I know, I know…. I hear the sighs now. This might not be your favorite topic, but it’s critical to getting more out of your life. A fit, healthy body will serve you in so many ways and makes everything else you want possible.
Think of it this way, you need to fuel your body so you can fuel your mind. The stronger and healthier your body is; the more energy you will have to reach your dreams.
We’ll start with diet because that seems to be the area with so much controversy. Eating right doesn’t have to be complex.
Just keep a couple of things in mind:
- Eat the food that you know is good for you; limit the bad stuff. No unhealthy person is unhealthy because he or she eats too many fruits and vegetables. There is no sane diet that tells you that eating doughnuts and chips is the way to a healthier body. You know what’s good for you and what’s not.
- Your issue isn’t lack of knowledge; it’s usually a lack of self-control. Unless you’re training for a bodybuilding contest or the Olympics, you probably already know enough about nutrition to maintain good health.
- Avoid drinking calories. It’s easy to get an overabundance of calories by drinking them. Try to limit your intake of high-calorie beverages. Water is the best thing for you; green tea is great, too. Take it easy on the soda, juice, and alcohol. Partaking in an adult beverage can be relaxing, but indulging may be a bit much in this area.
- Eat slowly. If you’ll eat slower, you’ll eat less. Take your time and enjoy your food. It’s not a race.
- Eat a balanced diet. There are so many vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients that you can’t expect to get everything you need by eating the same things all the time. Eat a variety of foods.
- Listen to your body. Your body will tell you when it needs something (and I don’t mean chocolate cake).
If you stick to the basics of eating mostly fruits and veggies, then balancing proteins, fiber, and carbs… our body will get the fuel it needs for functioning and energy.
"Start where you are, Use what you have, Do what you can.”
Exercise can be simple, too. At the end of the day, you need 3 things:
- Flexibility. Most of us are not as flexible as we should be, and it seems to get a little worse each year. So take some time to do some simple stretches as often as you can. You can attend a yoga class or follow a class on TV. It doesn’t matter how you address your flexibility, but make sure you dedicate some time to this area.
- We lose muscle mass as we get older. This means you need to do some strength training or calisthenics on a regular basis. You can do this at home or the gym. Join a class or get a personal trainer if that helps. Just remember to work your entire body and strive to do a little more each week.
- Cardiovascular fitness. Four sessions of 30 minutes is about the best that you can do. Doing more than that has no positive impact on health; in fact, it has a negative impact on health because you increase the probability of suffering an injury. Unless you’re training for a physical event, there’s no reason to do more.
- You could swim, walk briskly, ride a bike, use a treadmill, do aerobics, play tennis, play basketball, or other enjoyable sports. You’re a lot more likely to do it if it’s something that you have fun doing.
- Remember that there’s a difference between health and performance. A person that runs 2 miles a day can be every bit as healthy as someone that runs 15. In fact, the person that runs 2 miles a day is potentially healthier.
Again, this does not have to be complicated. Find what works for you and just be consistent. Get the basics in order and see where that leads you. You can get more advanced as you see the progress you’re making with just the basics.