Health and fitness are inextricably intertwined; you can't enjoy good health without having a certain degree of physical fitness. So, with that in mind, let's dive right into the top effective health and fitness tips to help you get into your best shape ever.
Have an “I can do this!” attitude. At some point, you will get discouraged and feel like giving up. You need to be prepared for that and have the decision to not give up already made. It’s fine if you need to adjust your plan, but make giving up a non-issue.
Be clear about why you want to get healthy and fit and remind yourself of it frequently.
Your health and fitness goals need to be:
Goals like “I want to lose weight, “or “I want to get healthy,” are too vague for success.
Compare those with: “I will weigh 150 pounds by July 15, 2020. To achieve that, I will run/exercise/work out for 30 minutes Monday through Friday for the next 30 days, and I will replace the Half & Half in my coffee with 2% milk.”
These are goals anyone can measure, and you have a specific plan to get there. Ask for help setting your goals if you need to.
You can’t reach any health or fitness goals without exercising. Do something physical every single day. What kind is best? That depends on your current level of fitness and on you.
If the idea of working out for an hour is overwhelming, don't despair. The good news is that you don't have to! Break it up into do-able segments - the key is to just do something every day.
There are many at-home and outdoor exercise programs online from which to choose. Most gyms are still closed as of this writing, but that’s no reason not to begin a fitness plan. Use your stairs at home. Walk or ride your bike in the park. Do squats while brushing your teeth. You get the idea.
What’s important is to begin from wherever you are right now and build up from there. As your level of fitness improves, you will find your health also improves. You'll have more energy, want to exercise more, feel better - it's a beautiful cycle.
Stretch before and after exercising. Not the old-school kind where you bounce into the stretch, but a gentle holding in the stretch. When muscles are stretched tight, your brain automatically tells those muscles to clutch more tightly in an effort to protect them against injury. That's why bouncing is dangerous.
However, when you hold the stretch without forcing it, breathing deeply, your brain begins to understand that it is safe to relax those tight muscles and allow them to lengthen, or stretch.
True fitness depends on having a strong core. Using your core muscles – which are comprised of more muscle groups than just your abs, is critical to the success of your fitness program. You need to use your core to properly perform an exercise, to prevent injury, and to strengthen lower back muscles.
The core is your center of gravity and balance, and where all movement begins. The importance of having a strong core can't be over-emphasized, so take the time to learn how to engage those muscles properly.
A fitness tracker can be especially helpful if you're in the beginning stages of your fitness goals. There are many kinds available and you don't need to spend a fortune to track your progress and challenge yourself.
Diets are temporary and connote a sense of deprivation. Instead, remind yourself that you are choosing to alter your lifestyle habits, including what you eat, to take better care of yourself. You’ve only been given one body for this lifetime and you’re the only one who can take care of it. You get to choose what you put into it.
Speaking of diets, it’s important to find what works for you, for your body and your lifestyle. Don’t be bullied into thinking you have to eat keto, give up meat, do intermittent fasting, eat breakfast, give up coffee, etc. Each of us is a little different, so don’t be afraid to experiment and see how you feel each time you make a healthy change. And give it time.
Lots of them. There are over 1,000 diets from which to choose, and the one thing nearly all of them agree on is to make a large part of your "diet" plant-based. Fresh vegetables and fruits provide the micronutrients our bodies need, and so much more.
Limit packaged, processed foods as much as possible and stick with freshly prepared, natural meals as much as possible. There are many healthy meal services available if your time is limited. When your body starts getting the nutrition it needs, you won't crave the bad stuff as much.
Plan to succeed by planning the upcoming week's menu, including snacks. Shop for everything at one time and prepare in advance whatever you can. Be sure to pick up healthy snacks, too, like apples or carrots, so you'll always have something healthy on hand.
These days there's no reason not to eat healthy snacks. You can make them at home yourself or buy them. The key is not to bring unhealthy foods home so you won't be tempted when you're at your weakest, like feeling tired, thirsty, down, or bored.
Don't expect to be perfect, though. And it's okay to enjoy a treat once in a while! Remember that empty calories are just that - empty calories. You may feel satisfied for a moment, but ask yourself if it's worth it.
Overeating is a problem for many of us. After you prepare a meal, portion it out so that you're not tempted to over-eat. Make extra and put leftovers in non-BPA containers so you'll have future meals already prepared and measured out.
Water is critical for the proper function of every single cell in your body and helps flush out toxins.
Begin your day with a glass of clean water with a little lemon in it. Our bodies dehydrate while we sleep, so this will help restore some of the water that was lost. Adding a little fresh lemon juice or a few drops of a quality lemon essential oil will also help alkalize your body and prepare it for the day ahead.
And as you work toward your fitness goals, try substituting a plant-based electrolyte mix to your water for that sugar-based drink.
Good health really does begin in the gut. If your GI tract isn’t functioning properly, it can’t absorb nutrients, regardless of how healthy you eat. Add fermented foods and drinks to your diet, take probiotics, and keep your gut fit and healthy.
Your immune system is what keeps you healthy. It's the first line of defense against foreign invaders within our bodies, so be sure to support it.
How much is enough? Just 15 minutes of sunshine every day on as much of your body as possible will help you get the Vitamin D3 your body needs. Check with your doctor to see if you need to supplement, as about half of all Americans are deficient in this critical vitamin.
Vitamin D plays a big role in keeping your bones healthy and strong as well as staving off depression and keeping your mind healthy and strong.
It's no secret that the blue light all of our electronic devices emit are harmful to our bodies and minds. Many of us are working from home now and spending a lot more time on our computers. Wear EMF-filtering goggles to protect your eyes and take regular breaks. Set a timer if that helps.
Discontinue the use of smartphones, computers, and TVs at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime. That will help you get to sleep faster and sleep better.
Seven to eight hours is still the recommended amount of sleep for most adults. Don't try to get by on less than what you need. Sleep is critical to the health and fitness of the body and mind. That's why your brain turns off all systems unrelated to basic survival when you sleep, so it can focus on performing deep healing and resetting every system to its optimal level.
Among the many other wonders your body is performing while you're busy dreaming is the production of the hunger and satiety hormones that control your appetite and sense of fullness. Without a good night's sleep, your fitness plans can get sabotaged.
Getting fit and healthy is more fun and enjoyable with a friend. It also makes you more accountable and helps you reach your health and fitness goals faster. It's a win-win.
So, there you have it, the top, most effective tips to help you reach your optimal health and fitness goals this year. Begin from wherever you are now and know that with the right mindset and perseverance, you can do it!