How to start living a healthier lifestyle

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We all want to live a healthier lifestyle, but how? Trisha Calvo of Shape Magazine has advice that will keep you moving in the right direction.

How to start living a healthier lifestyle
  • Fill half your plate with fruits or vegetables at every meal. This visual guide will help you increase your intake of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals that will protect you against cancer, heart disease and other health problems.
  • Get tested! Call your doctors to set up screening tests over the next few months, like a skin check for skin cancer, a mammogram to screen for breast cancer, cholesterol and blood pressure tests to check your heart health and a pap smear to test for cervical cancer. With regular screening, you have a better chance of catching abnormalities before they become problems.
  • Schedule down time. More and more, studies are showing that stress plays a role in everything from fatigue, to heart disease, to depression. Vow to carve out at least 15 minutes a day to relax—whether you simply read a novel or pursue a hobby—and once or twice a week make a longer date with yourself to do something you love.
  • Walk more. Daily exercise is one of the best ways to fight heart disease, cancer, obesity and even depression. A 30 minute walk a day will do it. You don’t have to do it all at once, 10 minutes three times a day is good, too. So if you’ve got to go somewhere that’s one or two subway or bus stops away, walk instead.
Transcript JENNIFER:  I’m Jennifer Morris for howdini we’d all like to live a healthier lifestyle, right. Whether that means getting more exercise, or kicking a nasty habit, or losing weight. But how do you get started, what do you do? We’re back here with Trisha Calvo, executive editor of Shape Magazine with some more helpful hints. Hi.

TRISHA:  Hi.

JENNIFER:  How are you?

TRISHA:  Good.

JENNIFER:  So you have a half plate rule, can you tell me about what that is?

TRISHA:  Yes. I think for health or weight loss one of the most important things you can do is fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal. What that odes is help keep your calories under control. And it also ensures that you are getting plenty of fiber, photochemicals, vitamins, and minerals in your diet. Which help control all your risk factors for diseases like heart disease, cancer, and it can even keep your skin looking wrinkle free and smooth and glowing.

JENNIFER:  So what about the medical piece, a lot of people don’t go to the doctor enough, or they make appointments and they break it. What do you think about that?

TRISHA:  I think that, pick a day, whether it’s your birthday, and I think that’s a great day to sort of take stock of their health. Your year older, and I think what you can do is sit down and you can say, ok, this week I’m going to make all of my doctors appointments. I’m going to schedule a screening with the dermatologist for my skin cancer check-up. I’m going to get a mammogram if I’m a woman. I’m going to schedule my gynecology appointment so I can get my Pap Smear and check-up. I’m going to schedule my physical, now you obviously don’t have to go to the doctor on that week. Take an hour one day, and you just sit down and make all the appointments over the next couple of months, you’ll have it in your calendar. And you will make sure you are getting the preventative care that you need to catch a problem before it becomes a real problem.

JENNIFER:  And lastly what about down time, we live such busy lives it’s hard to find down time?

TRISHA:  We are so busy and stress increasingly researchers shown that stress has become a factor in a lot of diseases. Everything from catching a cold, to developing cancer, to developing heart disease, and even depression. So it’s very important to take time for yourself during the day. It can be anything that you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be, oh I need to get a massage, I need to officially relax. It could just be I love my dog. I’m going to play with my dog for ten minutes; I’m going to make that my coming home ritual. Or, I love historical fiction; I’m just going to carve out fifteen minutes a day to read something that I really enjoy. I personally, I am not happy if I am not reading a novel that I’m really engrossed in. And I just make sure that I have one in my bag at all times. And whenever I have a couple of minutes I pull it open and it makes me happy. And it relieves the stress. And I think that everyone has something special like that that they-

JENNIFER:  I mean its nice to think of it in small increments because I think we get overwhelmed looking at the whole picture when there are small things that you can do throughout the day. So what about exercise is-

TRISHA:  Walking is one of the best exercises and you can do it anywhere, and it’s easy to do. You don’t have to be a super athlete to be able to do it. Ten minutes, just take ten minutes.

JENNIFER:  How many calories do you burn in ten minutes?

TRISHA:  A hundred forty-five pound woman walking briskly will be about a hundred.

JENNIFER:  Amazing.

TRISHA:  Though you got to kick it up a little bit to burn that many but brisk walking is great for your heart. Even slow walking is good for you, its good for your health, its good for your weight control. You know, obviously the more you can walk; you can take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to appointments, get off, park your car a little further away from the entrance to your office, the mall. Walk, even those little things during the day add up.

JENNIFER:  Thanks, more great advice from Trisha Calvo, executive editor of Shape Magazine. I’m Jennifer Morris for howdini.
meet theexpert
  • Trisha Calvo

    Trisha Calvo Executive Editor, Shape Magazine Trisha Calvo has been a health and nutrition editor for more than 15 years, joining Shape in 2005 as deputy editor for health and nutrition and became the executive editor in 2006. more about this expert »

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