With the summer season upon us, all anyone seems to want to do these days is transform their curvy figures and “dad bods” into swimsuit-ready physiques. For many, that includes exercising to excess and loading up on fruits and veggies. But while there may be a ton of supposedly healthy lifestyle changes out there to help you get yourself on track, many of the healthy things that you may be going out of your way to do are not in fact good for you. Here are just a few of those things that you might think are pushing your health forward but that are actually worth nixing.
Running at a Steady Pace on the Treadmill
One major step in getting that summer bod is hitting the gym and getting at least 30 minutes of cardio in a day. Most people go to the gym and stick to only one machine, like the elliptical or the StairMaster, and then throw in a few ab and glute workouts to top it all off. However, that isn’t the most efficient way to burn calories. Instead of just going at a steady pace on the treadmill or the machine of your choice, try mixing in a high intensity interval workout. For example, start with a light jog to warm your muscles and your legs up. Then work in the intervals, sprinting for 20 seconds and allowing yourself the rest of the minute (40 seconds) to recover. This form of exercising helps strengthen the most important muscle in the body, your heart, as well as keeps your blood sugar in control. Plus, you’ll actually burn more fat in less time when you use the treadmill this way than you would if you were going at the same pace.
Forcing Yourself to Sit Up Straight
We have always been told that bad posture leads to back pain and other health problems. But forcing yourself to be in a position where you are continuously sitting straight up can cause strain on your back muscles and inevitably, gives you more back pain than you originally started with. The best way to alleviate back pain without forcing yourself to sit in a certain position, especially if you have a 9 to 5 job every day, would be to make sure the height of your chair is just right so that your knees are at a 90-degree angle and you are able to keep your feet flat on the ground at all times. That way, you’ll end up sitting properly naturally without having to think too much about fixing your posture all the time.
Eating a Low-Fat Diet
It’s nearly impossible to completely cut fats from your diet – and to be honest, you shouldn’t. You need fat in your body to survive. Dietary fats, or healthy fats, are important for cell growth and keeping yourself and your body energized throughout the day. And contrary to popular belief, eating fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. Even though each gram of dietary fat is roughly 9 calories, these calories are considered “healthy calories” thanks to their health benefits. Plus, when you make sure to include more healthy fats in your diet, your body can burn at least 100 calories more each day, and and the fats can stop random cravings and hunger throughout the day, too.
Yes, cutting back on the amount of calories that you eat a day is required for proper weight loss. But calories aren’t everything, and just cutting down on your caloric intake isn’t going to be enough to have you seeing the results you want along your health journey. For starters, there’s a lot more to the picture than just calories, since it’s also super important for you to factor nutrients into the equation, as well. Plus, you always have to make sure that you’re exercising and living a healthier lifestyle overall, like having a proper sleeping routine and cutting stress as much as you can, if you want any changes in your diet to really change your wellness in the long run.
Drinking Diet Soda
Sure, a Diet Coke might not be quite as calorie-loaded as a regular Coke, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re making a healthy choice by opting for the diet-approved soda. The fact is that Diet Coke is filled with artificial sweeteners and other chemicals that should be eliminated from your body. Artificial sweeteners, if consumed in excess, can numb your mouth to the taste of natural sugars, like fruits, since they have an abnormally intense sweetness. Diet soda has also been linked to a number of health effects like weight gain, metabolic damage, and even heart disease. If you’re thirsty, stick to water. If you’re craving a drink with a little more sweetness or flavor, try drinking juices with natural sweeteners, or go for an infused water. If the fizziness is what draws you to Coke products, sparkling water might be the pick for you.