Everyone wants to be healthy, and most people understand that physical and mental fitness are requisites for health. But if you are overworked or just new to the whole idea of fitness, it can be challenging to know where to begin. These simple tips can help you get started on the journey to health.
1. Go for a Walk
You do not need expensive equipment or to go to a loud, cold, confusing gym. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes with good arch support and a safe place to walk. Some upbeat tunes are helpful to keep you motivated and moving at a steady pace.
Start out easy, aiming for just 15 to 20 minutes at first. As your body adjusts, you can build up to 45 to 75 minutes, increase your speed, and/or find hilly places to walk.
If walking is unsafe in your neighborhood, walk loops around your house, workplace, or even inside your living room. Eventually you want to be walking or doing other exercise for at least three hours a week.
2. Make Every Spare Moment Count
You can increase your fitness level even if you do not have 45 minutes to an hour for a full workout. Studies have shown that 10 minute exercise increments can be just effective as longer workouts, as long as they are moderate to high intensity and the total exercising time is over 150 minutes per week.
You can squeeze in workouts by walking or biking to work, the store, or anywhere else that is feasible. If you must drive, park at the far end of parking lots (where it is safe to do so) or get off the train a stop early.
When you are waiting at an office, find out how long the wait will be and use the time to walk around the block. While you are preparing dinner you can do pushups or jumping jacks in your kitchen while food blends, boils, or simmers. Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator whenever possible. Play tag or ball games with your children or friends’ kids.
At work, stand while you are on phone calls, walk to the furthest bathroom on your breaks, and take every opportunity to move your body. You can even do dynamic tension exercises to tone your arms, legs, and abs while sitting.
3. Tell the Truth
This one is more about mental well-being than physical fitness, but it still matters in the quest to become healthy. When we are dishonest to ourselves or others, it creates disharmony within us. Our bodies are no longer sure if what we say and think is true.
This means we can think we want to be healthy, but our willpower may not support us because we are used to doing things that contradict the truth. In order for our intentions to really stick, we need to have as much personal integrity as possible.
Honesty also simplifies our lives. If we know we always tell the truth, even if it is uncomfortable or unflattering, then we never need to keep track of the stories we have told people. We are free of the fear of being found out, and instead can enjoy the simplicity of being real.
4. Eat More Vegetables
Transforming your entire diet can be challenging and overwhelming to think about. Eventually you will want to eat mostly whole vegetables, fruit, seeds, sprouts, and other nutritious foods. But for now, just focus on eating more vegetables.
Choose vegetables first at every meal, letting them fill you up as much as possible before you eat other things. Learn to enjoy the taste of raw vegetables straight, with just a little lemon or extra virgin olive oil. Make friends with the color green. Your body will thank you in time.
5. Go to Bed Earlier
Just go to bed when you are tired. That extra hour you push yourself to put in at your computer or some party will seriously reduce your productivity the next day. Proper, plentiful rest is required to stay fit, avoid disease, lose weight, maintain mental clarity, and be healthy in general. Do your best to go to bed by 11pm and get at least 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night.
6. Pick Up Something Heavy
Weight training increases muscle size and tone. This helps boost metabolism, which will give you more energy, help you burn fat, and make you more effective at daily tasks.
You can build strength by walking with 1 or 3 pound ankle weights or a filled metal water bottle in each hand, holding onto soup cans or soap bottles while you climb the stairs, or picking up your child 10-12 times (tell her it’s a game). If you want to learn efficient form or use heavier weights you will need to work with a personal trainer, but to get started any kind of small weighted object will suffice.
Getting fit does not need to be a complicated endeavor. In fact, healthy changes are more likely to stick if we take small steps and integrate our shifts into our current lives. Do your best to exercise a little more and eat a little healthier every day, and you will see big improvements in time.