health benefits of sex

6 Weeks to a Younger You: Week 1

August 10, 2011 at 10:09 am , by

Me w saladOkay, ladies (and any gentlemen who want to join us), it’s week one of our six-week challenge, so let’s do this!

As I said in my intro yesterday, this plan, from the article in our September issue, is a series of small but important lifestyle changes to tune up your body, brain and spirit–in easy-to-swallow doses. It’s all based on evidence proven to make you look and feel younger. It will help you develop healthy habits you can live with. And it’s fun!

Each week we’ll meet here and talk about the four goals for our week: one each for Body, Diet, Brain and Spirit.

Today let’s start with brightening up your diet. Ban the beige and go for Roy G Biv instead, meaning fruits and veggies in every color of the rainbow. It’s so easy to do this time of year, with farmer’s markets overflowing with jewel-like produce. Go for blueberries with your Greek yogurt. Slice heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, top with fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Blanch kale, chard or spinach and toss with cherry tomatoes, cooked whole-wheat pasta and freshly grated Parmesan. Rub big slices of bright yellow zucchini and red or orange bell pepper with a little olive oil and toss on the grill. Skip the drive-through and head to your DIY salad bar for lunch (as I did yesterday, above). You get the idea. Add color to all three meals for a few days and you will feel different—better. Guaranteed.

I know; you work long hours and have no extra money and it’s been really, really hot outside. It’s almost impossible to get any exercise. I hear you. All we’re asking this week is that you move more than the week before. Start with a pedometer, any basic one that counts your steps. You can buy one at a sporting goods store for around $10, sometimes less. Wear it all day long to get a baseline of how many steps you normally take. Then your goal is to increase it this week by 10 percent. So if you log 3,000 steps today, go for 3,300 tomorrow. Maintain that or go for more if you can. You’ll be amazed how much you can increase your number just by getting up and moving around more at work, parking farther away from the entrance at the store, going for a walk in the early morning while it’s relatively cool, etc. I’m lucky because I live in New York and can walk to my office. I measured it this morning and it’s 2,240 steps, which takes about 20 minutes. That’s a good start. Now the trick is to add to it. Ideally we’ll work our way up to 10,000 steps a day.

Sex is good for your overall health, but now research shows that it may help you grow more brain cells, too. (Gives new meaning to the phrase “sex on the brain,” doesn’t it?) Your new healthy habits should make you feel more sexy, too. So put sex on your calendar this week and keep that appointment! And may I say, while intimacy and sharing are important parts of the sex equation, it’s the orgasm that has the most health benefits. So keep this goal on your agenda even if you don’t have a partner!

No, I don’t mean with ice cream. Reinforce your new healthy habits with something that gives you pleasure but is calorie- and guilt-free. Maybe it’s a movie, a new book, a manicure or a good conversation with your best friend.

Keep your new habits going, and report in on the comments section below to let us know how you’re doing. Then check back next Wednesday for week two of our plan. Woo-hoo for a younger you!