Some people are blessed with impeccable genetic material. They manage to stay thin and fit with little thought or effort. But if statistics are to be believed, most Americans struggle with too many pounds, not enough exercise, and questionable food choices. In an informal poll of my healthiest and fittest friends I came away with five habits many of them share to get in shape and stay there for a lifetime.
Here, in no particular order, are Five Habits of Seriously Fit People:
They Move. We've all heard that we should park in the farthest space from our destination and walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator, bike to the library rather than drive. Fit people actually do these things. They also tend to avoid the sitting or prone positions many of us find ourselves in as we talk on the phone or watch TV. My friend Taunya Foerster, who owns Edge Pilates Studio in Ft. Lauderdale, never takes a phone call sitting down. She grabs her cell or her cordless and walks or does stairs while she talks. As I wrote in last week's post, I work on my exercise ball when I watch TV. Movement and activity will always be friends of the fit.
They Log. Keeping a journal or diary of what you eat and how you exercise is a great way to understand and modify your food and workout choices. Knowing exactly how many calories you consume or how much and how hard you exercise will help you make healthy choices as you move forward. There are a wide variety of online and downloadable food diaries, many of which are customizable for your unique needs. FitWatch.com offers a number of food and exercise diary alternatives.
They Read. Staying healthy and fit is an ongoing process that requires self-discipline and dedication. Educating yourself about the latest trends in wellness will make your fitness goals easier. There are abundant resources in print and online for information about exercise, healthy eating, and lifestyle choices. One of my go-to online choices is Active.com, "Your Guide to an Active Planet. It is an amazingly comprehensive site that covers individual and team sports, and has sections on health, travel, lifestyle, nutrition, and more -- there's even an Active Singles online dating service.
They Graze. Seriously fit people have learned to consistently make healthy food choices. They have learned that eating six small, nutritionally balanced meals a day is an effective and healthy way to maintain proper weight. These frequent small meals keep blood sugar levels even throughout the day and help maintain metabolism and keep it at a constant level. Eating every two to three hours will prevent you from becoming too hungry and overeating at your next meal.
They Plan. Whether it's a fitness regimen, the components of a healthy diet, or getting enough rest, seriously fit people make plans and stick to them. They make lists and appointments. They announce goals and work toward them. They commit to a course of action. Seriously fit people tend to hang out with others who share their goals. There is nothing like having a workout or diet partner to help you stick to a plan.
Like any worthwhile endeavor, becoming seriously fit takes dedication and comitment. But the rewards of serious fitness will last a lifetime.