One thing we can all agree on is that physical health is important. A major aspect of health is physical activity, which includes regular exercise and healthy eating. The question is, how does one get in shape and stay in shape, maintaining consistency throughout life?
Weight loss and achieving a healthy lifestyle are well within your grasp, and it might be easier to achieve than you think! You don’t need to wait until the new year to make a change and make healthy habits part of your daily routine. By starting to make small changes, you can start down a path to a bigger and better life — and reap the many health benefits of exercising.
Now, let’s get into our 10 fitness tips for life.
What Does It Mean To Be Physically Fit?
The concept of fitness can be difficult to define. What exactly is healthy living? For some, fitness is all about what they are able to do with their bodies. Many people have goals like being able to hike, ride a bicycle, or do active play with their kids or grandchildren.
For others, fitness has more to do with appearance and looking the part, as well as body weight and composition. Still, others are looking to become physically fit for health reasons; perhaps their doctors have told them that they should start watching their weight or taking the stairs more often.
Physical fitness is a combination of things. Experts define physical fitness as, “one’s ability to execute daily activities with optimal performance, endurance, and strength with the management of disease, fatigue, and stress and reduced sedentary behavior.” Many people think about physical fitness and think that they need to spend hours in the gym or take up a lot of mental energy by counting calories. This just isn’t true! Fitness is all about living a better life.
#10: Start With Mindset
It may seem like an easy step, but it can actually be a little difficult to get yourself in the right mindset. We all have different obstacles to physical fitness.
Whether your personal obstacles are due to illness, age, physical limitations, or time constraints, just give yourself grace and give yourself permission to start imperfectly, and to keep working to improve your health.
Though many people view physical fitness with an all-or-nothing attitude, this can be a hindrance. Instead, it’s best to think positively about yourself and your efforts, and know that taking steps towards a healthy lifestyle is always better than staying in one place.
#9: Focus on Flexibility and Mobility
Not enough attention is paid to the importance of maintaining flexibility throughout life. Sure high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a fantastic intense workout, but flexibility is a vital component of healthy living. Most people consider it normal to not be able to touch their toes or even come close. However, there’s strong evidence that flexibility is a good indicator of health in general.
Flexibility and mobility work is important because they don’t just involve losing fat or toning muscle. As we age, not only muscles, but connective tissues like tendons and ligaments begin to stiffen. Staying limber can help you to prevent injuries and maintain your range of motion during workouts.
Be sure to stretch before and after a workout, and make it a regular part of your exercise routine. Yoga is also a fabulous way to gain flexibility, mobility, and strength. It’s also wonderful for your mental and emotional health.
#8: Take Your Workouts to the Water
Swimming every day is truly one of the best habits you can form. It not only provides you with cardiovascular benefits, but it can also tone muscle, all while doing so in a low-impact environment.
That low-impact workout swimming offers is what keeps people jumping back into the pool throughout their entire lives. Remember how much fun swimming was as a kid? Give yourself a new fun challenge by getting up off of that beach towel and wading around in some waves in a stylish swimsuit for swimming laps. The water offers resistance for strength training, while also being easy on the joints.
Throw on your most comfortable swimsuit for water aerobics and get moving!
#7: Give Yourself Some Accountability
We all jump into fitness routines with the best of intentions, but not all of us are able to keep up the momentum on our own. Willpower will only get you so far, so grab yourself an accountability partner who will pick up where your self-motivation leaves off!
If that sounds intimidating, never fear: accountability is not a bad thing. It can mean setting up a weekly walking date with a good friend, planning to go to the gym with your spouse after work, or hosting a potluck dinner where everyone brings a new healthy recipe to share with the group. Your loved ones will be glad to help you achieve your goals.
#6: Break Up Your Workouts </h2>
Not everyone has the time or the wherewithal to do a two hours workout every day, nor is that necessary. Do what you can do, when you can do it, and make it realistic. We are unlikely to stick with plans that make us feel exhausted or that stress us out. Short workouts are key!
Start your morning with a 20-minute walk, then go about the rest of your day. Maybe around lunchtime, you can fit in some core exercises. In the evening, give yourself a nice yoga stretch. Fitness does not work with a one size fits all approach.
It is a lifestyle change, but it still has to fit the lifestyle you already have. Any type of exercise is great for your health and can reduce obesity and the chance of heart disease.
#5: Don’t Underestimate Walking
You might have noticed that we have already mentioned walking a couple of times. This is because it is simply one of the easiest, most efficient, and accessible exercises that can be done almost anywhere. Walking builds stamina and endurance, and we are literally made for it.
The great thing about walking is that you can up the difficulty level by changing terrain, speed, or length of your walk. If you are walking outdoors, beautiful scenery can also be motivating and can make your workout truly enjoyable. Maintaining your mobility through walking is a key component of wellness.
#4: Pair Cardio and Strength Training
Don’t be afraid to lift weights to achieve your fitness goals! Maintaining muscle mass is incredibly important throughout life. Weight training is not just for bodybuilders; it’s for anyone who wants to stay in shape and be able to do the daily tasks required in their lives.
A great exercise program will combine cardiovascular exercise with strength training. This could mean working out in a gym, but it doesn’t have to! An inexpensive pair of medium-weight dumbbells is a great place to start.
Many people like to start with a set of eight-pound dumbbells for their strength training, but this is up to you and your level of ability. However, if your weight workout starts to feel easy, you may want to invest in a heavier pair!
An example of an unconventional workout routine that pairs cardio and strength training is:
- Swimming 10 laps in the pool
- Grabbing a set of foam dumbbells and doing biceps curls and triceps kickbacks in the shallow end of the pool.
A more traditional cardio and strength training workout might include doing some back and chest exercises with dumbbells or gym equipment and then hopping on the treadmill or elliptical glider for 20 minutes.
#3: Listen to Your Body
It’s all well and good to maintain your mobility, flexibility, and strength throughout your life, but to do so if you are in pain is a bad idea. Overtraining is not a myth! It is absolutely possible to do too much exercise or to diet to an extreme.
If your body is talking to you, you should listen. Everybody needs days off sometimes. Apart from muscle soreness, as we start to get older, our bodies do start to generate a little wear and tear. If you’re experiencing joint pain or any kind of pain in general that just doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts. Before you start any exercise regimen that is out of the norm for you, it’s also a good idea to speak with your doctor, just to cover all your bases.
#2: Eat the Rainbow
Every single day you should make an effort to eat every color in the rainbow! Health and fitness are about a lot more than just consuming fewer calories. You also need to think about vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. A varied diet should be balanced and include a variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy carbs.
The simple act of making sure you have multiple colors on your plate will ensure that you are taking in a lot of different types of foods with the nutrients you need to be healthy. Of course, moderation and eating in a calorie deficit is the way to lose weight, if that’s what you are looking to do. However, many short-term crash diets that involve shakes or supplements tend to fail because they are so restrictive.
Instead of restricting, think about adding! Consider how you could add veggies to a meal to make it healthier. If you want to eat pasta, go for it! But maybe you could add some lean chicken breast for a protein that will keep you feeling full longer. Keep a healthy relationship with your food, and it will really help you in the long run.
#1: Keep It Fun
This is our number one fitness tip for life for a reason. Fitness needs to be a lifestyle, and it needs to be one that you actually enjoy. You are thriving in this life, and you should let your health and fitness routine thrive right along with you.
Love being on the water? Look into where you can rent a kayak and start paddling your way to some strong shoulder and back muscles. Enjoy binging television shows? Download a few to your phone or tablet, and hop on an exercise bike or a treadmill. If you like a good swim, consider donning your mobility swimwear and joining a local fitness center that has a pool and offers lap swimming in designated lanes.
Most importantly, you can use health and fitness as a way to forge new friendships and relationships, as well as preserve the ones you already have. Date night doesn’t have to be dinner and a movie.
A shift in lifestyle means that date night could become a walk in the park. Then you can reward yourself with a healthy smoothie after. Going to a yoga class with a friend can be a great way to keep in touch and maintain a routine that can ensure you don’t get too busy and drift apart.
Whatever you do, make sure that your fitness regimen and your nutrition plan are going to make you happy in the long run. We keep doing what we enjoy doing!
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle for a lifetime is something that is totally possible. Fitness is important not only for your body, but also for your mental health, your relationships, and your mindset. By eating healthy, exercising regularly, and finding a routine that works for you, you can stave off diseases, reduce stress and fatigue, and live the life you want to live.