The key to living a long, healthy, and happy life is taking care of both the mind and the body. Understanding that the foods we put into our bodies will either reverse aging or cause rapid progression of it breaking down is critical to looking and feeling good. But the most viable piece of advice that we can take in order to live a happier life is to exercise! This isn’t just for the body, but also for the mind. Studies show that exercise can greatly improve your circulation, which in turn raises your oxygen levels. It also helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, high cholesterol, and coronary diseases.

On top of the health benefits, you will also feel better both physically and mentally. If you’re trying to lose weight, then consume [healthy] calories in moderation, drink plenty of water to flush out toxins s well as regulate your digestive system and perform moderate exercises. Moderate exercises consist of walking briskly around your favorite park or just becoming active when interacting with your children.  On the other hand, if you’re perfectly content with your weight but you don’t want to regain any of the weight that was lost previously, there are a few things that you can incorporate into your busy schedule to maintain that weight.

1. Drinking plenty of water. Water is the essential element in not only keeping the body properly hydrated, but also regulating the digestive system. A little-known fact is that if the digestive system is “irregular”, there will be a buildup in the digestive tract. This leads to the body storing unnecessary fats and losing weight will be just that much harder. Drinking 8 glasses of 8-ounce glasses of water a day is a necessity for maintaining and losing weight.

2. Properly feeding the body. Your body is like a machine: it requires fuel in order to properly function. This means ditching the bag of potato chips because they’re convenient and cooking meals that are low sodium, low carb. Incorporating super-foods like avocados and spinach into the diet allows the body to detoxify itself. Limiting the intake of artificial sweeteners, choosing leaner meats such as organic chicken breast and ground turkey, as well as incorporating super-foods such as lentils, avocados and spinach into your diet gives your body a break from trying to over process the “junk” ingested.

3. Interchanging between moderate and vigorous exercises. Studies show that exercising 75 minutes (or 1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (or 2 hours and 30 minutes) a minimum of two days a week helps the body maintain a healthy weight. Interchanging between moderate and vigorous “confuses” the body, which allows the body to burn more calories while keeping on lean muscle.

Moderate exercises consist of:

  • Walking briskly for 15 minutes (3.5mph)
  • Actively playing with children
  • Biking at a casual pace (less than 10mph)
  • Hiking
  • Dancing
  • Golf
  • Weightlifting (light weights)

Vigorous exercises consist of:

  • Jogging/running (5mph)
  • Swimming
  • Rollerblading
  • Competitive sports (football, basketball, soccer, etc.)
  • Jumping rope
  • Cycling (greater than 10mph)
  • Aerobics
  • Heavy weightlifting
  • Hit workouts: 20 to 30 minutes of working out with each form of working out lasting approximately 1 minute (i.e. lunges for 1 minute, jumping jacks for 1 minute, crunches for 1 minute, etc.)

As mentioned, living a healthier and longer life means taking care of both the body and the mind. Without the proper cognitive functions, the body does not function properly. Regularly exercising improves memory retention, relieves stress, improves sleep, and has been known to boost confidence and mood. When there is proper rest, the mind can focus on the tasks ahead. Consider incorporating “brain” foods such as blueberries, dark chocolate, walnuts, avocados, and kale into your diet. These foods improve memory retention as well as the overall cognitive function and fights neurodegenerative diseases.