Being truly healthy is not just the absence of disease or illnesses. Good overall health is a balance of many aspects in life: a healthy diet, regular exercise, getting enough sleep, professional and personal care, and healthy social interactions. But with the many stressors in life, it can be quite challenging to maintain good health.
Here are seven fundamental steps to help you achieve better health and fitness.
- Stay Hydrated
Keeping yourself hydrated does not only fuel your cells, it also helps in regulating body temperatures and heart rate. Water is one of the main things you lose if you are doing an exercise and it is important to replenish what is lost to keep your body hydrated. The American Council on Exercise recommends you drink one cup of water a half-hour before exercise and then drink water every 15 minutes of exercise to keep your body hydrated. Most importantly, drink one cup of water post-exercise. Electrolytes can be lost while exercising so it is important to also drink fluids with added electrolytes.
- Eat Before and After You Workout
Before the workout, you need to have protein and slow-burning carbohydrates to help fuel you while doing intense exercises. For example, you can have whole-grain toast with peanut butter one to two hours before hitting the gym, or you can drink a smoothie or juice before working out. Just make sure you are not too full to complete the workout comfortably.
Post-workout meals are also essential because these are your recovery meals. A good option is a protein shake of your choice. The protein and carbohydrates help muscles recover and avoid muscle wasting. Because your metabolism is still fire after a workout having a healthy meal along with your protein shake is completely acceptable. Just make sure to make healthy choices when planning the meal so that you stay on track in your fitness journey.
- Stretch After Your Workouts
Cardio and stretching are often overlooked after exercises by people who go to the gym or have a specific workout plan. However, this should not be the case. Cardio exercises, like running on the treadmill, helps keep your stamina up and even helps you get into the “fat-burning zone. Apart from using the best treadmill or doing specific cardio exercises, you should not neglect stretching after workouts. Stretching helps to improve your flexibility and boosts circulation. Incorporating these into your routine can help you to reach your fitness goal.
- Protein and Nutrition Are Good For You
Protein is one of the major building blocks of the human body. Microscopically, your muscle breaks down after working out, but over the next 24 hours it rebuilds. The rebuild of muscle is where you gain strength, making protein a crucial part of this process. Proteins assist in speeding up recovery from the previous intense exercise. Lean meat is always a good source of protein. Green, leafy vegetables, and nuts are also good options if you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet.
- Keep Healthy Snacks Handy
Keeping a handy snack wherever you go is essential for your fitness goals. This is a very important reminder especially when you are traveling. The tendency to get hungry and overeat during pit stops when you drive for long hours or when you travel is a high risk. Just make sure to prepare or keep healthy snacks and always avoid junk foods when traveling.
- Set Realistic Goals
Goal setting in fitness and health should be SMART- specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bounded. You should also keep in mind that what you come up with are not recipes for disappointment. Start by making a realistic timeline and see to it that you are on the right track — like following a certain diet and know how much time you should dedicate to fitness. Most of all, don’t let your life revolve around the gym, always make room for people in your life and add socialization to your list. Keep yourself surrounded by people who inspire you rather than make you feel pressured or sad.
- Chart Your Progress
Keeping track of your progress can be helpful to see results. You can do so by keeping a diary or taking before and after photos of weigh ins, exercises, or certain yoga poses. These small progresses can inspire you to be better and push yourself more. This can help you build your commit to your exercise and health goals.
These are just some of the basic tips however, they are valuable and should be kept in mind almost, if not, all of the time. And you should always remember that your fitness story is different from the others.
About the Author: Jack Fleming is an avid runner who has competed in numerous marathons and other races across the country over the past 20 years. That experience inspired him to create TreadmillTalk.com, a comprehensive treadmill review site that helps individuals find the ideal machine for their needs.