If you are healthy and strong then you can do your best work... no secret there!
If you are healthy and strong then you will feel better mentally... also no big secret.
If you are healthy and strong then you can enjoy more activities in your leisure time... probably not the first time you ever heard that revelation either.
The ONLY surprise in those three statements is that so many people don't do much of anything to improve their health!
"Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity."
John F. Kennedy
Here are 10 tips that anyone can do.
1. Set some very attainable goals... NOT big hairy goals that you will never meet and which will exasperate you. For example "I would like to lose 10 pounds this year" (break that down into 1 pound per month and go for it). You could set a goal to add 30 minutes of exercise (over and above everything you do today) every day.
2. To get healthier and stronger you need to affect your diet, your exercise and any bad habits (such as smoking/excess drinking etc.) that you may have.
3. Add some weight bearing exercise. Don't go crazy! You don't need to add big weights... just something. If you currently do NO weights then just get some light weights, use elastic bands or use body weight. If you already do some weights then vary your routines and/or add a little more weight.
4. Don't try to change your life all at once...take it slowly but do it. Do your weights while you watch your TV shows. Get an exercise machine in front of the TV and just add that 30 minutes of movement to your day.
5. Find a friend/partner/exercise buddy. It's always easier if you have a friend. Maybe someone will walk (socially distanced) with you at lunch or after work? Maybe your son, daughter or spouse will keep you honest while working out in front of the TV? If you want to get really serious then get a personal trainer and commit to a program with them.
6. Change your diet... slowly. You don't need to change all of your eating habits overnight, but change things over time. If you are looking to lose weight then create a food diary. List everything that you eat or drink over the course of a week. Look for easy ways to affect your intake. For example could you replace carbonated drinks with water. Could you reduce portion sizes just a little? Could you get your salad dressings on the side and only use half of it rather than all of that high calorie dressing. If you try to eat totally differently then you will be doomed to failure... if you change small things over time then you have a far better chance of long term success.
7. Drink water. If you feel hungry drink some water and give it 20 minutes before you succumb to eating a snack! Very often the hunger impulse can be "tricked" by drinking water, and in fact often the hunger impulse is actually because you are thirsty.
8. What can you do about those bad habits? You keep trying to quit smoking and it isn't working for you. You really enjoy those 3 beers while watching TV. Breaking bad habits is REALLY hard, so you need real motivation to have a chance of success. What could motivate you to make the change? If you see some improvement in your health because of the diet and exercise changes perhaps you will be motivated to quit smoking. Perhaps you can reward yourself by promising to spend the money saved from not smoking on a special treat for yourself? Maybe the motivation may come from knowing you are likely to live longer and spend more quality time with your family? YOU need to find sufficient motivation and often you will need help to stay motivated. Develop the motivation, put in place a support structure and them implement your plan to change!
9. Revisit your program monthly. How are you doing? What is going right? What else could you change? What could you do differently?
10 Reward Yourself. Change is tough and if you have made changes then you SHOULD reward yourself. You should be proud of your achievements. You should record those wins. You might even treat yourself to some small tangible reward... it could be a special dinner, a new piece of clothing or anything that you can associate with your success. Share that success with your support group too... maybe even treat them!
The real reward of getting healthier and strong is how you feel, and the ability to do things that others cannot enjoy. To be able to play soccer with your grandkids, to be able to run up those stairs to enjoy a vigorous day out without feeling every ache and pain. Too many people wait too long, become entrenched in their routines, are not willing to make the changes and they suffer for it.
"To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear."
Make some small changes today and see the effect it will have on all aspects of your life over time.