Your journey to health and wellness begins with building a lifestyle that supports it. You should make healthy habits and choices part of your daily lifestyle.
You do not need to fix your entire life all at once entirely. These changes can be made piece by piece.
The Office of Health Promotion in the United States plays a vital role in trying to keep the people healthy. They published Guidelines for Physical Activity as early as in 2008. Have we followed those guidelines?
>> Read more, and see the facts at the end of this post.
Guidelines recommend 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity daily. Or a weekly minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes for adults ages 18 to 64 years.
According to guidelines, strength training is recommended at least twice a week. You should train all of the major body parts, legs, hips, arms, shoulders, abdomen, back, and chest.
If you are not already physically active, including fitness activities into your life might first seem hard. But actually, it does not need to pose a significant challenge, as a wide range of nice physical activities meets the guidelines.
Examples of the moderate physical activity include:
- brisk walking,
- general gardening,
- bicycle riding and more.
Keep in mind, 30 minutes of moderate activity daily means just the bare minimum to gain health benefits.
By doing more vigorous activities, you get more significant health benefits. And by extending the time of physical activity, you also increase health benefits.
Examples of vigorous activities:
- Jogging at 6 mph
- Bicycling fast (14-16 mph)
- Basketball game
- Soccer game
- Tennis singles
To get health and wellness benefits of fitness activities, make them part of your daily lifestyle. Set aside time in your daily planner. Add a reminder to exercise on your phone.
The 2 most valuable things you can do are:
- show up constantly and,
- perform some level of physical activity.
Build the habit! Even if your exercise does not equal the full 30 minutes, you’re still building the constant practice of physical activity.
How to Succeed
- Start with an activity you will enjoy.
- Workout with friends, or join an exercise group.
- Every little action counts. Exercise for 20 minutes twice a day. Or exercise in 10-minute increments throughout the day. The minimum requirement was 2 hours and 30 minutes per week. You achieve it easily with those mini-exercises.
- Block out training time on your calendar.
Along with physical fitness, health and wellness link to a healthy and balanced diet.
About half of American adults have one or more chronic diseases, often related to poor diet.
Everything we eat and drink, the food and beverage choices we make day to day and over our lifetime, matters.
People who eat well earn a variety of health benefits:
- better weight maintenance,
- lower chances of developing diabetes or
- heart disease and,
- lower instances of illness.
As recommended by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy diet includes:
- low-fat dairy,
- lean proteins and,
- unrefined grains.
The guideline also suggests lowering these:
- added sugar,
- trans fat,
- saturated fat and,
- cholesterol in the diet.
Create a healthy eating plan to maintain health and reduce the risk of disease.
Work on adding healthy choices to your meals and snacks, before you look to cut things from your diet.
Take a proactive, positive strategy as you make changes to what you eat:
- Drink a non-carbonated beverage instead of pop or soda.
- Choose unsweetened herbal tea which still provides flavor.
- Choose plain water or lemon water.
- On your meals, select brown rice instead of white rice.
Just as with exercise, small changes add up to a complete transformation into a more desirable lifestyle.
Keys to Success:
- Take one or two small changes in your diet each month.
- Experiment. Eating healthy needs to be enjoyable. Remember, it needs to be part of your lifestyle. Try foods and a variety of ways to prepare them. Enjoy the ones you like.
- Keep your daily menu varied. Take care that you don’t get bored with your diet. Take care not to drop out.
The connection of mind and body
Our emotional state can influence our food choices. It can also affect our level of physical activity. Our ability to maintain positive social engagement is also affected by our emotional state.
We want to too easily satisfy ourselves and reward centers in our brains with foods high in sugar and fat.
If we are stressed or unhappy, what happens? Many of us reach for fatty foods to make ourselves feel better.
Sometimes this is a conscious decision. But most of the times it is not.
Also, feeling angry, unhappy or depressed saps energy. And if your energy levels are low, you just don’t like to exercise or pursue some other physical activities.
There are many ways to challenge this cycle.
Physical exercises like yoga, pilates, tai chi and many others expressly nurture a healthy mind-body connection. Each of these activities uses movement tied to breathe awareness. That gives focus and calm to the mind and the nervous system.
Yoga includes breathing exercises and meditation as well. These activities build fitness and relieve stress.
Some mind-body activities, breathing exercises, visualization, and meditation, do not involve whole body movement. They focus on channeling mental activity and reducing stress.
It is essential to keep the body healthy and the mind in a state of balance to experience a sense of well-being. Balance does not mean you become a robot. It merely means you do not experience unrealistic highs or debilitating lows, like depression. If you are even-tempered, it makes it easier to deal with stress, adapt to change and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Keys to Success:
- Choose a mind-body activity, which suits your lifestyle and temperament. Include it in your schedule
- For the best results, practice it consistently.
Make It A Habit
How to form a new habit? Some say it takes about 30 days of consistent reinforcement to make a simple action a habit.
More complex actions, like building an exercise or meditation routine, or dietary changes, can take much longer.
The rate of success for more complex changes can be variable. Do not end your quest for health and wellness if you are not seeing immediate results. The key to acquiring new habits is consistency and persistence. You can reach your goal by being consistent.
So what is the level of our physical activity?
Some facts and statistics about physical activity
- Children – only one in three are physically active every day.
- Adults – less than 5% take the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Only one in three take the recommended amount of physical activity each week.
- Over 65 years old – only about 30 – 40 % are physically active.
- More than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. More than 80% of youths do not do enough aerobic physical exercise to meet the guidelines.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
Try to find the time for some regular, vigorous exercise for extra health and fitness benefits.
Minimise the amount of time spent sitting. Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.
“Doing any physical activity is better than doing none.”