The beauty of springtime has come to Arizona, bringing warmer temperatures, beckoning us to spend time on the deck and enjoy the longer days. For many, this is the time of year to dust off the blender and mix up a delightful beverage to sip in the sun.
In the spirit of healthy, active aging, it is important to be mindful that your drink type and caloric intake do not sabotage your goals of strengthening the heart, building muscles to increase metabolism, improving balance and decreasing body fat.
The conversation around moderation and alcohol consumption is an important one. In excess, detrimental effects can overshadow the enjoyment and create ill effects on the health of the brain, heart, liver and pancreas. Excessive consumption also is linked to an increase in cancer as well as a decrease in immune function.
Armed with this knowledge, let’s explore some ways to keep alcohol intake in check:
- Find your limit regarding discretionary calories. A number of foods and beverages taste good but have a high caloric content and low nutritious benefit. Examples are desserts, chips, ice cream and, yes, alcohol. When working with clients, my recommendation is to limit discretionary calories to 300 per day. This includes beverages. These discretionary calories can be used up easily with two glasses of wine and exceeded with just one mixed cocktail. In addition to reading food labels, educate yourself about the calories contained in beverages. While attempting to lose body fat, be very aware of alcohol intake so you literally do not drink away your progress.
- Make a decision ahead of time about the quantity of alcohol you are planning to consume. Create a written fitness plan (including alcohol consumption). This will substantially increase your success rate.
- Share with family and friends your desire to work on your health. Support will make the follow-through easier and you may find they will decide to join you in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.
- Hydrate while celebrating. Drinking a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages is a good plan to curb consumption. It will also make a positive difference in how you feel the next day.
- Create nonalcoholic alternatives when mixing springtime beverages. Keep an eye on the sugar content, as this can substantially increase the caloric cost.
Moderation – in exercise as well as food and beverage choices – is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy this rich and colorful time of year and always keep in mind, the decision to protect your health is the most important decision you can make, for yourself and those you love. QCBN
By Lisa Fry
Lisa Fry is the Health & Fitness Director for Touchmark at The Ranch. Her responsibilities include overseeing the Touchmark Health & Fitness Club. Membership is open to anyone 50 years and older. To reach Lisa or for more information, call 928-708-3133.