If living a fit life were easy, everybody would do it.
But they don’t, because staying fit is hard work and often requires a complete change of lifestyle. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, and that certainly doesn’t mean that you should not give it your best effort.
Why? Because the benefits of living a fit life are endless.
It helps you live a longer, happier and more fulfilled life. It helps you get more and better sleep, increase energy levels, and minimize trips to the doctor. But most importantly, it helps provide the sense of well-being that comes from knowing you—and your body—are functioning at 100 percent.
So without further ado, here are five secrets for living a fit life:
1. Exercise at Least One Hour Per Day, Every Day
Forget what the government says about the need for a moderate half-hour of exercise several times a week. That’s simply not enough to get your body into the peak performance zone. In fact it may not even be enough to work off that Whopper you had for lunch.
It doesn’t matter if you swim, bike, run, walk, lift, do yoga, spin, climb, hike, kayak, ski, jump rope, do jazzercise, mountain climb, mountain bike, paddle, or chop wood, just get your body moving and your heart rate beating at least one hour per day.
2. Do Not Eat Fast Food, Ever
Even if you go to the local fast food joint and just order a yogurt, it will probably still have way too much sugar, too many simple carbohydrates and way too many processed calories.
Think of it this way: Assume the only thing that doesn’t have bad calories or chemicals at McDonalds is water and non-sweetened ice tea.
Fast food also happens to be a trigger food. Trigger foods are those really tasty, high calorie foods that trigger your desire for more unhealthy foods. Go to a fast-food joint today and chances are you’ll be back before the end of the week.
If you want to live a fit life, you’ll have to forgo the fast food.
3. Brush Your Teeth After Dinner
This may seem like a silly tip, but if you brush your teeth after dinner, chances are good (since you’ll have that clean taste in your mouth) that you won’t be as tempted to eat a late-night snack.
While that late-night snack may be tasty and filling, it also goes right to your hips, stomach, thighs and love handles—or wherever you happen to store excess fat.
4. Set a Measurable and Attainable Goal
There are two kinds of goals—those that can be measured and those that cannot.
Here’s an example of the wrong type of goal: I want to run a half marathon.
So do a lot of people, but when and how fast?
A better goal would be: I want to run the New York Half Marathon this year in a time under 2 1/2 hours.
Now that’s a goal that you can work to achieve in a specific amount of time, at a specific place in time. Not only is this measurable, but it can also be attainable. For instance, for some runners a goal might be to win the Boston Marathon.
While that’s an admirable goal, you have to ask yourself if it is attainable. An unattainable goal, such as winning the Boston Marathon, will only lead to heartbreak and frustration. So unless your name happens to be Paula Radcliffe, perhaps setting a more realistic goal is a better way to lead a fit life.
5. Find Some Fit Friends or Fit Family Members
Chances are very real that you’ll eat many of the same things, and spend your free time doing the same stuff, as your friends and family. So if you want to live a fit life, find some fit friends to take along on your journey.
This is a difficult tip because we certainly don’t choose our friends, and we can’t choose our family based on their 10K times. But you can join a running group, triathlon club or even a health club that promotes a fit life.
Look at it this way—if you plan on exercising at least an hour per day, it really helps to have a friend join you on that run around the neighborhood.