, to encourage people to get active, AAA members can receive a FREE pedometer* by calling 1-866-AAA-SAVE and pressing #3 to access a AAA Prescription Savings representative. In addition to the free pedometer, AAA members will also receive information about the AAA Prescription Savings program that's free with AAA membership.
*Offer good 2/1-3/31/2011 or while supplies last. One pedometer per member per household. AAA Prescription Savings is not insurance. Discounts are only available at participating pharmacies.
For the Love of Chocolate
For some, It's a guilty pleasure. For others, it's a way of life. Let's face it, Americans love chocolate. The good news is, chocolate may not just be empty calories. Chocolate lovers unite! Here are a few of the ways chocolate may be beneficial to your health.
Flavonoids: Flavonoids have been found to improve blood vessel function. As vascular responsiveness is improved, blood vessels are less tense, which increases blood flow in the arteries. And, ultimately, better blood flow is good for your heart. Chocolate contains these natural substances found mostly in dark chocolate and cocoa. The lighter the chocolate, the less flavonoids it contains, so white chocolate contains no flavonoids.
Antioxidants: Increasing our antioxidant intake has been found to protect us from damage to the heart and blood vessels. Studies have also shown that antioxidants like the ones found in dark chocolate protect us from the damage that may lead to cancer. Unfortunately, you only need about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate each day to realize this benefit.
In addition to the health benefits chocolate has been shown to have, it also contains some interesting chemicals. Theobromine stimulates the central nervous system, and it relaxes the bronchi in your lungs as well as your blood vessels. Phenylethylamine is often compared to amphetamine, which can replicate the feelings someone has when they are in love.
Overall, the benefits of dark chocolate (and cocoa) can be beneficial. However, a balanced diet and regular exercise will always be the key to a heart healthy lifestyle.
Did you know?
Through AAA Prescriptions Savings, members save an average of 24 percent on medications. The savings card can be used at over 59,000 locations nationwide. Visit AAA.com/RX to learn more.