(Family Features) - If you feel stuck in a rut, it may be time to shake things up. Finding new ways to approach exercise and diet can make your efforts to improve your overall health more engaging and help you stay on track.
Pittsburgh Steelers dietitian and author Leslie J. Bonci, RD, advises athletes on how they can stay at the top of their game. Here, she offers some tips to help you find new ways to stay on top of yours.
Groove It: Get Moving to a New Beat. If you've never tried working out to music, now's a good time to start. And if you do have an exercise playlist, try out some new tunes. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has found that the faster the beat of the music, the higher the intensity of the workout. Your body naturally moves to whatever beat it's listening to, so speeding up the beat can help you get more from your workout. The ACE research also showed that a faster tempo also makes intense exercise seem less stressful.
Change It: Take on a new workout. Doing the same kinds of exercises all the time can get boring - which makes it harder to keep doing them. Shake things up and dare yourself to get moving in a new way: try a dance-based workout such as Zumba, kickboxing, ballroom dancing, a spinning class or circuit training. Or if you really want to challenge yourself, join a local, high-intensity boot camp. Many gyms and fitness centers have low-cost, short-term "try-it" options that let you sample the different options before you commit to a long-term class. Some memberships also let you work with a personal trainer a few times for free. That's a great way to get some tips and training customized for you.
Log It: Keep a Food Journal. Improving your overall health also means learning how to make better food choices. Keeping a food journal can help you take an honest look at your eating habits so that you can make healthy changes.
- Record everything you eat and drink right away.
- Make a note of what you did while eating (watched TV, worked at computer, etc.)
- Describe your feelings while you ate. Understanding the emotions behind your food choices can be very helpful in making changes.
Try It: Incorporate New Foods. According the newly released Dietary Guidelines, incorporating plant-based proteins into a daily diet can help maximize overall health. Soybeans in their whole, natural state are the only plant-based source of complete protein. A reasonable goal should be to consume two servings of whole soy a day (a total of 15 to 20g soy protein). New and improved SOYJOY, made with whole soy, real fruit and other all-natural ingredients, is a great way to fit whole soy into your daily routine. SOYJOY is the perfect snack to throw into your backpack, gym bag or glove compartment to fuel you through a long work day or intense workout. SOYJOY provides a nutrient-dense combination of complete protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber to help supply sustained energy with only 130-140 calories.
To make new habits stick, it's important to hold yourself accountable. Dare yourself to take on one of these new challenges or invent your own, and then share your dare with friends on Facebook as part of SOYJOY's Do you Dare? program. SOYJOY is sweetening the deal by offering prizes and incentives to those who take a dare and stick to it. Check it out at www.facebook.com/soyjoy.