Do you think that you’re living a healthy life? Besides occasionally cheating with the odd chocolate bar or glass of wine, we can guarantee most people out there believe that they do an OK job of maintaining their health. They also feel that they have good (or at the very least OK) eating habits and physical activity. (This is obviously when we manage to find the time to exercise.) However, is that enough for someone to be considered as “healthy”? (Image Credit: Rawpixel/Pixabay)
According to a study which was conducted recently, very few adults meet the criteria for what is considered to be a ‘healthy lifestyle’. Published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the research shows that only 3% of American adults achieved a perfect score on what the authors of the study say are the essential criteria for healthy living. A mere 13.8% met three of the requirements; only 34.2% met just two. Women fared slightly better than men did.
You absolutely can succeed in achieving your fitness goals. And the even better news is that you can do this simply and effectively. No matter how busy your schedule is, put in place these six core principles so that you can make health and fitness into your busy, daily schedule.
1. Have your purpose in mind
Everything begins in life begins with a reason for being. Your fitness is not an exception. Without a reason for being, your mission doesn’t have any hope of succeeding. The goal is there to remind you that you’re trying to achieve isn’t worth sacrificing for temporary pleasures such as that enticing chocolate bar.
2. Look ahead
Taking time to map out your events ahead of time is a game-changer. This is if work, meetings, family events, or certain obligations for the upcoming week. As most people’s work week starts on Monday, on Sunday, jot down all your concrete dates. After your concrete events are scheduled in, see how many days you want to exercise. Also, determine which days it makes the most sense to head to the gym. Put those days in the calendar. It is perhaps also a good idea to turn to a personal trainer for help as your workouts will be scheduled.
Don’t expect perfection on week one. However, now you at least have a working plan to get started. It will be possible to make any necessary adjustments at a later stage.
3. Make sleep your main focus
Without sleep, all our efforts at exercising are in vain. Rest is what assists us with recovering from workouts. It assists us in choosing the right food. Sleep helps us to think clearly and – believe it or not – helps our weight-loss efforts. (Sleep regulates our stress hormone called cortisol. When left unattended, this can slow fat loss.)
4. Concentrate on the food that you eat
It’s easy to get too concerned with the type of workout that you’re going to do. However, what you eat will determine your weight loss success.
It’s easy to get distracted with calorie-counting and worrying about the perfect macronutrient split. As a busy person with a taxing lifestyle, counting calories on an app is the last thing you should be doing. A better alternative is committing to eating between three and five times a day. Divide your meals into balanced portions with equal amounts of protein, carbs, and fats. Remember to eat quality sources of foods
5. Focus on intensity over duration
Working out seven days a week and spending 60 minutes each session won’t necessarily guarantee you results. In the fitness world, it’s a matter of quality vs quantity. And quality wins every single time.
The intensity and the type of exercises you choose matter more than the number of exercises. If you’re pressed for time, do a circuit routine – which includes squats and deadlifts – as opposed to isolation movements such as leg extensions. The former exercises will provide more value as more muscles are being stimulated. This ultimately leads to increased numbers of calories burned within the session.
6. Something is better than nothing
There will be days where you disregard your diet and fall prey to food temptations. There will also be days where life gets in the way and you miss your planned exercise sessions. This is perfectly OK and normal. A slip-up occasionally with your fitness doesn’t define you, nor will it ruin all your progress. A good idea is to incorporate a daily walk into your exercise routine, and this will help keep you on teh right track.