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New Year’s Day will spur many people to


resolve to follow healthier lifestyles in 2012, but how many will carry through with their pledges? The journey to better health is not as daunting as it may seem. Slight adjustments to your eating, sleeping and exercise habits can have a dramatic impact on your overall health. Focus on improv- ing these three aspects, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you.


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a “diet,” a few adjustments to your daily food intake can be equally effective and, more im- portantly, sustainable. One of the best ways to improve your diet is to increase the amount of whole foods you consume each day. Processed foods lack many of the nutrients our bodies crave and are laden with added sugars and preser- vatives. Whole foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, are packed with nutrients yet low in calories to help manage weight. Not a fan of raw fruits and veggies? You can easily blend these vital food groups into your diet - literally. Toss a variety of fresh produce into a high-performance blender like a Vitamix machine, add some ice and water, and you’ve got a simple, tasty way to get several servings of whole fruits and vegetables at once. These unparalleled machines are powerful enough to com- pletely pulverize even the seeds and skin of their contents into smooth, silky treats that are full of nutrition. For instance, Vitamix’s Going Green Smoothie offers four full servings of fruits and vegetables, nearly meeting the nutritionist-suggested five servings per day. More healthy, whole food recipes and information on Vitamix machines are available at www.vitamix.com.


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As the pace of our world continues to pick up speed, we tend to neglect important aspects of our health, including giving our bodies the rest they need. Unfortunately, fatigue has many negative impacts on physical health and personal wellbeing.


Adequate rest is needed to complete everyday tasks effectively, including per- forming well at school and work. Functions like your metabolism and immune system also depend on sufficient amounts of sleep to operate properly. Sleep deprivation can lead to a number of serious health risks, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. To ensure a better


night’s rest, the Mayo Clin- ic recommends several tactics, including stick- ing to a sleep schedule, limiting caffeine and other beverages before bed, creating a bedtime ritual, limiting daytime naps, including physical activity into daily life, and manag- ing stress. The National Sleep Foundation suggests most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, but even one additional hour per night is proven to have a significant impact on physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. By making sleep a priority, other aspects of your life will improve and you’ll be living healthier in 2012.


Taking steps With American obesity at an all-time high, the need for more physical activity is evident. But fitting in time to exercise can be challenging with our hectic lifestyles. Fortunately, simply adjust- ing your routine to increase the number of steps you take each day can truly make a difference. Combating a sedentary lifestyle doesn’t need to mean hours in the gym, and you can reap many benefits from this free and low-impact exercise. A reasonable walking goal for the average person is 10,000 steps per day. Sedentary people who may only be averaging 1,000 to 3,000 steps per day can work up to this goal by aiming to add 500 steps each day. To track your progress, purchase a pedometer


and wear it every day for a week. You may be surprised at how many - or how few - steps you get in each day. There are many ways to increase your daily activity without major changes to your daily routine. Walking the dog, using the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther from the grocery store, and walking to a coworker’s desk instead of emailing are just a few ways you can incorporate more steps into your lifestyle and walk your way to better health. With just a few adjustments to your everyday routine, you will see the many health benefits of improved nutrition, sleep and exercise habits. Cheers to a healthy New Year and a healthy new you.


- ARA Content


What 11 Moments Will You Remember From 2011?


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As the year winds down, the events of 2011 become water cooler conversation. Reflec- tions of what happened in the world beyond one’s front door take the form of “top mo- ments” and “best ofs.” To mark the end of another exciting year in global, national and local news, AOL, whose mission is to inform, entertain and connect the world, shares the “11 Days That Shaped 2011.” These are the moments that made news that got people talking, sharing and commenting most this year, from the horrific shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her miraculous recovery, to the passing of Steve Jobs and the marriage of Prince Wil- liam and Kate Middleton. People can visit 11in2011.aol.com to agree, disagree, or add to the moments that helped define the year.


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The “11 Days that Shaped 2011”: * The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords: On Jan- uary 8, a deranged gunman went on a rampage that critically injured Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and killed six others. This brutal act led to an outpouring of support for Giffords and renewed focus on gun control. * Arab Spring: Inspired by their Tunisian neighbors who successfully overthrew their own oppressive government, Egyptians gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in January to protest the brutal 30-year regime of President Hosni Mubarak, who resigned 18 days later. De- mands for freedom soon spread to Libya, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco and Oman, with social media playing a key role in organizing and spreading news about the protests. * The meltdown of Charlie


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Sheen: TV’s highest paid star went on a tirade on the first day of March against his “Two and a Half Men” producer Chuck Lorre, made a series of bizarre pronouncements across main- stream and social media, went on tour and was ultimately fired from his top-rated show. * Japan earthquake: It was


March 11 when the quake unleashed a giant tsunami that leveled cities and towns in north- ern Japan. The resulting nuclear


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disaster, just 170 miles from Tokyo, affected thousands more and rendered large areas uninhabitable for decades to come. * The Royal Wedding: The fairytale wedding of Prince Wil- liam and Kate Middleton captivated people around the world and boasted the largest ever live online audience. In the months leading up to April 29, people breathlessly awaited - and debated - details from the guest list to the reception menu to the top-secret wedding gown design. * Osama bin Laden’s death: Following news of the terror leader’s death at the hands of Navy Seal Team 6, spontaneous celebrations erupted in New York, Washington and beyond on May 1. Learning that Bin Laden lived within sight of a key Pakistani military base further undermined U.S. trust in our ally. * End of the Oprah Winfrey Show: The highest-rated talk show in American history ended its 25-year domination of daytime televi- sion. After decades of influencing and defining culture, Winfrey left her namesake show on May 25 to focus on The Oprah Winfrey Network/OWN.


* Debt ceiling crisis: Washington’s inability to provide a long- term resolution to the debt ceiling issue on August 8 contributed to a downgrade of our nation’s credit rating, market volatility and the lowest approval rating for the U.S. congress in modern times. * 10th anniversary of 9/11: America marked the 10th anniversary of our deadliest day, September 11, with respectful ceremonies honoring victims and their families, who are still struggling to recover from their devastating losses. * The Occupy Movement: In September 2011, the Occupy


Movement started on Wall Street and was aimed at the economic disparity and social inequity in the country and quickly spread around the world. * The death of Steve Jobs: When Apple CEO and co-founder


Steve Jobs, one of the greatest innovators and businessmen in his- tory passed away in October, people around the globe mourned the man behind the inventions that changed the world.


- ARA Content


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