Focused and Foolproof: 5 Surefire Ways to Get in Shape
When it comes to your health, are you missing the forest because of all the trees? It’s easy to get caught up in specifics and lose sight of the big picture. Both perspectives are important, but, in case you’ve forgotten, here are five tried-and-true actions to improve your big picture of health and longevity.
–Develop Mental Discipline. Every day, you make dozens of decisions that affect health. Will you drink water or a soft drink? An apple or a candy bar? Organic meat and veggies or a hamburger and fries? A healthy lifestyle starts in your head. Information from blogs like this is helpful, but learning to consistently act on the information is what makes the difference. Remain mindful and motivated.
–Practice Proper Posture. As your posture improves, your breathing becomes deeper and richer. Try this exercise: Stoop forward and hang your head down, like you’ve just heard bad news. Hold that position. Take a deep breath and exhale. Now, stand straight with your head high and shoulders back. Take a deep breath and exhale. Notice the difference? You’ve just provided more life-giving oxygen to the trillions of cells in your body by simply standing up straight and breathing properly. This simple change can give you a boost in energy every day of your life, as well as reduce stress[1. Murray MT, Pizzorno JE Jr (2006). Stress management. In JE Pizzorno Jr, MT Murray, eds., Textbook of Natural Medicine, 3rd ed., vol. 1, pp. 701–708. St. Louis: Churchill Livingston] [2. Payne R (2005). Relaxation Techniques: A Practical Handbook for the Health Care Professional, 3rd ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.].
–Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Our planet is 70 percent water. In its healthiest state, so is your body. However, numerous studies suggest that up 90 percent of Americans are dehydrated most of the time[3. Your Body’s Many Cries for Water. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, M.D., Global Health Solutions, 1997]. Think how quickly plants shrivel up and begin to die without lots of water. You require the same. How much water should you drink daily? Many health professionals suggest dividing your body weight in half and drinking at least that many ounces of water daily. For instance, a 150-lb. person would drink 75 ounces of water each day.
–Thrive on Motion and Movement. Humans did not evolve to sit in one place for hours upon hours. A sedentary lifestyle will slowly but surely kill you. There are dozens of five-minute exercises you can do throughout the day in your home or office, in addition to the longer exercise routines you should be doing at least three times a week. If you work in an office or are constantly on the road, use you lunch break to take a brisk walk. Breaking a light sweat can increase your blood flow and energy levels for the second half of your day.
–Avoid Contaminated or Low Grade Fuel. You are what you eat. Maintaining a healthy body requires natural, living foods daily. Artificial food designed to look and taste good is worthless at best and usually full of deadly toxins. While shopping, avoid words like pasteurized, homogenized and hydrogenated. They indicate man-made chemicals your body was not designed to easily process. Even if your body is able to remove these toxins over time, the energy used takes away from other crucial processes. Eat whole vegetables, grass-fed beef and free-range poultry—you’ll like how you feel and perform.
Once you’ve mastered the “Big Picture,” keep going! The application of simple concepts still takes practice and they often require assistance. Maximized Living is committed to providing you the resources and proven techniques to achieve optimal health—body, mind and spirit.