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Health and Fitness 101

September 13, 2014

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1. Get enough sleep

You’ll know how much is enough when you feel rested and energetic.  Although the rule of thumb is 7-8 hours per night, it will in reality be an individual combination of factors including basal sleep needs plus sleep “debt” (which includes poor sleep-quality or conditions that prevent you from sleeping soundly).  A good night’s sleep is a great place to begin experiencing profound changes in your body’s wakefulness and healing properties, not to mention your zest for life.  Sleep with pride.  It’s your greatest gift to yourself.

2. Eat regular, well-rounded meals

Before you get wrapped up in the minutia of meal science, food quality concerns, the latest weight loss fads, and empty calories, STOP.  Just follow what we all know to do but keep forgetting to do -like, don’t overeat (it doesn’t feel good and body can’t use all those calories), eat a variety of foods (to optimize nutrition) and don’t get ravenously hungry (it makes us stupid and overindulgent at our next feeding).  Food is amazing. Food is fuel.  Food is rituals and comforting and very very good for you.  Unless you have some defined medical reason or personal issue with a food product, then it’s ALL fair game.  A little bit of this and a little bit of that.  No holds barred.  Yum.

3. Stay hydrated

Kinda makes sense.  OK it totally makes sense.  Our bodies are primarily fluid, and we lose fluid through every biological process, 24/7.  Between regular meals (fluids in food and beverages) and taking some sips of water every few hours (approximately 1/2 your body weight in ounces over the course of a day), and adding a bit more if you’re exercising and sweating like a horse, you should feel properly hydrated and with sufficient energy to take on your life.  So raise your glass. Here’s to living.

4. Exercise regularly

We are  made to move. A solid skeleton connected via muscles. ligaments, tendons and connective tissues, all designed to produce movement.  When you activate all of these systems on a regular basis it keeps your mind fresh, your body young, your heart healthy, your bones strong, and your relationships happy.  Especially the one you have with yourself.  Do yourself a favor and commit to daily exercise that lasts about 30 minutes and includes cardiovascular, strength, and stretching.  A little goes one heck of a long way.   Don’t let the plethora of information out there confuse you.  Keep it simple!  If you’re not an exerciser or an active person (be honest) then start by walking and stretching afterwards, then do a few squats, push ups and prone swimming (either on hands and knees alternately raising opposing limbs off of the floor, or lying down on the floor and alternately lifting opposing limbs off of the floor until light fatigue).  If exercise is painful it’s not a good idea to continue.  Check with your doctor before starting any exercises program and consult with a fitness professional if you have concerns or questions.

That’s the top 4.  Yep, I know they’re obvious needs, and being healthy and happy and fit isn’t that easy.  Maybe there’s a magic “something” that takes our human condition to the next level so that we can subsist on just a little less sleep, a little crappier diet, a little more time in slippers and less time in walking shoes, just a little more wine, and just a little less water.  Or maybe not.

Eric Zimmer, BS Health & Fitness Specialist, ACE certified Personal Trainer, Stott Pilates Instructor, Dance Education Professional, 9/13/2014

 

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