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Getting Started with a Healthy Lifestyle

Posted Sep 02 2010 1:10am

running with the seagulls
eschipul

I have recently come across an interesting theory - In that we can easily optimise our bodies function via exercise. In recent articles we have looked at a bunch of different types of training and ways to integrate training into lifestyle as well as methods for short and effective workouts.

What I want to have a look into is how to optimise how your body runs through simple activity, this includes things like building muscle, improving flexibility, and generating heat -- Therefore providing better circulation and wellbeing throughout the body. It also includes priming our body to use the food we eat effectively to repair the body and supply nutrients rather than wasting the food and potentially storing it as fat.

Ideally it would be great to lay out a simple plan that we could all follow throughout the week without the need to hit the gym or do anything too strenuous. I am not advocating leaving gym workouts out but rather wanted to write something that everyone could use or would be applicable to those without access to certain facilities -- Something we could all do within the walks of everyday life when we simply don’t have time for conventional exercise.

So in essence this is the minimum you would want to be doing each week to improve your health and benefit from exercise.

  • Improved Nutrient Partitioning (basically meaning more of the food you eat will go into building muscle and being used as energy)
  • Better Body Composition
  • Fewer Aches and Pains
  • Improved Mood
  • Increased Flexibility

To me Improved Nutrient Partitioning is the most important thing and the main reason we should be exercising. The very fact that doing something so simple can have a profound effect on how our body deals with what we put in it is amazing, people with efficient nutrient partitioning will either store their food in muscle tissue or they will generate extra heat and increase activity to burn off any excess food eaten. This is how we can maintain a healthy weight with a less strict/regimented diet as our bodies should always have the correct mechanisms maintain homeostasis.

1- Walk. This is the first thing that we can all implement into our daily lives, somehow find a way to walk for about 20 minutes a day. This could be spread throughout the day or done in one go it doesn’t really matter.

Walking your way to Health and Fitness

If you check out the article above you can see exactly why walking is so good. It is the linchpin upon which you can build a more healthy life and allow your body function more efficiently. Walking is low stress and has a great impact on your health.

2- Resistance. Starting some kind of resistance exercise plan is often the hardest thing as many people do not know how or where to start. Short and intense is the best way to get started, in as little as 5-10 minutes three times a week.

Tabata Training -- Short and Effective

Tabata is a basic premise of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest done 8 times -- This totals 4 minutes. It can be done with any bodyweight exercise the most basic probably being jumping jacks. THe above link even includes a timer you can download for free.

3- Stretch. This is another hugely important component that many people fail to do, stretching can not only help with nutrient partitioning but also in the relaxation of muscles. A daily stretch routine first thing in the morning and last thing at night is a great thing to implement.

I find it is best to start from the top of the body and work down. By doing this you make certain all the muscles are covered. Investing in a yoga mat can help a lot with this as the extra grip will allow you to stretch deeper and more safely.

4- Be Active. Take every opportunity you can to keep active, ideally we should be moving round throughout the week. This can be anything from playing sports with friends to cycling around instead of driving all the time. It is also great to re-kindle old passions especially those that keep you active, possibly sports you used to enjoy…..

So take this as a guide to starting out on a Healthy and Active lifestyle -- These are 4 aspects that anyone can and should be doing. The fact that these four simple lifestyle changes or implementations can have a huge benefit on how your body functions is more than enough reason to get started.

Chris is the author of A Simple Guide to Eating Well and writes about staying fit while living life. You also can follow me on Twitter .

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