How to Keep Your Body in Good Shape
Staying in shape is all about making good choices, and making them consistently. With the constant distractions of family and work or school, it can be easy for your body to slip out of shape before you even realize it. Fortunately, you don’t need to pay constant attention to diet and exercise just to maintain your fitness level. You just need to pick up a few good habits and keep them.
Take a brisk walk every day. Make walking a permanent part of your daily routine so you can enjoy cardiovascular health, stress management and weight loss. Pick a route with enjoyable scenery such as a park, or walk as part of your commute to work and back. Wear sneakers and dress in layers of comfortable clothes so you can adapt to any temperature. Walk for at least 30 minutes each day.
Train with weights. Use resistance training to maintain muscle mass, promote bone health and stimulate your metabolism. Train three days per week performing exercises such as the chest press, leg press, seated row and overhead press. Most fitness centers will have a machine circuit you can follow. Train your entire body each workout. For more information on resistance training, go to the American Council on Exercise.
Stay away from processed foods. Eliminating processed foods from your diet will help get rid of empty calories that tend to put on weight without offering much in terms of nutrition. Replace white flour, sugar and processed meats with brown rice, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Eat 5 to 6 small but balanced meals per day. Avoid stuffing yourself. Instead of eating until you are full, just eat until you are no longer hungry.
Keep your motivation up by getting your friends and family involved with fitness. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is easier when you have the support of people doing the same thing alongside you.
If you have never weight-trained before, seek the guidance of an exercise professional to help get you started safely.
- Mayo Clinic: Strength training--Get stronger, leaner, healthier
- "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (third edition)"; National Strength and Conditioning Association; 2008
Based in the Greater New York area, David Benjamin is a veteran of the fitness industry of over 15 years. He is coauthor of "The Business and Practice of Personal Training" and has lectured to countless fitness professionals. Benjamin holds a degree in physical education from the State University of New York, Cortland.