Did you know that more than 450 million people worldwide are struggling with mental disorders? Over 300 million suffer from depression. Last year alone, 10.3 million Americans experienced a major depressive episode that caused severe impairment. Poor mental health can affect every area of your life, including your career, relationships, and social behavior.
Every day, we seek ways to improve our health and well-being. Sometimes, diet and nutrition are not enough. Stress, poor lift, and lack of mental exercise may impair brain function and memory. To enjoy good mental health, it's necessary to look beyond exercise and diet.
Interested to find out more? Here are a few ways to elevate your mood and keep your brain sharp until late in life:
Enjoy the Outdoors
Spending time in nature is one of the best ways to ward off stress and find inner peace. This simple habit lowers the stress hormone cortisol levels and boosts cognition. It also improves creativity and promotes mental well-being.
Commit to spending at least 15 minutes outdoors every day. Take a long walk, go jogging, or meditate in a quiet green area. If you're under a lot of stress, plan an active holiday in the mountains or at the seaside. It might be exactly what you need to lift your mood and calm your mind.
Games are not just for children. In fact, they're just as beneficial for grownups. Sudoku, board games, crossword puzzles, and even video games increase attention span and boost learning abilities. Think of them as exercise for your brain.
As you age, your memory declines and your brains begins to slow down. For this reason, you need to constantly stimulate it. Brain games can help you focus better at work, make faster decisions, and find solutions to your problems. In the long run, they improve memory and may prevent cognitive decline.
Use Positive Affirmations
Take a Break from Technology
In this hyperconected era, we have everything we need at our fingertips. We can chat with people from all around the world with a click of a button, get the latest news in real time, and find information online within seconds. Yet, we're sick and prone to depression.
Modern technology is a double-edged sword. Even though it makes our lives easier, it also keeps us from actually living. For instance, researchers have linked social media to poor self-esteem, depressive symptoms, paranoia, and anxiety.
Set limits on your daily Internet usage so you can mentally disconnect from social media, email, and online apps. It’s one of the best things you can do for your health and well-being. You’ll not only feel more positive and energetic but also keep your brain sharp and get your creative juices flowing.
Summer is right around the corner and you want to look amazing on the beach! Luckily, it's not too late to get your body ready for shorts and tank tops. With a little planning and willpower, you can lose those pesky pounds and rev up your metabolism.
Crash diets and endless workouts are not an option. These mess with your hormones and drain your energy. Plus, they're not sustainable long term. Weight loss comes down to the small choices you make every day. There are no quick fixes or magic pills.
Ready to get in beach shape? Follow these six easy steps to build the body you want!
Ditch the Junk
Not all calories are created equal. If you eat sugar and junk food despite staying in a calorie deficit, don’t expect to get leaner. 600 calories worth of salmon and veggies are not the same as 600 calories worth of French fries or candy.
One gram of carbohydrates or protein contains 4 calories. One gram of fat contains nine calories. These nutrients go through different metabolic pathways and are processed differently by your body. To lose weight, increase your protein intake and cut back on carbs.
Ditch the sugar, processed meats, white flour, bread, cereals, cookies, and other foods that have little or no nutritional value. They provide nothing but empty calories and additives. Your calories should come from whole, natural foods.
Eat Protein at Every Meal
Whenever you eat high-protein foods, your body works hard to break them down and metabolize the protein. This leads to a stronger and faster metabolism and a prolonged feeling of fullness. Protein also helps build and preserve muscle even when you're in a calorie deficit. The more lean mass you have, the higher your energy expenditure.
For optimum results, eat protein at every meal. Start your day with Greek yogurt, protein shakes, cottage cheese, eggs, and other protein-rich foods. This helps reduce your food intake over the day and kick-starts your metabolism.
Upgrade Your Morning Coffee
If you want to burn even more calories, just mix one or two tablespoons of coconut oil into your morning coffee. Despite its high fat content, this superfood lowers cholesterol levels and promotes weight loss.
These benefits are due to its high levels of MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides), which help reduce body fat and raise your metabolism. MCTs also curb hunger, balance your fat-burning hormones, and boost your energy. These fats go straight to your liver where they can be used for fuel.
How you prepare your food can make or break your progress. Fried foods, for instance, are higher in calories and trans fats. This cooking method increases their glycemic value and releases toxins that may cause cancer and cardiovascular problems.
One serving of deep-fried cod delivers about 17 grams of fat and 232 calories. The same amount of baked fish has only one gram of fat and 105 calories. Additionally, the fats in fried food raise your cholesterol levels, clog your arteries, and contribute to chronic diseases.
Steam, grill, bake, or roast your food. Avoid frying at all costs.
Go Heavy in the Gym
Like it or not, heavy lifting is a must. Whether you're looking to torch fat, build mass, or gain muscle definition, it’s always important to add more plates on the bar, otherwise, you'll hit a plateau.
Your body has a fantastic ability to adapt to exercise. Therefore, it needs to be constantly stimulated. This can be done by trying new exercises, lifting heavier weights, and changing workout variables like intensity and duration. If you do the same workouts over and over, your progress will stall.
Heavy lifting promotes muscle growth, which in turn, revs up your metabolism. It also burns fat and brings your hormones into balance while increasing muscle tone. Diet alone won't help you get a strong, lean body. Sure, you'll lose fat, but your muscles will look flat and saggy.
Increase the load by five to 10 pounds every two weeks or so. Experiment with new lifting techniques like drop sets, pyramid sets, supersets, partials, and full body circuits. The whole point is to keep your routine varied and challenge your muscles into growth.
Replace Cardio with HIIT
Minute per minute, high intensity interval training is more effective for fat loss than cardio. Plus, it doesn't cause fatigue or break down muscle tissues like aerobic training.
HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of rest. A typical session lasts only 10 to 15 minutes.
Cardio, on the other hand, raises cortisol and puts stress on your joints. Elevated cortisol levels lead to fat storage, muscle loss, lethargy, poor mental focus, and impaired immune function.
If you can't give up aerobic training, keep your sessions short. Finish your workout with 10-15 minutes of HIIT and another 10 minutes of steady state cardio. This approach results in faster weight loss and improved overall fitness.
These simple steps will get your body ready for swimsuit season in no time. Plus, they don’t require major lifestyle changes or fancy supplements.
Commit to regular exercise, clean up your diet, and limit stress. Hit the gym at least four times a week and train at high intensity. Load up on protein and healthy fats, cut back on carbs, and cook your own meals rather than eating out.
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