Archive for the tag - illness

7 Ways I’m Making 2011 the Healthiest Year of My Life!

We’re only a few hours days into the new year, but I’m already convinced that 2011 is going to be the healthiest year of my life. This year really will be different, because I’m making not just talking the talk – I’m walking the walk.

Walking the walk requires making changes. And I’m doing just that:

  1. I’m cooking more. And buying fewer prepared foods. Prepared foods are packed with things that aren’t nourishing for our bodies – including huge amounts of sodium. You might not know what goes into a can of Spaghettios. But you do know what goes into a dish of pasta that you cooked yourself. Cooking your own meals is an easy way to cut down on a whole slew of undesirables.
  2. I’m flossing. This time, I mean it. In addition to resulting in cleaner teeth and fresher breath, flossing has also been linked to a reduction in heart disease.
  3. I’m adding more variety to my workout. Our muscles become accustomed to our routines, and thus they can become less challenging over time. By changing up our workout variables (like base of stability, rest time durations, sequencing, intervals in cardio training, exercise type, etc.), we can keep our workouts challenging.
  4. I’m using sea salt instead of table salt. It’s a small step, but equal measurements of sea salt actually have less sodium than table salt because the larger crystals take up more room. There is more air space with sea salt, so it’s an easy way to cut sodium without sacrificing flavor. Having said that, sea and table salt contain equal percentages of sodium by weight – and neither is healthy. Most of us get way too much salt to begin with.
  5. I’m buying more frozen vegetables. And hopefully eating them, too. Flash frozen vegetables are a great addition to anyone’s diet. They are healthy, easy to prepare and super convenient.
  6. I’m washing my hands more. In the past few months, I’ve gotten better at washing my hands more frequently. It’s a simple way to reduce the risk for illness, and it’s especially important after hitting the gym and handling all those dirty weights!
  7. I’m saying “no” to things that will result in overcommitment. And saying yes to enjoying life. It’s not always easy to say no to friends, family or coworkers – but I’m getting pretty good at it. Instead of giving 50% of myself to a whole bunch of things, 2011 will be all about giving 100% of myself to fewer things. In fact, I just realized that this is my belated New Year’s resolution: To give more of myself to fewer things. I love it!

Okay, so those are the 7 things to which I’m now committed. It’s in writing, so it’s official. But what are some other great ways to be healthier that you’d recommend? Let us all know in the comments below!

Exercising When Sick

Davey,

I’m home sick with a cold. Is it a good idea to workout when you are sick with a cold or flu? Part of me wonders if the energy expenditure would take away from the immune systems that are working to get rid of it. I’ve recently lost nearly 60 pounds and don’t want to diminish my current fitness level that I’ve worked hard to achieve.

Brenon

Dear Brenon,

First, congratulations on releasing 60 pounds through a healthier lifestyle. That’s fantastic!

To answer your question: STAY HOME! In fact, working out while sick is one of my Top 12 Gym Mistakes. There are two pieces to this.

First, it’s incredibly inconsiderate to your fellow gym goers. The gym is already a breeding ground for nasty germs and bacteria. So, please do us a favor and don’t snot on the dumbbells. Things are already gross enough, thank you.

Second, your body needs the rest. Some people have crazy notions that you can “sweat” out a sickness – but that’s just not how the human body works. The immune system fights the germs internally – it doesn’t push them out through your sweat glands.

Moreover, our immune system is most effective when it is not under stress. Researches have found that even a single exercise session can cause significant stress to the immune system (though, overall, exercise helps build a stronger immune system).

And exercising too soon during recovery can even cause a relapse of the sickness – causing a bigger impact in your exercise program.

Don’t worry about missing a few days at the gym – it won’t be enough to significantly derail your fitness routine. A few days won’t make a difference. The power of exercising is its cumulative effect. It would take several weeks before you noticed a measurable external change in your body.

Whether it’s coughing, aches and pain, fever or even an upset stomach, do your body (and the rest of us) a favor by staying home!