“Look to your health; and if you have it, praise God and value it next to conscience; for health is the second blessing that we mortals are capable of, a blessing money can’t buy.” – Izaak Walton

To accomplish your other goals — to live a full, productive, and happy life — you need a well-running machine of a body and an alert mind. So even if staying healthy is not your primary concern, it should be one of your priorities.

Achieving good health is mostly a matter of developing two good habits: eating well and exercising sensibly. To help you come up with a regimen that works for you, here are some things to think about:

  • Eating well not only makes you feel great and look great, but also boosts your immune system, strengthens your muscles, limbers your joints, and puts energy in your stride and alertness in your head.
  • According to Dr. Sears and the best research I’ve read, the healthiest diet consists of smaller, low-starch meals that favor fish (preferably fresh and broiled), meat (range-grown, if possible), fresh vegetables that grow above the ground (especially spinach, dark lettuces, zucchini, string beans, and sprouts), nuts (peanuts are not nuts), and berries.
  • You don’t need nearly as much strength training as most health magazines would have you believe. Most people can achieve all their strength goals with an hour of training per week.
  • Flexibility becomes more important as you age. So, if you’re over 30, stretching should be an important part of your daily routine.
  • You don’t need to run a six-minute mile to be healthy. As with weight training, there is little to no scientific evidence supporting the idea that you have to be trained like an athlete. To build stamina, walking is as good as running.
  • The most common health problem for Americans and an increasingly large number of Europeans is obesity. Get your body fat measured and then set healthy goals: 12% to 16% for men; 15% to 20% for women.
  • There’s more to health than strength, flexibility, stamina, and appearance. Mental and emotional energy are critical. And mental health affects the strength of your immune system, which is the foundation of both health and longevity.