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How YOU Can Make the Change to a Healthy Lifestyle
by: Kathi MacNaughton
It's never too late to take steps towards a healthy lifestyle, even if you've had terrible health habits for many years. And it's never too late to enjoy the benefits either. If you live healthier, getting fit will be easier too.

Getting healthier CAN be a challege. But having a plan and finding the motivation can make a real difference. Like any change you decide to make in your life, the best approach is to just take it one step at a time. Start with small changes and move on from there.

The areas you should focus on when taking steps toward a healthy lifestyle include:

==> Be as active as you can & add exercise to your life. Most experts recommend that you get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, at least 3 to 5 days a week. (It's OK to split the 30 minutes into 3 10-minute segments if that's the only way you can fit it in, or tolerate it.)

==>Make healthy food choices. You can learn more about this at our Healthy Eating website. But in a nutshell, healthy eating means drinking lots of water, limiting your fat intake, and eating a balanced diet of 3 meals a day, plus between-meal healthy snacks.

==>Limit your alcohol intake. Experts believe there may be some health benefit from drinking a glass of red wine a day, but for the most part, men should drink no more than 2 alcohol drinks per day and women no more than 1 alcohol drink per day.

==>Stop smoking if you are a smoker. It is NEVER too late to enjoy the benefits of quitting smoking. It's a hard addiction to shake, but your body will love you for doing so.

==>Manage your stress. High levels of stress over a long period can wear on your body, mind, and spirit. Stress is inevitable in life, but it canóand shouldóbe managed and reduced to some extent.

==>Nourish your spirit. There are many ways to do this, and for each person it's different. Some people find that prayer and religion nourish their spirits. For others, it's being surrounded by friends and family. For me, it's enjoying nature in the wildnerness, especially in the mountains. Meditation can be uplifting as well. You need to explore and find what nourishes your spirit.

==>Get enough sleep and rest each day. It's not an old wive's tale that we need 8 hours of sound sleep a night. It's a necessity ... for good health. Studies show that we stay healthier, have more energy, and perform better at work when we are well-rested. Make sure you get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.

About the author:
Kathi MacNaughton is a registered nurse and consumer health writer. Visit her popular fitness site at:

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