45 Health Tips for 45 Years
|In 2023, as we return to a sense of normalcy and recover from a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, we enter a new era of health and wellness. During the last almost three years, as the pandemic raged on the community most impacted by the virus were the elderly and those with serious underlying health conditions. Moving forward, our takeaway is that a healthy lifestyle has never been more important. In celebration of our 45th Anniversary and this new era of health, we have pulled together our top 45 health tips. We will gradually share the tips over the next three Insiders to make them easier to digest. These 45 health tips should provide a strong foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Although so much has changed, we believe the principles established more than 50 years ago by Jack LaLanne, the Godfather of Fitness, are still true today: Exercise and food are medicine. We can choose to feed our bodies and minds with healthy medicine or choose destructive junk food. “Exercise is King, nutrition is Queen, put them together and you’ve got a Kingdom.” – Jack LaLanne.|
1. It’s important to take personal responsibility for your health by focusing on health and wellness instead of sickness and illness. Opt for prevention and lifestyle instead of medication and surgery.
2. Part of taking personal responsibility for your health is getting an annual physical. No one enjoys going to the doctor, but you can’t get or stay fit if you’re sick. Your yearly physical should include a basic blood panel to check your triglyceride, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
3. In addition to getting a yearly physical, we recommend taking an InBody body composition analysis to track your progress and determine your baseline health parameters. This will measure your body fat, lean muscle mass, blood pressure, and basal metabolic rate. Please see one of our coaches for the InBody test and watch this video for information on how to interpret your results.
4. Download the LVAC app to find out what LVAC offers including your BioAge (relative health age). We advise finding your BioAge as the final metric of your baseline health assessments before setting goals. See one of our Coaches to assist you with your BioAge assessment.
5. A crucial part of your fitness journey is setting goals. Once you have all your baseline health measurements, you can then determine how best to proceed. Set SMART Goals by asking yourself: Specifically, what do you want to achieve? How will you Measure it? Is it Attainable? Is it Realistic? What is the Timeframe I will achieve it?
6. Use every day as an opportunity to move in a meaningful way. Take a walk with the dogs, or use the stairs instead of the elevator. You can also add some weight to a backpack and walk with it to burn more calories.
7. Drink the recommended amount of water daily, 1 oz. per kilo of body weight (100 lbs. equates to about 45 kilos). The InBody assessment also measures hydration levels. Remember 1 glass of water is normally 8 ounces.
8. Get the recommended amount of sleep daily; 6-8 hours. This will significantly improve your metabolism and energy. Most people intuitively understand that getting enough sleep improves physical and mental performance and wellbeing.
9. The fitness journey is not a straight path. Prepare for setbacks! Just remember that success is determined by perseverance and attainable goals. The more you achieve your goals you will find this to be true… the journey is the destination!
10. Build a community or small group to achieve goals and keep a healthy mindset. Social support is critical for most people to achieve their goals. When times are tough, lean on your support team (family, friends, online, etc.) and celebrate the wins.
11.Don’t sacrifice strength training over cardio exercise. Longer life and the quality of life is the result of strength training and cardio.
12. As the Bible says- take time for rest and recovery. Yoga, meditation, prayer, breathing, sauna, whirlpool/jacuzzi, cold shower/pool, cryotherapy, or percussion therapy with a massage gun or a massage.
13. One of the cornerstones of LVAC’s Transform Program is the use of MyFitnessPal for food and exercise journaling. This tool is a great way to stay on course with your weight loss goals and track calories. MyFitnessPal hosts a wealth of health and nutritional tips that will keep you up-to-date and informed. Since MyFitnessPal links to the LVAC app, your Coach or personal trainer can also access all your vital information.
14. Get the recommended exercise per week: 150 minutes. Studies show that exercising 20-30 minutes per day can drastically lower your risk of heart disease and stroke — improving your life and enabling you to live better!
15. Visualize the win using mental imagery! It will be challenging, but think about what this process will look like, how you will win, and how good it will feel when you do! Look Better, Feel Better, Do Better…Live Better!
16. Minimize your intake of sugar, including processed foods with added sugars as it is a major inflammatory. Sugar intake should be limited to 10 percent or less of your total daily calories. Inflammation has been shown to cause pain and poor health. Everyone should be aware of what is in the food they eat, by reading the nutritional label closely.
17. Minimize your intake of processed foods: Processed foods are loaded with Omega 6 fats including linoleic acid, primarily in vegetable and seed oils, and too many Omega 6 fats can be very harmful to your health. Too much Omega 6 fats can cause inflammation, which along with sugars can cause major health issues. Overconsumption of Omega 6 fatty acids has been linked to a number of chronic diseases. Instead of vegetable or seed oils use olive oil or avocado oil for cooking, and limit eating out in restaurants which usually cook the food in vegetable oil. Most people are consuming one-third of their daily calories in the form of Omega 6 fats, and that should also be limited to 10% or less. Chicken and pork are also normally loaded with Omega 6 fats.
18. Maximize your consumption of whole foods, especially vegetables and fruits. If it comes from a plant eat it; if it is made in a plant avoid it.
19. Omega 3 fats/fish oil has been shown to be extremely heart-healthy. It’s important to consume the right balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, preferably a 2:1 ratio.
20. Alcohol and Smoking: Minimize your consumption of alcohol and eliminate smoking for a healthy lifestyle. The consumption of alcohol can also increase iron to unhealthy levels, and one recommendation would be to donate blood to lower iron in your body.
21. Vitamins and Probiotics: A daily multivitamin is a great way to make sure you get all the nutrients you need. Along with Omega- 3 fatty acids: Folic acid, or vitamin B9, reduced stroke risk, while CoQ10 decreased all-cause mortality events. Studies have shown that those people impacted with the more serious COVID side effects were vitamin D deficient. Probiotics: Gut health has been shown to be extremely important for your immune system. Keep your gut health with good bacteria, and try to avoid the bad bacteria which cause inflammation and major health issues.
22. Flexibility: Increase your flexibility to reduce pain, stiffness, and soreness and avoid injury, as well as improve blood flow and performance. Try a yoga class to improve flexibility.
23. Core strength: It’s important to remember to engage your core to reduce injury and improve performance. Core engagement is important when you are working out and in daily life. The core consists of multiple muscle groups including your abdominals, erector spinae, pelvic floor, and diaphragm. They all work together to protect your spine helping to prevent injury. There are many exercises for the core such as planks and hip mobility exercises. See a Coach or personal trainer for suggestions on the best ones to incorporate into your training.
24. Don’t overdo it especially if you have taken time off from your exercise program or just getting back into it after a long hiatus. If you rush back into it too quickly the chance of getting very sore is highly likely. It is best to use moderation and start off more slowly, to prevent excessive soreness and pain. Restraint is the better part of valor!
25. Motivation is key: Variety helps prevent boredom. Try group fitness classes including Team Training to mix things up, or maybe try some interval training (HIIT) to combine anaerobic, cardio, and strength training into your workout. Try out different pieces of cardio equipment, such as the Octane ZeroRunner, the Freemotion Incline Trainer, or the Technogym Skillmill (all three either are hybrid treadmills or simulate running on a treadmill). Try out more advanced free-weight equipment, such as the Smith Machine or the plate-loaded Hammer Strength machines. Try to find equipment or machines that are fun to use, as the enjoyment of the exercise will continue to motivate you.
26. Tone down technology: Studies have shown that spending too much time in front of a screen (tv, computer, or phone) can increase stress, especially before bedtime, and disturb your normal sleep cycle. While watching tv try doing planks or crunches, or other types of core work to improve hip mobility or lower back and abdominal strength. See the last installment of health tips and the importance of sleep. When you are in front of a computer screen try standing, which is recommended for your lower back and core.
27. Consider a membership that includes personal training or the services of a personal trainer. Personal training can help with setting realistic goals, maintaining motivation, and designing the best combination of exercise and nutrition to maximize your workouts and goals.
28. Posture… Poise… Perception: Physical activity and especially strength training improves posture. Men and women who have an athletic physique generally have great posture and are perceived differently as far as overall poise and in a positive light.
29. Positivity/Negativity: Studies have shown those people who get the recommended amount of exercise per week (see last week’s health tips) have a more positive outlook on life. Exercise decreases stress levels, which leads to a more positive lifestyle. We should try and feed our minds with positive thoughts and minimize the negative thoughts, by limiting social media or other stressful information we allow into our brain. The seven-time Mr. Olympia and former Governator of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, recently shared his tips for smashing New Year goals. “Negativity freezes you. It makes you depressed about where you are instead of excited about where you can go.”
30. Stress: A little bit of stress is fine, in fact, you need to stress your muscles so they grow, but chronic stress can take dangerous tolls on your body. Too much stress is very negative and leads to depression and mental health issues. Heart attacks and emotional eating disorders are just a couple of ways stress can manifest itself in our lives. Pay close attention to your stress levels and realize if you need to take a break to recharge (vacations are always helpful)! Nature is also a powerful source of meditation, allowing us to destress from our busy lives. Nature’s beauty has to be one of the best ways to heal, from the damage caused by too much stress. Cortisol is the stress hormone, and it plays a major role in metabolism. Cortisol is released when we are under stress, but when cortisol levels are constantly high due to chronic stress it can cause a host of different health problems including raising blood sugar too high resulting in type 2 diabetes.
31. Education- going along with the first Health Tip of taking personal responsibility, is the ongoing process of continued education in search of prevention and lifestyle choices. One area of recommended study would be functional medicine, which focuses on the cause of sickness and disease, while medication and drugs typically focus on the symptoms. Functional medicine specializes in nutritional science since food is medicine. Functional medicine also focuses on genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors for a holistic approach to medicine. One of the earliest practitioners was the Godfather of Fitness, Jack LaLanne, with his “exercise is King, nutrition is Queen, put them together a you’ve got a Kingdom”. Today, Dr. Mark Hyman is one of the leading authorities in the area of Functional Medicine.
32. Know your MACROS- Macros are short for Macronutrients. There are three macros when it comes to food; protein, fat and carbohydrates. In terms of calorie density per macro, protein and carbohydrates supply 4 calories per gram, while fat on the other hand supplies 9 calories per gram. There is a myth around the more fat you eat the more calories you consume, since the more protein and carbohydrates you eat you also consume more calories. Another way to look at calorie counting involves how many calories you are consuming of each macro. Modern day science tells us why “a calorie isn’t just a calorie” when it comes to counting calories and weight loss. Today- common knowledge tells us that it is not about eating less but it’s about eating better. In the past while the obesity epidemic exploded people were being told to eat 50% or more of their diet in the form of carbohydrates, and a lower percentage of dietary fats. But that has changed to minimizing certain types of fats like Omega-6. See the last installment of the health tips about minimizing Omega-6 fats. Now- the recommendation is for equal parts of protein and carbohydrates, with 30% of your daily caloric intake coming from fat.
33. TRY: TRE- Going along with the strategy of eating better is intermittent fasting. Try- Time restricted eating (“TRE”) where you eat in a 6-8 hour window between your first meal and your last meal of the day. Time restricted eating has age reversing benefits. “Turn back the hands of time”!
34. FIND: FUN- find something you enjoy. Being healthy doesn’t have to be hard or feel like a chore. Find an activity you actually enjoy doing, you’ll be intrinsically motivated to stick with it. Find a meal plan you actually like eating, you don’t have to force feed yourself kale or broccoli to be healthy. Find a group you like being with, you’ll all keep each other motivated and accountable.
35. DETOX- we all know processed foods can be harmful, or at least the seventeenth Health Tip describes this, you might want to consider an elimination diet or cleanse protocol to reduce excess levels of foods known to cause inflammation. The elimination of certain foods to reduce excess levels of gluten, sodium, sugar and dairy to name just a few of the well known culprits. After a few days to a couple of weeks you should start feeling lighter, less bloated, cleaner, and better than ever.
36. Don’t overlook the PPIT- the psoas, piriformis and illiotibial band. Since most of us spend most of our days sitting the PPIT structures can be held in a constantly tightened state resulting in pain, reduced flexibility, and increasing our risk of injury. Foam rolling is a fabulous way to relieve these body parts, as well as many different types of hip mobility exercises and stretches.
37. Did you know you can change your hormonal state with a thought? Studies show our mind can not tell the difference between something we vividly imagine or something we actually experience. So just thinking of a stressful situation raises your cortisol level. Conversely, focusing your mind on moments and people fills your heart, mind and bloodstream with “feel good hormones” like dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine and serotonin decrease stress, increase motivation and elevates your mood… all with a thought. When there is too much stress it raises cortisol to higher levels and causes inflammation in the gut, and triggers inflammation throughout the whole body. Processed foods and alcohol decrease testosterone, and strength training with heavier weights especially compound movements such as squats and deadlifts increases free testosterone.
38. Another valuable health assessment of your overall fitness level is called VO2 Max. Your VO2 Max shows how well your heart pushes blood to your muscles when you are exercising, and how efficiently your muscles are able to utilize the oxygen from your blood. As you breathe in oxygen, it powers a metabolic reaction within your muscle cells that gives your muscles energy called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Having a higher VO2 Max typically means you’re in better cardiovascular shape, and you can also increase your VO2 Max by losing body fat. While VO2 Max tends to decrease with age, and body fat tends to increase with age, healthy exercise and eating can certainly minimize the trend.
39. Get the family involved- whether it is cooking a healthy meal, or some activity like going to the gym, getting the family involved will build and strengthen family bonds. Getting the family involved will also make memories, and get everyone aligned on a healthy lifestyle. Your children can now go to LVAC and workout with you starting at 12 years old!
40. Go to the dentist- bad dental hygiene has been linked to health complications throughout your body. Get to the dentist regularly, preferably twice a year, as the trip to the dentist is also part of personal responsibility.
41. Go to the dermatologist- the health of your skin, and protecting your skin from too much sun exposure, is critical for continued good health. The Vitamin D that comes from the sun is very important, but too much sun exposure has been linked to skin cancer.
42. RUN- Avoid toxic people. Negativity is contagious and if there are negative or harmful people in your life, RUN as fast as you can in the other direction. They will contaminate your mindset, bring down your mood, and stress you OUT!
43. Laughter is the best medicine-it releases endorphins which reduce stress, relaxes your body, reduces pain and boosts your mood. It also boosts your immune system and strengthens your heart. As we mentioned at the beginning of the first installment of health tips, exercise and food are medicine, and the best medicine is laughter.
44. Gratitude is like laughter- it is very hard to be negative when you are expressing gratitude. Gratitude is a positive feeling of being thankful and appreciative, and has been linked to several mental and physical health benefits. When you are feeling grateful for something or someone in your life you generally respond with feelings of kindness, warmth and generosity.
45. Encourage someone else- take someone under your wing and help them to lose weight/bodyfat, get stronger and build lean muscle mass, and to be healthier. Mentor someone towards a healthy lifestyle.
Bonus Health Tips
46. Metabolic flexibility- allows for improved energy efficiency, including supporting optimal glucose regulation, and preventing insulin resistance. If your glucose levels are too high, the cells that make insulin in your pancreas become dysfunctional. Eventually, higher levels of glucose can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and minimizing the intake of sugar and processed foods leads to metabolic flexibility. There are other long term effects of insulin resistance such as your body’s inability to use its fat stores (burn fat) leading to obesity. Furthermore- insulin resistance can alter the mass, structure, and function of the mitochondria in your cells.
47. 30,000,000,000,000 (30 trillion)-that’s how many cells you have in your body. Mitochondria are the powerhouse of your cells. They are the powerhouse of the cell because they make a majority of the ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is a molecule the cells use as a source of energy. Mitochondria use oxygen to break down glucose-derived products into carbon dioxide and ATP. But when the mitochondria are malfunctioning due to insulin resistance, creating higher glucose levels, they produce too many free radicals. This oxidative process can lead to illnesses including cardiovascular disease, cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, and diabetes.
48. It’s your third place- after work and home, the gym is a healthy place to connect with like-minded people. It’s a social place to help alleviate isolation and loneliness, and we all know after COVID that we are better together. We are all aware that loneliness and isolation can lead to depression, anxiety and mental illness. The gym should be your happy place, where people come together in a fun and enjoyable environment to pursue the common purpose of a healthy lifestyle.
49. Mental health- nearly 20% of us live with a mental illness. That means that most of us will either personally deal with mental illness, or know someone whether they are family, friend or associate feeling the effects of anxiety and depression. Most of us know that exercise can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety as well as boost a person’s mood. There is also evidence that people who exercise at least moderately have significantly higher happiness and life satisfaction compared to the less physically active. However, when mental illness becomes overwhelming please seek the help of a professional. We will all, unfortunately at some point, know of someone who is very physically fit but has a life-threatening mental illness. Love thy neighbor- and help them find someone before it’s too late.
50. As the Bible says- love thy neighbor. This year we witnessed helping your neighbor in early January when Damar Hamlin fell to the ground on a football field, after experiencing a cardiac arrest. Trainers rushed to his aid and administered CPR. Be prepared to help your neighbor by being ready to do CPR or use the AED device, because you could be faced with a similar life-or-death circumstance.
51. Don’t compare yourself with others- everyone’s situation is different. Social media has made it very easy to feel inadequate and very self conscious about apparent shortcomings. DON’T BUY INTO IT! All you can do is the best you can do every day. If you’re doing that then give yourself a pat on the back, rather than punishing yourself by comparing your real life to someone else’s perfectly filtered digital life. Remember the words of Rudy Smith- “There is no such thing as staying the same. You are either striving to make yourself better or allowing yourself to get worse”.
52. Park at a distance- don’t fight over the closest parking spot, park further away and get some extra steps in through your day. If you are fighting for that closest spot you will make yourself all stressed out, before you even enter the gym.
53. Martial arts is a fabulous way to get the benefits of exercise without feeling like you’re exercising. Boxing and kickboxing classes can also be fun, and take your mind off the exercise. Plus you’ll get quite a boost of confidence and stress relief at the same time. Swimming is also a total body workout, and may feel a lot less like exercising for some people.
54. Box breathing- a simple breathing exercise shown to help with stress, emotions and hunger. Inhale for 3 seconds, hold your breath for 3 seconds, and exhale for 3 seconds. Wait for 3 seconds before you inhale again. You can repeat this pattern for 5-10 minutes . Once you feel like you’ve mastered this breathing pattern try and increase the time from 3 seconds to 4 seconds, and then onto 5 and so on.
55. Be realistic- having a positive mindset is incredibly important, but don’t be unrealistic. For example, setting a goal of exercising everyday at 5 am when you haven’t got out of bed before 7 am for 5 years might not be a realistic goal. And failing to even reach unrealistic goals can put a damper on motivation and your mood, and be the start of a devastating downward spiral.
56. Plan ahead and make it easy- if your plan is to hit the gym or go on a walk every morning as soon as you wake up take steps the night before to ensure that happens. For example, you could layout your clothes, shoes and water bottle the night before, or pack your workout bag the night before. So as soon as you wake up get yourself dressed or grab your workout bag and you’re out the door. Or another example, if you want to try and not eat processed foods or go out to eat at a restaurant, the night before make all of your food for the following day.
57. Have a back up plan- if you fail to reach a goal or a certain milestone, don’t beat yourself up, just activate your contingency plan. Remember- the fitness journey is not a straight path, so prepare for setbacks.
58. Generosity and Gratitude- these two are tied together. Be generous- studies show that it is truly better to give than receive. People who tithe, donate, and/or volunteer their time have better self esteem and a better self image than those who do not. Be generous with your time by helping other people. Love thy neighbor and pay it forward! Generosity is associated with an abundance, and most people who are given an abundance of something are grateful for their blessings.
59. Alzheimers and Dementia- regular physical activity benefits the brain. Studies show that people who are more physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their mental function and have a lowered risk of developing Alzherimer’s disease or dementia. The same is true with the foods we eat and the affect on an aging brain’s ability to think and remember.
60. Alternative medicine- if exercise and food are medicine, and laughter is the best medicine, then alternative medicine is another integral part of optimal health. Regenerative or precision medicine is another class of alternative medicine, including stem cell therapy, NAD supplementation, IV Therapy, platelet-rich plasma PRP therapy, sauna/ice baths, breathing exercises, neuro-linguistic programming NLP, as well as breakthroughs in the treatment of clinical depression. The more traditional forms of alternative medicine are acupuncture, chiropractic care and physical therapy. And of course Functional medicine can be grouped together with Alternative medicine.