Habits Aren’t Inherently Good Or Bad

Habits are behaviors that are done every day that require little thinking or concentration. Habits include all sorts of activities. They can range from getting dressed or sleeping habits to what we eat and to smoking or substance addiction. Most people would classify their habits into two categories, good and bad. But, our habits aren’t necessarily inherently good or bad. What actually categorizes good and bad habits have more to do with how these behaviors affect our lives and our goals we’ve set for ourselves. Most behaviors can be considered good or bad, depending on two factors. These factors are the frequency of the behavior and how the behavior affects us.

The frequency of the behavior refers to how often that habit is carried out. So, take exercise, for example. Being in the habit of exercising daily is considered a good habit because of its many health benefits, like sleeping better, increased positive mood, and maintaining a healthy weight. But, even exercise can become a bad habit if the frequency of the task is overdone. In some cases people exercise too much, several times a day, putting a strain on the bodies or becoming overly focused on how their body looks.

The other factor in classifying what is considered a good or bad habit is how the habit affects us and the goals we’ve set for ourselves. Good habits enrich our lives and further us to our goals. Smoking cigarettes is considered a bad habit because smoking doesn’t enrich life; rather it negatively affects our health. The way we spend the money we make is another example. Spending money is necessary to live in our society. Many people have a goal of buying a home, so a common goal is to save money for a down payment. When the habit of spending starts to negatively affect our goals, it becomes classified as a bad habit.

Most people go through life with both good and bad habits. Those habits may change, depending on where you’re at in your life. Although habits are hard to change, it can be done. The point should be to have the good habits outweigh the bad. By making conscious decisions about which habits you would like to live with, you will ultimately enrich your life. Set goals for yourself. You can achieve your goals by putting your good habits to use.

What are Habits?

Habits are behaviors we perform daily and with little thought process to do so. It’s almost as if some of our daily habits are done automatically. We often classify habits as either being good or bad. There are also everyday habits that allow us to carry out essential activities, most of us have, that are simply our routines.

Everyone has habits. From what time we go to sleep or wake up in the morning, to what time we eat our meals or even tie our shoes – these are all actions we perform daily without even thinking about them. Good habits are categorized as behaviors that benefit our lives. Eating right, getting enough sleep, being financially responsible, and staying active daily are some habits that are generally considered good. Conversely, bad habits are behaviors that don’t enrich our lives or no longer work for us. Some examples of bad habits are fingernail biting, the overindulgence of food or alcohol, and drug use. These are learned behaviors that don’t benefit our lives. Then, there are daily routines that become habits too. Like the coffee, you always buy from the same coffee shop on the way to work, or what time your body wakes up naturally every day, or even the way you put your clothes on in the morning.

There are several reasons why we use habits and why they are important. We use habits to make our lives easier. For instance, think about the simple task of brushing your teeth. You don’t have to concentrate on how to brush your teeth every day; you just do it out of habit.

When we do things out of habit, our brains are allowed a break. Performing these tasks allows the brain to allocate more energy to focus on complex tasks and decisions. So, habits are actually important for brain function.

Habits are hard to break, whether they’re daily tasks or good or bad. Similarly, new habits are hard to form. Doing so requires a conscious effort. Lots of times, people end up going back to their old habits, even after trying hard to form new ones. This is why losing weight or breaking addiction is so hard. Changing your habits, changes the way your brain works, it’s no simple task.

Habits can be anything we do daily, from the mundane tasks to the decisions we make every day that affect your life. Habits can be considered good or bad, but we know that they are an important part of how our brains work. We can choose our habits in order to live a healthier lifestyle.

Hydrate – Why We Need Water

Water is more than just something we need on a hot day… Water is VITAL to a healthy and properly functioning body. Staying hydrated is a very important part of a healthy mind and body. Keep reading to find out just a few reasons why we need water.

Strong Muscles
Without water, your muscles can’t get the oxygen they need that is normally carried through your blood. When this happens, your muscles can’t perform at peak efficiency—leaving you more easily fatigued and sore. Be sure to stay well hydrated to help your muscles be strong, and to avoid painful straining and cramps!

Mental Health
When your body isn’t getting the water it needs, it has a huge impact on your brain. Focus, thought processes, emotional state, and more are all directly connected to brain function. Being hydrated can help reduce brain fog, stress, and anxiety by helping your mind stay clearer, faster, and calmer.

Skin Care
Water helps the body flush out toxins and chemicals from the body. These are often picked up by our skin products and the foods we eat. So when we aren’t drinking enough water, these substances can sit in our skin for a long time… This can contribute to skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and more. We need water to help our skin be clearer and able to properly flush out any ick that’s seeped into it.

Blood Pressure
Dehydration can contribute to both spiking and falling blood pressure. This can be particularly dangerous to those who may have certain medical conditions… By not drinking enough water, your blood pressure can drop because of the lowered blood volume. This starves your body of much-needed oxygen and nutrients and can result in shock.

On the other end of the spectrum, lack of water can lead to heightened blood pressure as well. When the body is dehydrated, the kidneys go into self-preservation mode and try to get more water into the body by re-filtering urine rather than passing it. This creates a concentration of a hormone called vasopressin—which can cause a spike in blood pressure and constricted blood vessels.

These are just a few reasons why we need water in order to have a healthy mind and body. A good rule of thumb to be sure you stay hydrated is to drink half of your weight in ounces each day. For example, if you weighed one hundred pounds, you would need fifty ounces of water a day to be properly hydrated. Until you’ve developed good water-drinking habits, keep track of your water intake each day, and figure out how you can improve so you can have a healthier lifestyle. Happy hydrating!

Change Your Exercise Mindset and Change Your Life

Exercise is fun, right? Well, it’s not fun for everyone. In fact, many people consider it nothing short of torture. Perhaps it’s because they’ve fallen prey to many of the myths about exercise. Changing your exercise mindset, and letting go of these myths, can change your life.

No Pain No Gain

How often have you heard this lovely cliché? It implies that exercise must be painful in order for it to work. That’s just not true. Believing it is a sure-fire way to avoid exercise too! Who wants to feel intense pain? Actually, exercise can and should be fun and something you can do each and every day. Because honestly – if you’re not having fun, how likely are you to continue doing it? If it’s not easy to do, how can you find time to fit it into your day?

It’s a whole lot easier to motivate yourself to go for a walk or a bike ride to the store than it is to run five miles, right? And you can fit a walk into your day every day. It’s easier to go play tennis with a friend than to climb on the stair machine at the local gym. And much more fun, too.

You Have to Exercise to Be Healthy

More and more, scientists and doctors are learning that movement is more important than exercise. Exercise tends to be defined as a sustained activity for twenty, thirty, or even sixty minutes. It’s a spin class, the time it takes to run three miles or an hour on the treadmill. However, studies are showing that it’s more beneficial to have a practice of moving your body rather than “exercising.”

Moving your body means walking; it means being physically active. It doesn’t mean an hour in the spin class – unless you enjoy the spin class. Exercise is fine as long as it’s part of a daily habit of movement. Instead of sitting at your desk for four hours, getting lunch, and returning to your desk, get up and take a five-minute walk each hour. If you can, stand at your desk. Bike to work. Walk to the coffee shop or store.

Adopting a Healthy, and Active, Mindset

If you dread working out, find an activity that you enjoy. The activity should require movement – knitting or watching Dancing with the Stars doesn’t count. Play tennis, hike, play golf, swim, or take a dance class. Do something you enjoy that gets your body moving.

Additionally, take a look at your current habits. What can you replace with movement? Where can you fit physical activity into your day? It doesn’t have to be a five-mile run; it can be a one-mile walk. The important thing is to move.

If you like goals and numbers, shoot for ten thousand steps a day. That’s about five miles and to reach that number each day, you’ll likely have to create a few new habits. You can do it. Your health depends on it. To your success!

Enjoying Your Workout: Why It’s Crucial and How to Do It

One aspect of working out that people seldom pay attention to is their own enjoyment of it. After all, if your goal is to lose weight or to build muscle, why would it matter how much you enjoy your workouts? The reality is, however, that it really does matter. It plays a big part in your motivation, in your workout habits, and ultimately on your physique.

A lot of people approach working out as a chore. It’s something they dread doing, but do it because they “have to” in order to get fit.

Yet the people who truly get fit tend to be the people who have a very different attitude. The people who really build the kinds of bodies they want are the people who look forward to every workout.

They’re the people who will go for a jog or go weightlifting if they have nothing else to do. They’re the people who’ll voluntarily read books on the subject, just to further their education.

So how do you develop a love for working out if it doesn’t come to you naturally?

Learn to Enjoy the Burn

The burning sensation that you feel when you’re working out can either be extremely unpleasant or one of the most motivating feelings in the world.

That burning feeling is a sign that you’re achieving the goals you want. It’s a sign that your body is changing. It’s a sign that you’re moving forward. Once you can make that link on both a conscious and unconscious level, every time you feel the burn it’ll feel great rather than bad.

It’ll also become a personal challenge to you. How much of the burn can you feel, while pushing through? Instead of being an annoying sensation, it becomes a workout buddy. It becomes the challenge of the workout.

Losing weight might be your long-term goal, but in the workout itself, the burn gives you something to shoot for at the moment: to push through that next set and to go further.

What You Eat Makes a Difference

Trying to do a workout when you’re feeling lethargic isn’t fun. On the other hand, when you’re bursting with energy, working out is just a natural inclination.

The food you eat has a huge impact on your overall energy and physical wellbeing, which in turn has a big impact on how much you enjoy your workouts.

If you aren’t paying attention to your food, it’s time to start. Not only does it affect your workout, but it has a huge impact on your body composition. In fact, your body is shaped more by what you eat than your exercise routine.

How Getting Fit Can Make You Happier

Did you know that getting fit and in shape can actually make you happier? Chronic depression is combated with regular exercise, and aside from helping you return to your natural body weight, regular exercise and other fitness activities are great for your heart and your circulation.

Most fitness experts will tell you that a brief and brisk half-hour walk immediately makes you more alert. And intense physical activity of any kind actually stimulates certain brain chemicals which cause you to feel happier and more at peace.

Of course, there are the self-esteem benefits that make you feel good about yourself when you look in the mirror and see how all your hard work is paying off. The key to becoming happier is regular exercise and dedication to your fitness goals. This includes ensuring you are drinking lots of water throughout the day, and changing your lifestyle to include a healthy diet.

WebMD is one of the most respected healthcare websites on the entire Internet. They explain just how getting fit can make you happier, and it all has to do with chemicals called endorphins. These wonderful little natural mood boosters actually talk to your brain and help reduce your perception of pain.

And these endorphins are released in great quantities when you exercise for an extended period of time. Have you ever experienced a euphoric feeling after an intense workout? Long-distance runners call it the “runner’s high”. This is due to the massive release of endorphins in your body, which drastically and quickly cause a happier and healthier outlook.

Produced in your spinal cord, brain, and other parts of your body, these chemical good guys also act as sedatives. However, unlike chemical sedatives such as morphine, there is no unhealthy addiction or dependence created when your body is flooded with these miraculous stress relievers.

WebMD researchers go on to explain that regular exercise of even mild intensity levels promotes positive self-esteem, can erase feelings of depression, is great for lowering anxiety and reducing stress and can even improve your sleep patterns.

Your outlook on life is always better when you feel good about yourself, and the chemical process already hardwired into your physical makeup ensures that you feel happy and energized after a workout.

You knew that getting fit and losing weight would help your heart, lower your blood pressure, and improve your strength and body tone. But now that you understand your body is chemically aligned to make you happier when you exercise, you have just one more great reason to start a regular fitness program.

5 reasons to start an exercise program

You can’t get away from it. You know you’re supposed to exercise because every time you go online they’re talking about exercise. You probably know that exercise improves your health and it helps you lose weight. However, there may be some benefits that you’re not aware of. These exercise benefits may be exactly what you need to find the motivation to start an exercise program.

  1. It makes you feel like a kid again – When you try a new sport or fitness activity, it can remind you of when you were young. Do you remember running on the playground and your feet moving so fast you could barely keep up? Do you remember the joy? There is a sport or fitness activity out there that can make you feel young again. Seek it out!
  2. You’ll sleep like a baby – Exercise not only fatigues your mind and body so that you must sleep, it also releases hormones that help regulate your sleep cycle. If you struggle with insomnia or find that you wake frequently during the night, try exercising.
  3. It helps with anxiety and depression – Did you know that about 10% of the population suffers from some form of depression? Even more, people deal with chronic anxiety. Exercise has been shown to help reduce symptoms of both of these conditions. Exercise releases hormones that mimic antidepressants and anti-anxiety hormones. You not only feel great right after a workout, the effects last the rest of the day.
  4. You get smarter – Who doesn’t want to boost their brainpower? Exercise has been shown to increase creativity, critical thinking, and boost your thought response time. There are two reasons why this happens. First, when you exercise you pump more oxygen and nutrients into your brain. Second, exercise requires you to learn new movements. It’s brain training!
  5. More confidence – When you approach a fitness program with a realistic plan, you’ll create a pattern of success. Each workout you complete and each goal you achieve makes you feel more confident.

Exercise isn’t just great for your body, it’s also great for your mind and spirit. You’ll feel happier and more excited about life. And when life’s inevitable challenges arise, you’ll feel more capable of handling them.

How Workout Dates Help You Stick To Your Goals

The key to attaining your fitness goals is to work out with consistency. You start a new exercise program filled with excitement and goals, but soon you are bored with the same exercise routine, discouraged by the lack of results, or sidetracked by life in general. Pretty soon, you are back to your old ways of sitting on the couch and eating ice cream and potato chips.

Keeping that excitement and commitment going over the long haul is hard, but here are some ways that can help you stay the course:

Find an Exercise Buddy

Whether you exercise with a friend or your significant other, being accountable to someone other than yourself is a great way to keep you on track. When you commit to working out with someone, you do not want to let them down, nor do they want to let you down, so not showing up for a workout becomes more difficult than just going.

Schedule Your Workouts

If you are like me for something to get done, it has to be on my schedule. If not, something always takes priority, and consequently, the non-scheduled things take a backseat; workouts are no different. However, by scheduling your workouts both on your personal calendar and the one you have at work, your workout time becomes just as important as anything else you have scheduled. If you are using an electronic calendar, such as Gmail or Yahoo, set the reminder so you get either an email or pop-up reminder a certain time before your workout is supposed to begin.

Exercising on a consistent and routine basis will eventually become part of your healthy lifestyle. Eventually, you will reach a point where you will feel guilty if you have to miss a session – even if it is due to something beyond your control. But to get to that point, where exercising becomes second nature, requires diligent and deliberate dedication to succeed on your part.

Why Getting Fit Should Be a Long Term Goal

What is your fitness goal? With the new year coming, maybe it is losing a few of those extra pounds so you can look good when it’s ok again to go to the beach. That could be a great short-term goal, and definitely one you would want to attain, but what is your end-state fitness-wise in the long term and how are you going to get there?

Regardless of your goal, you need a path to the other end – an action plan that takes you from where you are now to your goal – written down on paper and posted where you can see it. Remember, goals have to be both realistic and attainable. Losing 50 pounds before summer is not either, however losing 10 pounds by the same time is both realistic and attainable.

Also, goals have to be specific if you expect to achieve success. A goal of losing weight isn’t specific enough; losing 50 pounds by Labor Day is better because it has a specified amount of weight to lose and an ending date.

However, losing 1 ½ pounds per week for a total of 50 pounds by Labor Day is better yet as it also includes a short-term goal along the way to keep you on track. And 1 ½ pounds per week is not as daunting as 50 pounds. Short-term goals keep you focused; without them in our example, you could find yourself needing to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time towards the end to reach your goal.

Also, achieving several short term goals along the way provides the motivation to continue. Each week’s 1 ½ pound loss is a building block for the next week. The time and commitment invested to reach each week’s goal, further seats your investment of time and energy to achieving the end-state.

And achieving a short-term goal of a 1 ½ pound loss each week sets you up for the longer goal of keeping that weight off. For example, it takes about 30 days to establish a habit (or break an old one). If your method to weight loss was eating healthy, by the time you get to your goal your new style of eating is an established part of your new healthy lifestyle. Once it becomes a habit, it is much harder to break and go back to your old way of eating.

And that is the real benefit of the long-term goal of getting fit – it becoming part of a larger goal of achieving a healthy lifestyle. Once you attain this goal, your next one for example may be doing a 5KM marathon. Each long-term goal supports the overall goal – living a healthy lifestyle.

Simple Lifestyle Tweaks to Help You Drop Some Weight

Sometimes the simplest changes in lifestyle can make a big difference. Here are a few easy lifestyle tweaks that make a big difference individually, but have synergistic effects when paired together.

Keep a food journal

Many times being overweight is a case of not realizing how much (or what) a person eats in a day. Writing down everything puts it in perspective. According to a recent study, people who kept a food journal lost twice as much weight as those who did not – on average 13 pounds in 6 months.

Eat healthy food

Not only does eating junk or unhealthy food pack on the calories, but it is also high in saturated and trans fat – both of which are bad for your health and lead to some serious health issues. Instead, opt for more fresh vegetables, whole grain, and lean meats. Not only will it reduce the number of calories consumed, but reduce the bad fats. If at all possible, refrain from eating processed fast food and opt for a healthy bag lunch that you prepare at home.

Get more exercise

It’s so easy to do without adding hardly any more time to your day. For example, instead of parking close to the store, park at the far end of the parking lot and walk in the rest of the way. If you take public transportation, get off a stop or two before your normal stop, and walk to your destination. Once inside the building, take the stairs (at least partway up) instead of the elevator. During your lunch break, take a walk, returning with enough time left to eat your healthy bag lunch.

Another way to sneak in exercise is to only watch your favorite Netflix series while you are exercising. It will prevent you from binge-watching and possibly avoiding lounging in bed or your couch for an entire day. This is great for short episodes (30 min long episodes) – you get your work out in while you indulge yourself getting caught up in your favorite show. Another way is to listen to your favorite podcast or an audiobook while you are working out or walking/running. You burn some calories while you get absorbed in your favorite podcast or audiobook.

Wear a fitness tracker

Counting the number of steps taken during the day raises your exercise awareness. When you have that information at hand, you’ll find yourself comparing how many steps you have taken to your daily goal and put in the extra effort to reach your goal. In a recent study, people who walked only 2,500 steps more per day than the control group, burnt off the equivalent of 10 pounds over a the one-year study.

Get enough sleep

In another study, participants were asked to sleep 10 hours a night for two nights, followed by five nights of less sleep and four nights of recovery. The results? After 11 days, the study group had gained almost 3 pounds each compared to the well-rested control group.

All of these lifestyle tweaks are easy to implement. Once they have established habits, and you start to see weight loss results, you’ll wonder why you had not started doing them sooner.