20 Tips to Stay Fit for Life

Sheila Cluff, founder of The Oaks at Ojai

Is staying fit and active high on your list of essentials for 2014?  That’s smart and by doing so, for instance, you could become happier.  It’s true.  Studies prove that working out on a regular basis can help alleviate those blue moods many experience.  More so, improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain make you feel better.

Here are some tips to help accomplish this life-long way of living:

  1. Just five minutes of exercise can increase your mental and physical desire to stay active.
  2. Table tennis burns from 350 to 450 calories per hour, but you must play vigorously.
  3. Swimming is the perfect fitness choice for those who suffer from joint disorders since it is no-impact.
  4. Concerned about the health of your bones?  Choose an impact exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging or tennis.  And talk with your doctor about how you can keep those bones brimming with health as you add more candles to your birthday cakes.
  5. Avoid letting minor setbacks ruin your fitness resolves.  However, realize that you’ll need to back off a bit on the intensity or duration of your pre-stoppage workout.  For every day lost, you’ll have to spend two days of workouts to get back there.  Be wise and avoid a fitness-related injury that could side-line you.
  6. If you must take time off from activity (or just can’t manage a workout for a while), find other ways to stay fit.  Climb stairs, walk everywhere you can, do jumping jacks in the privacy of your bedroom.  Or try a stretching or yoga DVD.
  7. Low fitness levels have been attributed to a health risk factor very much like smoking.
  8. Fight a snack attack.  Have a glass of water.
  9. Prevent muscles from getting sore by increasing your workout speed, weight or distance no more than 2 to 3 percent per week.
  10. Working out with a DVD? Make sure it’s appropriate for your fitness level; make sure it’s challenging.
  11. Buy a jump rope created especially for fitness.  Jumping rope uses about 500 calories in an hour (for a 140-pound person).
  12. Enlist a health and fitness friend to buddy up with you as you tweak your fitness and food plans to stay healthier.
  13.  Make a commitment with friends and family to get out for regular walks with you.
  14. Help Fido and yourself by walking with your dog or a neighbor’s canine.  As with a human, if your pooch has been inactive for a while, slowly build up that endurance.  Make sure your dog is well hydrated, just like you.
  15. Keep a journal of your fitness activities and write about how you feel as you participate.
  16. Consider visiting a fitness health spa this year either as a day visitor or for a longer time.  Choose one where everything is included from the classes to the food.
  17. Take up a fit new hobby like boxing, ballet or ballroom dancing.  Your local community college probably has adult fitness classes offered at excellent prices.
  18. In a study of more than 300 women who lost more than 70 pounds on a balance diet and kept it off had one thing in common:  They all participated in a six-times-a-week fitness activity.  What’s the most popular form of fitness?  Walking.  It could rev up romance, since couples who walk together report having fewer arguments and feeling closer than non-walking partners.
  19. Eat smaller meals throughout the day, instead of three large ones to see if this will help you lose or maintain a trimmer body.  Of course it’s smart to eat only fresh, low-fat and low-sugar foods.  By the way, skipping breakfast may contribute to a weight problem.  How so?  When we’re hungry, we’ll snack or fill up on non-healthy, high-fat choices.
  20. Research has shown that people who view more than three hours of television or spend leisure time on the Internet each day are twice as likely to have more body fat that those who limit TV or computer time (NBCNews).

Every body knows that life gets crazy.  Schedules are tossed out the window.  New Year’s Resolutions become muddled and forgotten.  Yet now that you’ve read these suggestions, it will be easier to stay fit for life.

Sheila Cluff, fitness expert, motivational speaker, master figure skater and owner of The Oaks at Ojai, is the author of her newly released and inspiring autobiography “Living Your Dream,” “Sit, Strengthen & Stretch,” a book of nine simple exercises that can be done at your desk and proven to increase flexibility and core strength, and “Take 5: How You Can Benefit from Just Five Minutes of Daily Exercise.”

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