Health shake-up

Health shake-up
10 easy changes to becoming your healthiest this year

1. Kick the cola habit
A recent study from Boston’s Tufts University revealed a link between daily cola consumption and lower bone-mineral density in women. Although the cola drinkers did not drink less milk, the women who drank the most cola had the lowest calcium intake. Cola contains phosphoric acid, which both impairs calcium absorption and increases its excretion. Besides, your daily fizzy fix is packed with empty calories your body won’t miss.

2. Get grounded
Last time you got grounded was more than a decade ago, but consider grounding yourself — that would be an exercise done from a standing position, on both feet or just one foot for extra exertion. This will activate your spinal stabilizers and add more stimulus to your muscles, says registered kinesiologist Rob Williams, president of Vancouver’s Mixx Co-Fitness Studio. So get your tush off the bench and balance on one foot as you do bicep curls, for example.

3. Stand tall
Your mama knew what she was talking about when she used to nag you about your slouch. Besides reducing headaches and spinal pain, improving your neutral alignment can make you look like you’ve lost weight, says Williams. Have a gal pal snap a full-length profile shot of you so you can see your current stance. Then, to get a feel for what a healthy posture feels like, stand with your heels six inches from a wall, with your butt, shoulder blades and the back of your head touching the wall, eyes level with the horizon.


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4. Eat up
Feast on the Mediterranean diet to your heart’s — and brain’s — content. Chock-full of veggies, fruit, fish, legumes and “good” fats such as olive oil, this diet is flavourful and fantastic for lowering high blood pressure. Now, new findings from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City reveal that it may also cut the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, possibly due to its antioxidant or anti-inflammatory effects.

5. Shake it up
Is your workout as stagnant as the TomKat tabloid coverage? If you’ve reached a plateau in your regime, boost your cardio-workout time by 50 percent, suggests Williams. “You’ll definitely see the change in your body in a few months.”

6. Don’t miss your teatime.
Rich in antioxidants, caffeinated tea is also a potent source of flavonoids (kaempferol, in particular), which help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 38 percent, according to Harvard School of Public Health researchers in Boston.


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7. Go fish
Make omega-3-packed fish, such as wild salmon, a regular menu choice and reward yourself with the many benefits of eating these fatty acids, including glowing skin, a positive mental outlook and, as recently discovered by a team of Swedish researchers, possible reduced risk of the most common kind of kidney cancer.

8. Mini meals
Ramp up your metabolism by switching to eating five small meals a day and doing 30 minutes of weight training three times a week. “This will stimulate your body’s lean muscles, which will burn calories and kick up your metabolism,” says Williams.

9. Banish your belly
Whip that belly fat into submission with diet and exercise. Researchers have discovered that this combination, versus dieting alone, is especially helpful in reducing fat cells in the abdominal area. The study from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., revealed that belly-fat size in particular may have a different response to a diet-and-exercise combo and that exercise itself may be a key factor in the body’s distribution of fat.

10. Multi-task
Sure, you can watch CSI: NY while on the treadmill, but a better multitasking move would be to convert to compound exercises, such as doing a stationary lunge as you complete dumbbell curls, working out two muscle groups in the same amount of time, says Williams.


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