Good health and fitness are a prerequisite to living a great life. I divide health into three categories: physical, mental and spiritual. Physical health is attained through a nutritious diet and frequent exercise. Mental health is attained by feeding your mind positive information and continuous education (formal or informal). Spiritual health is attained through practicing your religion or values in life. All three forms of health are closely intertwined. Weakness in one will affect the others.
I’ve heard people blame their poor health on a lack of time and money. I don’t buy it. It’s all about your priorities in life. I firmly believe good health is the single most important objective of life! Without it, your potential is limited. For a moment, reflect on a time in life when you had the flu, a broken bone, or a hangover – not the most exciting times. When you have great health it’s easy to take it for granted. It is only when we are sick that we reminded of just how much we miss it. Make your excellent health a priority in life so you can attain your full potential.
You can eat healthily and exercise inexpensively. Bananas, sweet potatoes, squash, lentils, carrots, rice are all cheap and nutritious food. There are countless others as well. If you are looking for cheap fruits and vegetables, I recommend visiting a local famer’s market. I have found prices there can be as much as 75% lower than traditional supermarkets.
If you’re not already following a healthy diet, then try this technique. Phase in healthy food gradually between your current unhealthy food. Rather than eating a bag of potatoes chips in one sitting, eat a potato chip and then take a bite of a carrot. If you don’t like carrots, find a raw vegetable that compliments the flavor of potato chips. Each day make it a point to have more and more healthy food in between your unhealthy food. Start with a bite of a carrot, and get then get into the habit of eating an entire carrot between each potato chip. As time passes phase out potato chips all together. Make your new snack food bananas, grapefruit, or apples. Likewise, get into the habit of having a glass of water before having a glass of soda. Then phase out soda all together. When you’re looking for desert, get in the habit of eating sweet fruits like strawberries or raspberries instead of eating ice-cream.
Your approach to eating healthy can be as simple or as complicated as you would like. I have chosen a simple approach. I eat mostly fruits and vegetables, while avoid all processed food. Review the ingredients in your food. Do they sound more like chemicals or plants and animals found in the wild? Does “monosodium glutamate” sound more natural than “whole oats”?
In addition to healthy eating, physical fitness is key. Physical fitness doesn’t cost a dime, so there is no excuse! There are plenty calisthenics workouts you can do for free. Push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and jumping jacks are great examples. If you need a place to work out, get creative. Find a tree with a strong branch that you can use for pull-ups. Use the foot of your bed to hold your feet as you do sit-ups. Walk, jog, run or bike around your neighborhood. Or if you can afford it, consider joining a local sports team –which is a fun and social way to work out. Exercising with friends can be a great way to push your abilities to the limit.
How do you define good health? Write down your specific goals. I defined my personal goal of fitness as: running 15 miles per week, walking 15 miles per week , and 50 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, and 200 sit-ups every other day. What is your definition of fitness? Whatever it might be, define it. Put it in writing and track it. By putting it in writing you can measure progress and hold yourself accountable.
Do not allow weather to deter your exercise routine. If your exercise routine is based on running outside, develop a system that allows you to run despite inclement weather. Join a gym or purchase a stationary bike. Or if you have the funds, invest in Gore-Tex rain gear.
Walking might not be the most exciting form of exercise, but it is better than nothing. If you have not been working out, at the very least get into the habit of walking 30 minutes per day. It gets the heart rate up, burns calories and is low impact on the body. With your heart rate up, it’s easy for your mind to generate inspirational ideas. Many of my best ideas hit me when I’m walking or jogging. Go with a friend, or go solo, take note of the world. Reflect on where you are, and where you want to go. Use the time to enjoy the here and now in the world.
If you’ve given up hope on exercising, watch an episode of NBC’s The Biggest Looser. Years ago my ex-girl demanded I watch it. I was skeptical, but after watching it I admit I was inspired. The contestants frequently weigh nearly 400 pounds. By the end of the season they lose almost half their body weight! They enroll in a rigorous fitness regiment and healthy diet. If you’re obese, find an episode. Read up on it dieting and fitness. Confirm your plan with your doctor. Then make it happen.
Excellent health and fitness are prerequisites to extraordinary life and living your dreams. It’s not about trying to impress people while you’re in a bathing suit. It’s about having no physical stamina to pursue large goals.