As we are all getting prepared to publish our Perfect 10 goals, one thing we need to consider is exercise. One of my favorite bloggers, Wendy from The Whole Way, is a real health and fitness guru, and she has been kind enough to share some of her words of wisdom with us today. And now, heeeeere’s Wendy:
The day I woke up in 2002 and decided to live a healthier, happier, more productive life I knew I had to make four lifestyle changes:
- Quit smoking (change unhealthy habits)
- Eat real food in moderate amounts (lose weight, eat only what is sufficient to my/your body’s needs, get a decent balance of nutrients)
- Get active (on a daily basis at whatever level is appropriate – start where you’re at)
- Be mindful (show up for my/your life, pay attention to the choices I/you make)
These components are intertwined, moving in and around each other in varying patterns and shades and shapes. One cannot exist independent of the others, even when the relationships seem subtle.
It may feel easier or more manageable to create change in one of these areas at a time. And, that particular area may change over time, or even daily for that matter. Heck, it might even change from moment to moment. But, the reality is: each area has to come into focus in order to live a healthy lifestyle.
In my case, I took on the smoking, the daily activity, and the control of the elbow-bending at the same time because I could not figure out how to separate them. I was mindless about the mindfulness, though in hindsight, I see I did begin to incorporate this into my daily life about the same time.
Anyway, I quickly figured out that activity – yes, exercise – made losing the weight much easier and created changes in my body shape which I found desirable and rewarding. After reaching ‘goal weight’ (a concept which should be fluid, I believe), exercise allowed me to stay in that general weight vicinity and not obsess about daily food intake. It was a relief to not step on a scale for weeks on end, to not mentally calculate how much I was consuming of what, to remain mindful of my eating but not a slave to food.
As my eating habits began to change, regular activity took on a much more important role in my evolving lifestyle. Later on it became important enough that I changed careers, becoming a personal trainer and later took additional training to be a nutritional counselor.
So, what I am really wanting to tell you with this long story is this: you need to move!
You need to move regularly. If you aren’t already, you need to start. If you are already, you need to constantly challenge yourself by notching up the physical exertion expectation. You need to show up for your life, not waste another minute of a life which is precious, get your heart ticking a bit faster and move yourself into fitness.
I’m not going to spend time telling you why you need to move. You already know, well and good, that daily physical activity is necessary. I knew it when I started. I didn’t need to do research on why it was a good idea, I simply needed to drag my sorry backside out of bed early in the mornings and haul it around the block. The changes this created in my life, that was all the ‘research’ I needed.
Where to start? Well, where you’re at. Find where your level of conditioning, or deconditioning as the case may be, fits in to a continuum of daily activity and then do it – jump in, with both feet, a fierce heart, and a brave grin.
Build up your aerobic base by walking. Walk daily at 55 to 65% of your maximum heart rate (you can determine your maximum heart rate here and find out how to measure your heart rate here). Your distance will naturally increase as you gradually get into shape. When the walking becomes less of a challenge, try jogging or any other activity which takes your exertion level to 65 to 75% of your maximum. Build in recovery time (rest) from this level of intensity. Move on to running, or skating/swimming/biking at between 75 and 90% of your maximum heart rate.
Aerobically, and anaerobically, now you’re cooking. And I mean that literally! You have stoked a metabolic fire which will only help project you further into wellness and wellbeing.
Nonaerobic activity is important too. Strength training – using free weights or machines, body weight, and/or natural environments – and activities for balance and flexibility and mindfulness – like yoga and tai chi – are also integral to the landscape of your healthy lifestyle. Strength training will, among other things, reshape your slimming body, do outstanding things for your self confidence, shift your base metabolic rate into a higher gear, and amaze your friends and families.
Lifting weights or knowing what strength training exercises will best meet your needs can be daunting. I would be more than happy to answer questions and offer advice. You can post a question or send a private message to me at my blog and I will do my best to be of service.
So, if I were to lay it down briefly (which I could have done right at the beginning of this): the better your fitness level, the better your brain works, the better your body feels, the better your health outcomes, the better your life. What could be simpler?
Oh, and those four components I listed at the top? Well, I am making those changes and I love that it is always a work in progress!
Thank you Steve for allowing me to guest post on your blog and for being such an important part of this vital, thriving blog community-in-search-of-health. Blessed be.
Thank you Wendy.
You heard it folks – let’s be sure our Perfect 10 goals include getting up and moving! Speaking of The Perfect 10 Challenge, you have signed up, haven’t you? If not, what are you waiting on?
If you are looking for advice or assistance in your journey to healthiness, there is no better place to begin than a Health & Fitness Specialist like Wendy. If you are in the market for this type of advice, you can reach Wendy via phone or email, both of which are available on her Contact Page.