How to Keep Your Body in the Fittest State Possible
Fitness levels are different for each individual, but the key elements we need to focus on to increase and retain our fitness, are the same for everyone.
We all need to eat a balanced diet that includes protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and a wide range of fruit and vegetables. This ensures that we receive all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals to keep our body healthy.
A diet needs to be less about counting calories and grams than it is about eating food that is ‘real’. It is hard to overeat when your diet consists largely of natural foods. Problems only usually arise when we get most of our nutrition from pre-packaged foods. Therefore, where possible, cook all your meals from scratch. That way you can control how much fat, sugar and salt is included and you will be exposed to less chemicals in the form of colourings, additives and preservatives.
Of course we don’t need to be perfect all the time, the occasional ready meal, biscuit or glass of wine is fine. However, they should make up less than 20% of your diet overall.One other thing we shouldn’t forget is to make sure we are properly hydrated and to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends undertaking at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each day. Exercise is good for your mind as well as your body. It relieves stress and anxiety, improves your mood and releases feel-good endorphins, which can give you a feeling of euphoria. Over the long term keeping fit also supplies your brain with well oxygenated blood, so it helps with brain function and improved metal acuity as we age.
Exercise offers just as many benefits for your body as it does for your mind. It helps to maintain a healthy weight, gives your heart and lungs a workout, it lowers blood pressure and helps to keep muscles toned. All of these factors help to stave off a variety of diseases, from the less serious right through to diabetes, stroke, heart attack and cancer.
The great thing about exercise is that there is something to suit everyone. If walking, jogging or cycling are what you enjoy, it’s easy to get outdoors and get started. If you prefer swimming, but you want to try something a little more unusual, head to one of the 40 outdoor swimming events or venues which are outlined over at Mailsports.
For those who need to be carried along by the motivation and enthusiasm of others, fitness classes may be a better choice. Some people prefer the discipline of a martial arts or self-defence class and jiu-jitsu. Yet others need more of a spiritual element and for those, yoga often proves to be the perfect fit.
Breaking Bad Habits
Research is mixed about the effects of alcohol on our bodies. Some studies have shown those who abstain completely to be healthier, whilst others have shown that a glass or two of wine does no harm and could in fact be beneficial. However, what is agreed by everyone is that alcohol always needs to be taken in moderation. If you find that your drinking habits go beyond the moderate, you may need to assess what impact this is having on your fitness and on your health in general.
What every medical practitioner does agree upon is that smoking is bad for almost every aspect of your health and will ultimately lead to serious illness and quite possibly death. If you smoke, the number one thing you can do to improve your health and fitness, is to give up. This isn’t easy, so reach out for assistance and use one of the various smoking cessation techniques that are available.
Sleep and Rest
Finally we come to the last component of good health, making sure that you get enough sleep. Seven to eight hours a night is usually about the right amount and our bodies need this as they carry out most of their repairs and muscle and bone building work whilst we are asleep.
If you exercise at high intensity remember also to give your body one complete rest day a week. It is also a good idea, where possible, to alternate the days of your cardiovascular workouts and weight training sessions.
Eat well, exercise, sleep, cut down on alcohol and cut out smoking and you are well on your way to a healthy life and improved levels of fitness. Not only does this give you a better chance of a longer lifespan but it also gives you the opportunity to live every day feeling your best.
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