To be honest, this fact escaped my knowledge until recently, when my 13-year-old cousin was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. This motivated me to do some research on how better eating and exercising habits could ward off diabetes for the rest of my family.
Every January, my gym swells with new members determined to keep their New Year’s resolutions. I even see some old faces that I haven’t seen for roughly a year, returning to presumably join the resolution craze. The fight to secure a parking space doesn’t bother me because I know that come March, I’ll be able to park right by the front door.
All joking aside, the nation’s growing obesity epidemic has nothing to do with age, gender or race.
Determined to join the battle against Type 2 Diabetes, here are some great nutrition and fitness tips that I am using with my family this spring.
1. Eat your veggies!
Vegetables are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals while containing miniscule amounts of carbohydrates and sugars. Salads and smoothies are a great way to sneak in some greens.
2. Kick the can!
Sodas are loaded with calories, sugar and chemicals. Don’t be fooled into thinking diet sodas are better with their artificial sweeteners and toxic chemicals.
3. Eat more (lean) meat!
Protein is essential to developing lean muscle mass, which burns far more calories than fat mass. Protein can be found in sources such as fish, lean meats, poultry, nuts and dairy products.
4. Satisfy your sweet tooth!
Yes, you read that right! Reach for fruit when you are craving sweets. The natural sugars won’t spike your insulin levels and you also get more vitamins while satisfying that craving for something sweet and tasty.
Try this recipe for a great smoothie:
1 cup almond milk or plain yogurt
½ cup berries
¼ cup frozen vegetables, such as spinach or kale
Blend all ingredients into desired texture and consistency. Enjoy!
1. Make fitness fun!
Find ways to stay active with your family. Walks and bike rides are great opportunities to get outdoors and play together.
2. Start lifting!
Muscle is leaner than fat and also burns far more calories. Aim to get in 2 – 3 strength training sessions per week. Even the youngest members of your family can begin resistance training through safe exercises, such as lifting household items and using resistance bands.
3. Utilize commercial breaks!
Instead of tolerating commercials, use that time to do some jumping jacks, lunges or even yoga. Doctors from Syracuse’s Orthopedic Center describe how yoga, an activity that can be tailored to each person’s level and time-frame, increases bone health, joint health, posture, balance, flexibility and even stress and emotional health!
4. Get Your Groove On!
Turn up the tunes and dance with your kids. You’ll blast away calories and not even know you’re exercising.
Carolyn Fallon is a 20-something-year-old guest blogger with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog here.