Do You?

%image_alt%You may think you’re maximizing every opportunity to get into shape and be healthy, but do you? Here are a few of the things you should be doing that will not only make you healthier, but boost your energy and your brainpower. Studies show there’s a huge connection between the body and the brain. When you exercise, you increase the number of neural connections and that improves your cognitive function. In fact, one study shows it can even delay dementia and Alzheimer’s. You’ll also be reducing the risk of serious conditions.

Are you eating healthy?

We’re all guilty of poor eating habits at one time or another. Sometimes, you just can’t wait for dinner and those pork rinds or candy bars look delicious. Rather than leave anything to chance, it’s good to plan ahead. Make sure you plan mid morning and mid afternoon snacks so you aren’t tempting to eat your way through the junk food counter at the gas station or load up on cookies that you immediately open and eat in the car after you leave the grocery. Learning to eat healthier doesn’t mean dieting.

Dieting doesn’t work and can be counterproductive.

Some people feel the need to constantly be on a diet, yet fail to shed pounds permanently. That’s because diets don’t work. Diets always end and then you go back to old eating habits. Even worse, extremely strict diets can put your body in starvation mode, which slows your metabolism and makes you regain the weight you lost faster—plus adding a few pounds. Eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you love that you might consider being forbidden. Instead, you’ll simply eat less of it and less frequently.

Are you exercising regularly?

Regular exercise is so important to your overall health. It helps boost the immune system and stimulates the body to create antioxidants that protect your cells. It improves circulation that brings nutrients and oxygen rich blood to all parts of the body, so not only will you look better, you’ll actually be healthier. One study showed that for every minute you exercise, you’ll extend your life seven healthy minutes.

Are you getting adequate sleep? Sleep is important for a number of reasons. It allows the brain to rest and lets your body heal. Adequate sleep is important to heart health and mental functioning.

Do you drink enough water? I have yet to figure out why people don’t drink more water. Water flushes out the system and helps prevent dehydration. The older you are, the more prone you are to dehydration. In older people, it can lead to symptoms mimicking dementia or other serious conditions. Get in the habit now.

Get involved. People with a readily available social circle not only enjoy life more, they live longer.

Take time to give back and love. Showing love to another person or even loving a favorite furry friend enriches and extends your life. Doing good for others and having a pet project that gives you purpose also does. If you’re a parent, it’s probably the kids, but think beyond your family too.

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