Maybe you gained a few extra pounds over the holidays and are now contemplating how to shed that extra “fluff.” In my years working with clients, I have nailed down seven components of health that will launch you into your fittest year yet! Please check with your doctor if you are beginning a new fitness program, and keep your practitioner informed of any concerns or changes in your health.
Start by fueling your body properly. Make a habit of drinking water throughout the day. Practice a balanced eating plan that includes lots of vegetables; some fruit; dairy; lean protein, such as beans and fish; as well as ample fiber – a good goal is 30 grams per day. Listen to your body, eat when hungry and stop before you are full.
- Cardiovascular Exercise
Aim for 30 minutes five times per week. Move the muscles of the lower body continuously and at a rate that will speed up your breathing to challenge the heart. You should be able to talk in short sentences when engaging in cardiovascular exercise. Pace yourself so that you can complete the session with success.
- Strengthen Your Trunk First
Core exercises can be provided by a well-credentialed exercise professional giving you a strong base on which to build. Core strength is critical to maintain as we age, as it prevents back pain and lowers the risk of a fall.
- Strengthen Your Limbs Next
Once you have learned how to engage the core, you are ready to begin strengthening the arms and legs. Weight training should be supervised by a professional in the beginning to keep you progressing in a safe manner.
- Range of Motion
Over time, your muscles shorten and can begin to feel stiff, negatively influencing our quality of life. Putting your muscles through a full range of motion every day will alleviate stiffness and can prevent pain and injury. When engaging in a stretch, move slowly, hold for at least 30 seconds, and avoid any bouncing movements.
- Stress Management
This is a critical area of wellness that often has been overlooked in health clubs. Recognizing the signs of stress and having a plan in place to manage it will keep you from abandoning your efforts toward greater wellness this year. Find techniques, such as meditation, a walk outdoors or quiet time with a book, and schedule time to nurture yourself.
- Rest and Recovery
This is especially important if you tend to be a go-getter who is always burning the candle at both ends. Take time to slow down, breathe more deeply, and just enjoy your surroundings. In addition to this, remember that recovery from exercise is just as important as the workout, and much of this repair work is done while sleeping. Prioritize sleep by going to bed and getting up at the same time most days of the week. Unplug from the electronics and allow your mind and body to recharge and renew.
Taking time for your health is one of the most powerful ways to live an abundant life. Make time for wellness now and avoid illness later: The choice is yours. Cheers to an amazing, healthy 2019! QCBN
By Lisa Fry
Lisa Fry is the Health & Fitness director for Touchmark at The Ranch. Her responsibilities include overseeing the Touchmark Health & Fitness Club, which started a 100-day fitness challenge in January that includes classes, course materials, and inspiration. The Club is open to anyone 50 years and older. To reach her or for more information, call 928-708-3133.