Nutrition. Eat five servings of vegetables to stock up on powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to ward off disease, minimize signs of aging and ensure a healthy lifestyle. Many of the physiological reactions in the body, including those that contribute to smooth, clear skin, are dependent upon a sufficient supply of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A balanced diet is essential to ensure your body is not missing any vital nutrients.
If you hate vegetables, don’t think you can simply scarf down fruit in its place. As you have learned in the previous blog post, A Spoonful of Sugar: The Sweet Taste of an Untimely Death, sugar can destroy your health. Not only does it contribute to diseases like metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cancer, but sugar causes cross-linking of collagen, which leads to reduced elasticity in the skin – think, sagging and wrinkles.
Fitness. Move it or lose it – your muscle tone and slim physique cannot be maintained without regular physical activity. Cardiovascular exercise pumps up endorphins that give you a beautiful glow and all that sweating flushes nasty toxins out. Many women shy away from resistance training, but this form of exercise is crucial for maintaining bone density and slim, toned appearance. You don’t have to toss around heavy weights to reap these benefits – Yoga and Pilates, which classically use your own body weight, are equally effective as traditional dumbbells and weight machines.
Sleep. Within the last year, researchers have uncovered multiple bodies of evidence that sleep – quality and quantity – is imperative to multiple aspects of your health. Sleep is as vital to a healthy lifestyle as a balanced nutrition and routine exercise.
A 2011 study linked poor quality sleep to the development of type 2 diabetes. In this study, researchers found that low quality sleep increases insulin resistance by as much as 82 percent. A May 2012 study (discussed in detail in Sleep More to Weight Less?), found that too little sleep –less than 7.5 hours – exacerbates genetic influences linked to weight gain and obesity. According to this study and the National Sleep Foundation, you should achieve 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night – and that’s actual time sleeping, not just lying in the bed.
Experts recommend developing a bedtime routine that allows you to wind down, as much as three hours prior to bed. Turn down lights, including bright TV screens, computers and iPads and smartphones.
On paper, it is a simple formula for success, but in reality, it takes hard work, discipline, organization and a never-give-up attitude. Knowledge is power, but it becomes truly powerful when you put it into action – you can do it!