Team Lean Challenge: HAWC provides healthy living tips

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Aggie Regidor
  • Health and Wellness Center
Team Lean Challenge gives us an opportunity to live healthy by losing weight and building camaraderie with our teammates. There are many ways to help us lose weight, or just live healthy. 

The Health and Wellness Center offers various programs aimed at promoting weight loss. These include healthy-living workshops, the body composition improvement program, healthy cooking demonstrations, label reading at the Commissary, and cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension classes. 

Health is the most important asset we have. You can make a stand and try incorporating the following health tips into your everyday life, and see if they make a difference to your total health. Here are a few tips. 

Avoid smoking. One of the main reasons why people decide not to give up smoking, and sadly, the reason why some people take it up is the effect smoking supposedly has on your weight gain or loss. Smoking has been associated with an increase in metabolism. It contains nicotine -- a dangerous, addictive drug. Surely, the tiny effect it has on your metabolism is outweighed by the huge risk of dying from lung cancer. 

Take in more water. You can live three weeks without food, however, you can only live for three days without fluid. Your body is anywhere between 60 and 70 percent fluid. Fluids help keep every system of your body in good working order including all metabolic processes. Fluids also ensure that you can move well and be active. If you start to dehydrate, your body's ability to do basic activities or exercise effectively will be reduced. 

Eat a variety of foods. To protect yourself from majority of illnesses such as heart disease and cancer, you need a variety of foods that deliver that mix of nutrients and minerals. Aim to eat different colored fruits and vegetables. Try to eat a different food each month. 

Relax for 20 minutes a day. Relaxing for at least 20 minutes a day will go a long way to reduce blood pressure and your reactions to stress. Sit or lie somewhere comfortable. Breathe slowly in and out of the nostrils, breathing deeply into your abdomen. Listen to your favorite music and relax. Relaxing reduces stress. The HAWC has a relaxation room people can go to if they need to stress relief. It will surely make a difference in your stress level. 

Floss every day. Flossing your teeth every day is the best way to prevent gum disease and protect your heart. Gum disease, left untreated, can lead to inflammatory reactions in the body that can trigger heart disease and stroke. 

Tea instead of coffee. Try drinking tea instead of coffee to help protect your body from damaging effects of free radicals. Tea is a rich source of antioxidants that play a big role in protecting against some cancers and cardiovascular disease. 

Get active. Aerobic activity not only burns calories but also increases your metabolism for several hours after a workout. Performing aerobic exercises for as little as 30 minutes a day, three to five days a week, will make a big difference. Extra movement throughout the day is also essential. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, lose the remote and move at every opportunity you can. 

Get more sleep. Lack of sleep changes your hormone levels and capacity to metabolize carbohydrates. So less sleep equals slower metabolism. Studies have revealed that deep sleep causes cell repair and cell growth, which will speed up the metabolism and burn calories. So, aim to get at least eight hours sleep each night. 

Eat more protein and boost your energy levels. Protein stimulates the major brain chemical dopamine, which keeps us alert. Try eating chicken or tuna salads for lunch. Go for complex carbohydrates, rather than white flour and sugar, as they will provide a sustained energy source as opposed to a quick hit. Another reason to leave simple carbohydrates out of the diet is that they have a negative effect on your skin and how it ages. The more sugar that is in the body, the more you force a chemical reaction causing sugars to attach to proteins and this is very detrimental to your skin. 

These are just some simple tips the HAWC has for you. Go ahead and introduce these tips into your everyday life, and you will surely reap the benefits as you go forward. 

For more information about healthy living, call the Health and Wellness Center at 275-HAWC.