Photo by Ms. Phoenix (Flickr) Cardiovascular exercise is so important to get your body back on track after the holidays.

 

The holidays are filled with spending time with family and friends, parties, gifts, and food. It's a busy season, and some folks find it hard to squeeze in their regular gym time or eat a healthy meal while skipping all of the holiday goodies. Once the season is over, it's time to get back on track with your healthy lifestyle. I find it necessary to simply start fresh after the holidays and get my body back to what it's used to, and that's a healthy (or healthier than during the holidays) lifestyle.

Water

You've probably had your fair share of cocktails and soft drinks over the past six weeks, so it's time to start giving your body what it's thirsty for. Water is the only drink that will truly quench your thirst and completely rehydrate you. There are so many benefits that go hand in hand with drinking eight glasses of water a day. Water helps keep your daily intake of calories down, it helps with your muscle function, it helps to clear the kidneys of toxins, it helps with bowel function, and it also keeps your skin looking clear.

Cardio

It is best to get cardiovascular exercise at least three to five days every week in order to burn calories. If that is difficult, try to do at least an hour and 15 minutes over three days. This exercise can be moderate- to high-intensity. If you are just starting out getting a bit of cardio every day, start with some lower- to moderate-intensity exercises. Moderate-intensity cardio can include walking (a 130-pound person can burn 500 calories per hour), cycling (430 calories per hour), jogging (680 calories per hour), low-impact aerobics (300 calories per hour), jumping rope (490 calories per hour), rowing (450 calories per hour), swimming (480 calories per hour), and cross-country skiing (450 calories per hour). Higher-intensity cardio exercise includes sprinting intervals (800 calories per hour), burpees (600 calories per hour), biking or running hills (850 calories per hour), kettle bell training (600 calories per hour), or rock-climbing (700 calories per hour).

Healthy Foods

There are just as many foods to stay away from as foods to incorporate into your newly healthy lifestyle. It is vital to concentrate on eating healthy proteins such as lean meats, white-meat poultry, beans, and nuts. Also, try to eat fresh and colorful vegetables and fruits with each meal. Cut down on the amount of sugar you consume, as sugar will add empty calories to your diet. Bulk up on fiber early in the day in order to aid with digestion and to help keep you feeling full. Whole grains contain more fiber, while "white" foods (white rice, white bread, etc.) don't give you any added benefits and are empty calories. Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts are better than unhealthy or trans fats. Concentrate on calcium, which will benefit your body, and stay away from salt. Use other seasonings that will help with the taste of your food while not being a health risk.

[caption id="attachment_1020" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Photo by Arya Ziai (Flickr) Healthy proteins along with fresh fruits and vegetables are the foods that will help get you fit and healthy. Photo by Arya Ziai (Flickr) Healthy proteins along with fresh fruits and vegetables are the foods that will help get you fit and healthy.[/caption]

 

Superfoods

There are certain foods to keep nearby at all times in order to shed those unwanted holiday pounds. Superfoods contain substances that help to make your body stronger and healthier. Superfoods that contain protein include black beans, salmon, grapefruit, almonds, eggs, and quinoa. Superfoods that contain fiber are oats, broccoli, brown rice, pears, and oranges. Superfoods containing antioxidants include greet tea, wine, blueberries, and kale. These foods should be eaten as frequently as possible in order to benefit your body.