Posted by Subba Rao
There are a lot of different definitions of a fun and fruitful life, but there are some things we can all agree are an important part of a happy life.
Good health, a decent level of physical fitness, a healthy amount of self-confidence and plenty of energy are prerequisites for reaching most common life goals and staying relatively stress free. The question is: what does it take to ensure that you stay in good health and have plenty of energy throughout life?
1. Keep your calorie intake in check
Nutrition is a very complex subject, and going into any detail about body composition and the right diet would require several books, so it’s best to focus on the basics. There is one simple rule that will help you get about 90% of the results you are looking for – find the right balance between how many calories you eat and how many you burn throughout the day. Find the rough number of calories you need to maintain your current weight, and then you can go 500-600 over or under to safely and gradually change your weight.
If you are skinny and want to gain some muscle and fill up, then you eat more and train hard; if you are overweight, you eat less, train hard and add some cardiovascular exercises to your routine; and if you are not muscular or very heavy, but still have a good amount of fat, you can eat enough to maintain body weight and keep working hard on building some muscle.
2. Don’t waste money on supplements, focus on a diverse healthy diet
Keeping a rough count of your calories will help you hit your target weight, but if you want your body to be as healthy as possible, you’ll need to feed it the right nutrients. Dark berries – red, blue and black – contain antioxidants, various vitamins and fiber, and are a good source of carbohydrates. Different fruit and vegetables have all sorts of essential vitamins and minerals, nuts contain healthy fats, plenty of fiber and a decent amount of protein.
Fish and eggs are good protein sources, and contain some other important nutrients, and other types of meat have their unique blend nutrients. You should mix things up when it comes to your diet, and try to eat a variety of healthy foods, while keeping refined sugars, trans fat and deep fried food at a minimum.
3. Train yourself to fall asleep quickly and get plenty of rest
The biggest problem most people have is not that they have true insomnia, but that they stimulate their minds too much at night and sleep in suboptimal or even bad conditions. If the room is too hot or cold, and if you don’t have a nice comfortable pillow and a mattress that is soft, yet firm enough to provide good support as you sleep, you will be tossing and turning through the night even if you turn of the TV and try to go to sleep.
Before you do anything else, make sure that your bedroom furniture, pillows, mattress and sheets are comfortable enough to allow you to fall asleep quickly. Your room temperature should be mild – don’t heat the bedroom up too much, as you can regulate the temperature by adding or removing clothes and blankets as needed. Don’t spend time watching TV or going online after you’ve had a shower and climbed into bed.
4. Move around throughout the day and do some workouts that get your heart rate up
Walking is one of the most underrated forms of exercise. It is nice, slow and steady cardio which is good for the heart, burns a decent amount of calories, is very easy on the joints and requires no special physical skills. With about an hour or two a day, or at least some short 10-20 minute strolls 2-3 times a day, your body will feel much better and you will have more energy. Spending time outside also means you get plenty of sunlight and fresh air, which are very important for good health. Another 2-4 workouts with heavy weights a week will ensure that your muscles, bones, connective tissue and immune system stay strong.
You don’t have to dedicate your entire life to fitness to reap the immense benefits from the activities outlined above – as long as you are consistent with positive lifestyle changes, even a small amount of effort will yield impressive results. Staying healthy and improving the quality of your life is about doing as much as you can, day in and day out.