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Information and opinions presented here do not always represent the views of the American Heart Association.

Go Ahead – Treat Yourself To Good Health

Published: 9:48 am CDT, May 11, 2012

If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “treat yourself” is probably something decadent. A “treat” will likely be something that you love to eat, is probably not very good for you and leaves you with feelings of post-consumption guilt. Typically the first things that come to mind when I say “treat yourself” are going to be ice cream, chocolate, pizza and other not-so-healthy foods. Well, I’d like to change that. Let’s start by breaking this down a bit.

If you’re going to “treat yourself”, you’re going to engage in some sort of activity that makes you happy. It’s possible that eating ice cream makes you happy. However, how do you feel after you eat ice cream? Chances are good that after a big bowl of ice cream, you encounter the “ice cream headache”, a sugar rush followed by a hard, fast crash, a stomachache and a couple of extra pounds around your waistline. Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t sound like a “treat” at all!

Now let’s consider something that makes you happy and keeps you happy good health. A few key ways to achieve better health and subsequently become happier are through a healthy diet and exercise. Instead of “treating” yourself to something like ice cream that will do more harm than good, treat yourself to good health. Only 30 minutes of exercise a day is required for general health benefits. Think of your 30 minutes a day as a “treat” instead of something you are required to do and it becomes a much more enjoyable experience. As an added bonus, you will be burning calories instead of consuming them that should make you happier already!

Your 30 minutes of exercise per day can be consecutive or can be broken up into two or three smaller segments throughout the day.

“Studies reveal that three 10-minute bouts of exercise are just as effective for general health benefits as one 30-minute bout of exercise.” – National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Exercise also comes in a variety of forms. Although things like running, swimming, resistance and interval training are terrific forms of exercise, they are not realistic for everyone. However, simply going for a walk is an excellent place to start. Think about it this way if yesterday you sat on the couch after a long day, but today you go for a short walk you’re already better off! Any sort of movement counts! Continue taking small steps towards your goal of 30 minutes a day and you will reap the benefits.

In terms of food, finding healthy options to “treat yourself” with is extremely important if you’re going to being successful at adopting a healthy lifestyle. Although these may not seem like decadent desserts now, the healthier you eat, the more decadent they will become. Over time, as your body rids itself of toxins and your taste buds begin to change, you will gain a new appreciation for things like natural sugar. My favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to healthy snacks is an organic honeycrisp apple with almond (or peanut) butter. It might sound boring to some, but to me, this snack is nothing short of amazing! Other favorite snacks of mine include carrots and hummus, fresh pineapple slices and if I’m in the mood for chocolate, raw brownies! Visit our Nutrition Center for other great ideas for heart-healthy recipes!

How we treat our bodies is directly related to our level of health and happiness. You are in control of your own body take responsibility for it. After all, you’re worth it! What will you do to treat yourself today?

Peace, love and healthy treats,

Melissa

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The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

The American Heart Association’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406152495 Kimberlyn

    As long as you have some muscle mass, eitang healthily will allow your body to naturally (yet more slowly) burn off excess fat. However, what do you think it is easier to sell people? Pricey “healthy” food that they can just replace with items from the store, or “get ripped quick” exercise machines for $20 a pop? Also (and this is just my opinion) telling people they can still eat most of what they want and they just have to exercise is more appealing than telling them that they have to be very strict about what they eat.References :