Monday, June 4, 2012

Some Straight Talk About Your Health and Quality of Life

Not so long ago, physical exercise was more or less left to those with physically demanding jobs or serving in the military. However, with societal changes, more research and studies, it has brought exercising and living an active lifestyle as well as proper diet and nutrition to the forefront of most everyone's mind. By bringing this information to the forefront, it simply means that striving to be healthy and fit should be a part of everyone's life. Know this...

When you take good care of your body, your body will take good care of you.

The Harsh Reality of American Fitness

In today's society, most people are on the go and very busy. Sadly, many of those people believe that they're too busy to even think about exercise and fitness. And, even though there has been much said and written about them, exercise or physical fitness are not high on the list of priorities for many Americans.

As a matter of fact, reports have stated that more than 60 percent of American adults don't get the recommended levels of physical activity each day that they should. And what's worse is that about 25 percent of adults basically get no physical activity. Believe it or not, it gets even worse. With age, the level of activity declines. So by the age of 75, about a third of men and half of women aren't getting any physical activity whatsoever.

I don't want to seem totally negative, because I'm just stating the facts here. But this lack of exercise combined with unhealthy eating habits has led to an epidemic of obesity in America. The American Obesity Association reports that nearly two-thirds of Americans adults are overweight or obese. And, more than 30 percent of children aged 6 -12 are overweight.

So How Do We Lose All The Weight?

Well, you've heard the answer a million times...eat right and exercise.

But let's take a closer look at the reason these things are absolutely critical to your living a high-quality life and maybe even a longer one.

Exercising and eating a healthy diet helps to keep your body physically fit and working at its optimal performance level. And, physical fitness keeps your lungs and heart as well as other internal organs working efficiently and helps to burn off extra calories - the calories that slowly creep on as you get older.

What Exactly Is Physical Fitness?

The actual definition has evolved over the years and can seem a bit complex or abstract even. But quite frankly, it's useless to try to narrow it down to one, all-encompassing definition. So, we'll just use a general definition of physical fitness which will be sufficient for the discussion here.

In its most general meaning, physical fitness can be defined as a general state of good health and well-being. Physical fitness can also be described as a condition that helps you look your best, feel your best, and be your best.

Getting physically fit and maintaining it is a result of physical activity, proper diet and nutrition, and of course proper rest. It allows you to easily handle daily tasks and perform to your potential. In addition, being physically fit can help prevent certain diseases, thereby helping you to live a longer and healthier life. Also, since what you do with your body or how you feel about it directly affects your state of mind, we can therefore say that physical fitness influences your mental and emotional health.

How Do I Know If Or When I'm Physically Fit?

In order to be considered physically fit, there are some health-related fitness components and some performance or skill-related fitness components that are used to measure or gauge your fitness level. Therefore, physical fitness is often broken down to the 5 components of physical fitness - cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition.

How Do I Start A Physical Fitness Program?

While some people may agree with the importance of physical fitness, they may not know where or how to start.

Starting a fitness program does not have to be complicated. As a matter of fact, here's a great suggestion. Start by looking at how you can increase the amount of activity in the things you're doing already such as weekend gardening, bowling, family outings, social dancing, or whatever. They all provide added exercise, and they're fun.

In a nutshell, when looking to get started with a fitness program, just focus on adding more "action" to your day. This might include walking to the grocery store instead of driving, parking several blocks from the office so you'll have to walk the rest of the way or walking up the stairs instead of using the elevator. Just simple things that you've been hearing for years but haven't put into practice.

If you're a couch potato or just an inactive person, you might want to consider changing your mentality toward activity. For instance, instead of considering an extra little walk or trip to another room as an annoyance, look at it as a way to slowly get back into shape and get healthy - an added fitness boost.

What Do The Experts Say?

Health experts recommend all Americans get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day for just about every day of the week. Or, 20 minutes of vigorous activity at least 3 days a week.

I'm no expert, but I strongly suggest that you do something at least 6 days a week. I believe the more of a habit or integral part of your day that you make exercise, the easier it is to stick to it. In addition, if you set up your allotted time for exercise in the morning, research shows that you have a much greater chance of sticking to it.

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