13:09 21 September 2017
How often do you hear people bemoaning the fact that they really don’t exercise enough, they need to improve their general fitness, they should try to lose some weight or a combination of all three? There is even a good chance that you have said it – or at least thought it – yourself from time to time.
The problem is one that exists on both sides of the pond. A study by the Mayo Clinic reached the astonishing conclusion that less than three percent of Americans lead what can be described as “a healthy lifestyle.” While America’s problems with obesity and healthy living are well documented, the truth is that the rest of the western world is not doing much better.
Most of us are aware that we should be healthier, so why do we do this to ourselves and find it so difficult to turn it around? Let’s take a look.
Every January, gym memberships see an annual surge as well-meaning individuals resolve that this will be the year they make the change. Yet by mid-February, attendances are back down to their pre-Christmas levels, and the eager beaver new members are back in front of their television sets with their favourite snacks. Is it laziness, a lack of willpower, or something more complex?
According to health experts from Top Fitness Magazine, there are five key reasons we consistently fail to meet our fitness goals:
Look at it this way: If you want to lose weight, you need to burn off more calories than you consume. Adding a half-hour gym session to the daily routine but not doing anything to alter that high-calorie diet is not going to get you anywhere. You will just end up disheartened and back in front of the TV.
It is easy to create a plan; the tough part is sticking to it. Many of us end up cutting corners or allowing ourselves “little treats” that completely negate any good we are doing. The trouble is that we then kid ourselves that we are doing it right – or close enough – and fail to be objective. If you can’t be honest with yourself, you will get nowhere.
Improving health and fitness is not actually that complicated. Whether your goal is to lose some weight, increase muscle tone or improve stamina and flexibility, there will be some fundamental dietary requirements you need to follow, along with some basic exercise routines. These must form the foundation of your fitness regime, alongside other essentials like staying hydrated and getting enough sleep. You would be surprised how many people try to launch into an incredibly convoluted workout routine, yet forget about these important basics.
Improving fitness is a gradual process that needs constant monitoring and re-evaluation. If you don’t keep track of where you started, where you are now and where you are going, you are doomed to fail from the outset. The trouble is that even if you do happen to be progressing well, you won’t know it and will have little incentive to continue if you’re not keeping track.
Getting fit takes work. It can be hard, it can be tiring, and sometimes it hurts. Many of us shy away from that and treat those 30 minutes on the exercise bike as a chance to think about the shopping list and watch what’s on the TV screen. “No pain, no gain,” is a well-worn cliché, but if you want to achieve results, you need to push yourself.
Now that we are all feeling thoroughly ashamed of ourselves, how can we improve matters and really implement a regime that we will stick to and that will yield results?
If you’ve been getting little or no exercise for the past few years, you might feel that joining a gym is not for you. Stop worrying; the archetypal image of a gym full of bronzed athletes with rippling muscles could not be further from the truth, and your local gym will welcome you and will be able to suggest an appropriate routine specific to your starting point. Whatever state you are in, they will have seen worse!
Nevertheless, some people really don’t fancy the idea, and that’s fine, too. There are plenty of other ways to get more exercise, including running, cycling or just walking the dog.
Part of making exercise a pleasure is being dressed appropriately. Spending hundreds on a pair of designer trainers is not obligatory, but you do need footwear and clothing that gives adequate support or you will face discomfort at best and injury at worst. It is not just about the shoes; your knees, back and other areas can experience aches and pains. This is where compression clothing of the type available in this storefront can be invaluable. It uses modern technology to both support and aid circulation.
Deciding you want to develop arms like tree trunks so you need to spend two hours in the gym doing upper body training every day might be admirable, but if you are clinically obese, find it hard to get out of your chair, and have a 40-a-day cigarette habit, it is not realistic. This is an extreme example, but the point is that you have to come up with an activity that is right for you both in terms of your aims and your circumstances.
At the start, we remarked that most of us feel we should exercise more to improve our physical health, but the benefits go beyond that. Twenty-first century life is stressful enough without the feeling that we are failing to take proper care of our bodies nagging away at us like a toothache.
Make that first step, and you will be on the road to not only better physical health, but also to inner psychological tranquillity. Good luck!
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