You don’t have to be an athlete or a bodybuilder in order to aspire to a goal of fitness. Being fit just means being capable of getting the most out of life. As well as being an end in itself, fitness enables you to do the things that make you feel happy and fulfilled more effectively. Whether you want to be able to keep up with your kids, enjoy walking in nature, go out dancing or just live a long and healthy life with a minimum of pain and illness, getting fit is the first step to achieving your goals.
It doesn’t have to be strenuous, but at least an hour a day of planned physical exercise is recommended. There are many good sources online that will help you to come up with an effective routine that works for you. Stick to it and you’ll start seeing results sooner than you might expect.
Obviously the higher the level of fitness you want to achieve, the harder you’ll have to work. Sculpted thighs and stomachs aren’t made overnight. But if you haven’t been in the habit of exercising much, start off fairly gently and build up your routine gradually. A long brisk walk every day is a good way to begin. You can then move on to jogging or sprinting at intervals.
With any form of exercise, make sure to warm up first with stretches and bends. Suitable clothing such as support shorts can help to prevent chafing and sprains, and wearing compression shorts will support your upper leg muscles while exercising or running and could help to prevent injury.
Besides exercise, the other major component involved in getting fit is diet. This doesn’t necessarily mean eating less, just eating healthily is effective. The key is balance. Make sure all of the main food groups are represented, ideally in every meal, but certainly over the course of each day. Smaller meals taken often (every few hours) at regular times will help you stay in shape better than if you don’t eat for long periods and then have a bigger meal in the evening to make up.
Fresh fruit and vegetables, especially greens, are almost always the healthiest choice, but high protein foods are good if taken in combination with exercise. The proteins will help you to build and retain muscle, as opposed to fatty foods, carbohydrates and sugar-based snacks that may make you feel full but probably aren’t doing you any real good. Lean meats are an obvious source of protein, but beans, pulses and seafood can be just as effective. Avoid over-processed food and keep track of your calorie intake, especially if your fitness plan involves losing weight.
Get Plenty of Rest
Besides exercise and diet there are other factors that can help you to stay in shape. Perhaps the most important is making sure that you get enough sleep. Many people overlook this and think that they have to be constantly active in order to be healthy. But getting up early in order to cram in exercise, and then staying up late burning the midnight oil, is actually counter-productive.
Six to eight hours of sleep a night will stop you feeling drained and lethargic during the day. It will help you to exercise more effectively and will leave you feeling stronger mentally and emotionally.
Mental Health also Matters
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and the two affect each other deeply. Stress, depression and anger can be just as debilitating as any bodily illness or injury. Try practicing meditation and yoga alongside your more strenuous workouts. By bringing mind and body into harmony you’ll achieve far more than if you focus on one at the expense of the other.
Everyone is Different
The type of exercise and diet you should pursue will depend on your fitness goals. Nevertheless, there are certain basic principles that you should observe and that are fairly universal when it comes to staying healthy. Although fads come and go, there is a pretty good level of agreement when it comes to what constitutes a healthy diet. As for exercise, consult your doctor before embarking on any intensive exercise regime. As well as being able to make sure that the exercises aren’t actually harmful, they may be able to suggest activities that will be particularly beneficial for you.
Whatever you want in life, getting fit will help you achieve that. Exercise can be hard work, but it can also be enjoyable, and the rewards are always worth the effort.