I often hear from people asking how to become fit. There is no shame requesting help, it is very understandable if you haven’t focused on fitness prior. I have outlined 7 main criteria, in no particular order, that may be used as a foundation for starting.
First is cardiovascular conditioning. The purpose is to get your heart pumping and lungs expanding fully. Most people who live sedentary lifestyles don’t breathe fully and don’t fully exercise their lungs. Second is strength training whether you utilize weights, bands or your own body weight. The only way to really sculpt and change your body physique is through strength training. Both of these two criteria, cardiovascular condition and strength training have had their benefits reinforced by research over this pandemic; which has demonstrated a better outcome from those who exercise should you ever contract the virus. (1)
Third is stretching. Flexibility is one of the first things people lose as they age. This can be achieved with either a stretching, yoga or tai chi program. A good idea is to stretch on your off day from cardiovascular and weight training. A study showed that increasing your flexibility can slow or prevent aging in your skeletal muscle. (2) Next is CORE stability. A strong core will enable you to avoid injuries and increase your ability to do activities of daily living later in life. I put together a beginner CORE exercise video here
Fifth on the list is nutrition. Making sure you eat healthy and get all necessary nutrients in your regime. No matter what type of diet you may follow whether it be keto, vegan, etc., it is important to follow a healthy pattern. Sixth is the often-overlooked mental rest. This is reached through finding the time to relax and chill out. It is important to quiet the mind and give yourself some restful time. This can be achieved through meditation, getting lost in either a book, a TV show, or just unwinding somewhere comfortable; allowing your brain to wander. By keeping your mind quiet for just a little every day will increase your overall level of creativity, recharge your batteries and offer you that emotional & spiritual rest necessary
Last is sleep, which is one of the most important activities you can do. Sleep is necessary for your overall health, providing your brain the necessary rest (3), boosting your immune system (4) and helping balance your hormone levels. No matter what your age or how active you may be, sleep is a vital part of daily survival.
Pay attention to each of these 7 principles in your effort to reach maximum fitness. If you are serious about getting fit, create a chart that includes each criterion and list what you will do that will benefit each one of them. It’s OK to start slow, and build as you move along. Fitness over 50 is important to not only add years to your life, but life to your years!
Until Next Time,
- Physical inactivity is associated with a higher risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes: a study in 48 440 adult patients | British Journal of Sports Medicine (bmj.com)
- Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle (plos.org)
- Brain may flush out toxins during sleep | National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- Study links healthy sleep duration to less sick time from work – American Academy of Sleep Medicine – Association for Sleep Clinicians and Researchers (aasm.org)