Most of us think about how to get fit and stay healthy when we realize we are overweight and simply can’t do some things we want to do in life.
But knowing how to get from where you are to the state of fitness you desire can be confusing and challenging.
The task of restoring your good health and best weight may look insurmountable, but it’s not.
We strip the process down to 9 simple steps that you can get you both fit and healthy. In fact, you can use these tips to make fitness and good health a lifestyle change that last forever.
The first thing I need to say is that I’m not suggesting that getting fit is getting ripped with bodybuilding. What we’re talking about here is taking care of your body to where it’s fit, strong, toned, at your proper weight, with a healthy cardio system, and overall good health.
Here are the nine qualifiers of getting fit and staying healthy.
Taking care of your body and mind start with the right attitude. There’s no need to consider getting fit without the willingness to take an honest look at yourself and your life right now.
Taking control of your body is not for sissies and people unwilling to change their ideas and habits. Giving up old mindsets and doing things differently can be more than difficult. So, without a good attitude about the process, you’re doomed from the start.
What’s Been Holding You Back?
However, if you’re willing to try it, the first thing to do is see what has been affecting your attitude in the past. The route to fitness from not so much starts with your words, what you hear, and the information that you allow into your mind.
The first step of the journey is surrounding yourself with other people who encourage fitness and understand the damage to lifestyles without it. You must learn to turn away from friends, family, and TV that encourage overweight and out of shape.
Instead, surround yourself with people, either face to face, or online that believe your life depends on good health. People and sights that will encourage your success in changing your life.
2. An Active LifeStyle
The core of fitness is activity. At the moment I’m not speaking of starting a fitness program, but a more active lifestyle. That’s about staying as active as possible with basic, daily living of life. Think walking up stairs instead of jumping on an escalator or elevator.
Things like taking a walk around the neighbourhood either by yourself or with your family. Going to the park, fishing, walking through the mall-most anything that involves movement.
An Active Lifestyle Means Taking Care of Business
An active lifestyle can mean anything that takes the place of sitting at a desk all day, driving home only to sit and watch TV all evening before going to bed. When your life looks like that, your fitness level has hit rock bottom, and it’s time to make some changes.
When we center our life around sitting, we destroy our health and cut our lives short. Even when we think of getting up and doing something, we are out of energy. The more active you are the more energy you will have and the lower the risk of disease and health problems.
So, to get fit and change your life, it’s imperative to think of excuses to get up and get active after work and on weekends. Just getting out of the chair and moving around for the ordinary everyday things in life is the first step towards getting fit.
3. Follow A Fitness Plan
Living an active life instead of vegging out on the sofa is the place to start, but not the end. The next step is a fitness plan to help you get your body and mind in shape. Like any worthwhile venture, your fitness goals deserves a real plan.
You don’t need a complicated plan either. You’re not training to be a supermodel or professional bodybuilder. What you are shooting for is a body that’s toned, healthy, functional, and strong enough to stay active and exercise.
Regular Exercise is Integral to Fitness
All health providers agree that we all need 30-60 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week to get and stay fit. So, that should be your fitness plan. If you haven’t been getting any exercise, then start with 2-3 times a week for 20-30 minutes.
The key is to get started, and not stay there, but to progress on until you are exercising several days a week. The first week or two may leave you a little tired, but after that you will feel much better with energy you didn’t know you had.
4. Mixing Up Your Exercise Routines
Once you start a workout routine, it’s important to add variety to your workouts. If you’re walking or working out in a gym 4 or 5 times a week and doing the same routine, you will soon get bored and quit.
If you’re walking, start working to improve your time or distance. Setting goals for slow and steady improvement will help you with increasing your endurance and keep you excited about your overall fitness goals.
Do the same thing with resistance or cardiovascular training. With resistance training, be on the lookout for new routines to work different muscle groups. With cardio training on a bike or treadmill, always shoot for longer or faster sessions. Maybe even shoot for higher heart rates during your exercise.
Keep Upping the Game
The main thing to remember is not to do the same program or routine week after week. Sticking with the same distance you run or walk, same amount of sets and reps week after week is counter productive. Your body will stop responding and merely go through the motions.
Once you’ve added regular physical activity and exercise to your lifestyle, it is easy to spot new ways to exercise or challenge yourself even more. When you do, your fitness level will continue to increase and you will enjoy life like never before.
5. Journal Your Fitness Journey
It’s easy to “sluff off” the idea of journaling with I don’t have time, or I don’t think I would like to. However, I suggest you get over it, and either journal or log your results regularly.
Either is good, and once you’ve developed the habit, you will see it only takes a few minutes of your time. And the results are phenomenal. The act of writing in the results of whatever exercise routine you did today is not exciting.
Logging Your Trip Motivates You to Success
However, after only a few weeks, you can look back through your journal and see with your own eyes the progress you’ve made. You can also see your weak points and improve in those areas.
One thing I can promise you about keeping a running log or journal of your fitness and exercise program is that once you’ve established it as a habit, you will love it.
6. Fitness Starts With Your Diet
There are few to no couch potatoes who eat healthy. What you eat is the core of your health and fitness. You’ve probably spent a lot of years eating anything you cared to eat with little or no thought of the consequences to your health.
Now is the time to mend your ways and come face to face with the fact that your fitness depends on your diet. And not what McDonald’s says is healthy food, either.
The Root of Fitness is a Healthy Diet
Weight loss, good health, and staying fit enough to enjoy life to the fullest revolves around a diet comprised mainly of fresh or frozen vegetables, lean meat, fish, nuts, grains and very little processed foods.
If a strong and fit body is your end goal, eating real, high quality, natural and authentic food is your only option. What that means is that eating home prepared meals with only 20% of your meals coming from a box, package, or restaurant is the key.
7. Staying Hydrated
Most people you see every day are clinically dehydrated. And that’s in a nation with an abundance of water? In fact, dehydration is a chronic health condition that affects every part of our body and health.
Human bodies are composed of about 60% water and every cell in your body depends on it to maintain life and health. You can survive on the liquid from coffee, tea, sodas, and sports drinks, but your health and fitness levels will never flourish on them. They need a steady input of pure, clean water each day.
Drink Water to Survive
In fact, you need a minimum of 64oz of water every day of your life. Most people understand what happens to a plant when it’s deprived of water. Picture that in your mind’s eye and get a grip on the fact that the same thing is happening to the cells that make up your body without adequate hydration every day.
8. Keep Healthy Food In The House
It’s hard to eat healthy when there’s no healthy food in the house and cupboards. Get rid of all the junk food, sugar, and sodas, and replace them with fresh vegetables and water.
Remove refined and processed foods that come in boxes, packages, and cans. Frozen vegetables and fruits are a good choice to have on hand instead. Fresh is best, but frozen is always available and usually without the added salt and chemicals used to preserve food.
Why Feed Yourself Junk and Expect Good Health?
Get out of the habit of feeding yourself from convenience stores and restaurants and eating a diet of healthy food prepared in your own kitchen.
9. Rest and Sleep For Good Health
We have traded our fitness and health for electronics that rob us of quality sleep. It takes about 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep to maintain the best mental, emotional, and physical health. Few of us get that amount of quality sleep.
Insomnia affects your weight, your waistline, increases junk food cravings, and increases stress and anxiety. It steals your own happiness, and those closest to you. Sleep deprivation takes a toll on your entire system and will sabotage all your fitness goals.
Start Relaxing Before You Go To Bed for Better Sleep
Turn off the TV, computer, and all electronic games about an hour before you go to bed. Try reading a novel, or making a list of things to do tomorrow in the hour prior to bed and you will relax and get to sleep quicker.
By relaxing before you go to bed, your sleep will be deep and you will be rested in the morning.
Is Starting a Fitness Program Safe?
Most people are in good enough shape to start exercising to improve their fitness. If, however, you have any doubts at all, it’s best to check with a physician. Especially if:
- You have any medical problems
- You are over 40 and are a couch potato
- If you aren’t presently getting any physical activity and pan to start out with any vigorous regime
Not only can your physcian give you the ok, he/she can also steer you towards the best exercise programs for you. The main thing is to start out slow with something safe and have fun. You will build endurance, muscles, and mobility over time.
Why an Exercise Program is Important
When you start exercising on a regular basis you will feel better, have more energy, better moods, and more flexibility. Exercise also aids in the prevention of many diseases and negative health conditions.
How Much Exercise Is Enough?
The goal should be 30-60 minutes 4-5 times a week. If there has been little to no physical activity, start with 15-30 minutes a couple of times a week for 2-3 weeks.
Whatever kind of workouts you are getting will start getting much easier after just a few times. You will know when you’re ready to increase the time and intensity.
What Types of Exercise To Get Fit?
There are 3 main ways to get the exercise you need to stay fit, trim and healthy. The best is to implement all three of these forms of exercise into your lifestyle:
- Structured exercise is what you do on purpose and call it a workout. Things like going to the gym, running, walking, running, playing sports, etc.
- Leisure time physical activities are things that cause you to move at home. These are activities such as working in the yard, house cleaning, gardening, etc.
- Occupational exercise is anything you can do at work. Think of stairs instead of the elevator, under desk exercise machines, parking farther out in the parking lot, walking during lunch break, etc.
How To Started With a Fitness Program?
Starting With Cardio Exercise:
Start out slow with exercises that aren’t too intense and use these guidelines:
- Exercise means something that raises your heart rate, which in turn will raise your breathing rate. Use one of these monitors to see that your heart rate is increased while still being able to carry on a conversation.
- Start out with exercising for 10 minutes and resting a few minutes, before starting again.
- Gradually increase the exertion time and intensity while decreasing the rest time.
- The goal is 150 minutes of exercise every week.
At some point you will want to start increasing the intensity of your cardio to enjoy the benefits:
- Whether you’re walking, using exercise equipment, jogging, or any other cardio, it’s time to step up the speed and or intensity.
- After a month, you should be ready to substantially increase your heart rate to the point of rapid breathing during your cardio exercise.
- At this point it’s good to do a minimum of 75 minutes of cardio each week if you are ready to add other forms of exercise.
- More vigorous workouts could include bicycling, rowing, ellipticals, competitive sports and rock climbing, or step up the pace of your walking to almost a jog.
A great way to get your cardio exercise is to walk some days and jog some days. I’ve found that the more I can mix up my workouts, the more fun they are.
Believe it not we all need strength training to keep muscles active, stretched, and flexible. Of course I’m not suggesting you become a pro body builder, just something to keep up muscle strength.
- Work on these major muscle groups each week: chest, shoulders, back, arms, hips, legs, belly.
- Once you chosen your exercise routines for each, do at least 2 sets for each and work up to 1-12 repetitions for each exercise.
- Do these with weights, bodyweight, and or resistance bands.
- Strength exercises should be done at least 2 times every week to stay fit
Most of us find that the first there’s the decision to get fit, then there’s the battle of the will. Being fit is more than merely starting a new diet, losing weight, or joining a gym. More than anything it means a change of lifestyle and the way we think about our health and body.
The payoff is real, profound and life changing. I think we all know on some level that we are slouches when it comes to taking care of the life we are given when we overeat, spend our lives overweight, and on the sofa.
Get Fit to Change Your Life
The moment you step out and take the slightest stand for your fitness, you will feel better about yourself. The farther you get into taking care of yourself physically, the more you realize that you are taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally.
Staying fit can not help but to help you maintain the best health possible, add years of productivity and enjoyment to your life, and increase your confidence levels. So, what have you to lose by getting fit?