Having a healthy body is a critical part of living a fulfilling life. Unfortunately here in the United States the majority of Americans neglect to take care of their bodies. Obesity is one of the leading health problems in the U.S. Studies have found that over two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.
When I was in my early 20’s I could eat anything and everything I wanted and wouldn’t gain a single pound. I played soccer in college and ran almost every day. On average I would eat over 5,000 calories a day. I was an eating machine!
Unfortunately when I graduated from college, and was no longer playing soccer, I continued my typical eating routine. This caught up to me pretty fast. Over the next few years I would eventually put on over 35 pounds. I found that I was tired all the time, had high blood pressure, chest and stomach pains and head aches.
I remember the day that I decided to make some major changes for my health. I was getting dressed in the morning and could barely fit into my 38 inch waist jeans. They were so tight they were digging into my stomach, so I decided that I would head over to Target and buy a few new pairs of jeans that were a little bigger. I got to Target, went to the men’s section and started looking at the jeans. I found a few pairs that would work and then it hit me…I’m a size 40?!?! WHAT? When I was in shape and taking care of myself I was a size 30 or 32! How did this happen? I realized that I was overweight…obese. I refused to buy the jeans. I went straight over to the gym in my skin-tight 38 inch pants and signed up for a membership and for a personal trainer. I realized that I only have one body, so I need to take care of it. This was the beginning of my journey to lose the weight and become healthy again.
I believe that having a healthy body is the starting point to living your dreams, achieving what you want to achieve, and living a happier, healthier life. Here are some tips for taking care of your body:
1. Make Exercise A Priority
The majority of people don’t take time to exercise. It is recommended that you are supposed to work out for 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, or a combination of both.
A study linked physical inactivity to more than 5 million deaths worldwide per year, more than those caused by smoking. The study also revealed that only 20.6 percent of people actually met the recommended amounts of exercise.
It is important to find physical activities that you love to do to stay in shape. I personally don’t care for running or lifting weights, and I don’t believe they are for everyone. The thought of running on a treadmill for a half hour makes me sick to stomach. If you’re like me and you don’t care to go to the gym, lifting weights or run there are other activities for you to get your exercise fix. It’s easier to work out when you enjoy it! Find an activity that you love so that you’ll be more motivated to go and work out. Try out yoga, play basketball, take dance lessons, play hockey, try crossfit, start biking, take boxing lessons or try martial arts! There are so many things you can do to stay in shape…try them all until find something that you love.
I found that training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a perfect fit for me. It’s an extremely intense work out and it is very challenging. One thing that I enjoy about jiu-jitsu is that you are always learning new techniques and skills. It’s challenging both physically and mentally. I still take time to run on occasion and I’ll lift weights as well but only to supplement my jiu-jitsu training. I typically train in jiu-jitsu 3 to 4 times a week, sometimes for 2.5 hours a session.
Because I love jiu-jitsu, I make time to go to train. Find an activity that you love and make it a priority to take the time and stick to it. Make it part of your routine!
2. Go To Sleep!
How many hours of sleep do you get a night? Experts typically recommend 7 to 9 hours sleep for adults.
Currently, only 59% of U.S. adults get their 7 hours of sleep a night. That means 4 out of 10 Americans get less than the recommended amount of nightly sleep.
Studies have shown that if you don’t get enough sleep you will be less productive, more moody and are more prone to stress and anxiety…So get those 7 hours!
I usually get right around 7.5 hours of sleep a night. If I get any less than 7.5 hours I feel off the rest of the day. I find that I can’t think as clearly and my productivity goes way down!
If you have a difficult time getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night don’t drink anything with caffeine in it after 2:00 pm and don’t watch TV while you’re in bed. You will sleep better and fall asleep faster!
3. Eat Healthy
Americans are in denial about their eating habits. According to a recent study:
- 89.7 percent of Americans described their diet as “somewhat” healthy (52.6 percent), “very” Healthy (31.5 percent), or “extremely” healthy (5.6 percent).
That means that 9 out of 10 Americans think that they eat a “somewhat” healthy diet! Pretty shocking when you consider that over two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.
We are always on the go and we eat foods that are processed, quick and convenient. unfortunately these foods are horrible for you. What you eat impacts both your short-term and long-term health. By eating healthy you will get the right balance vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Eating healthy is one of the best things you can do to prevent the onset of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and even cancer!
If you are trying to lose weight, what you eat will play the biggest part in your weight loss. I used to eat very unhealthy. I would eat fast food for lunch almost every day. As soon as I stopped eating fast food for lunch and I started eating healthy I lost close to 20 pounds.
I am not a big fan of people doing diets. The majority of people who I know who go on a diet end up losing weight, but as soon as they stop the diet they put back on all of the weight that they lost. Why do that to yourself? Rather than going on a diet you need to make the conscious effort to make a lifestyle change and choose to eat healthy for the rest of your life! A diet is temporary, a lifestyle change is permanent. The only way to lose the weight and keep it off is to change your eating habits permanently to healthy eating habits!
Just remember the saying, “You are what you eat” because it’s true!
4. Drink Water
For your body to function properly, you must drink lots of water. The saying that you should drink 8 cups of water a day is wrong! So how much water should you drink a day?
The Institute of Medicine determined that men should drink about 13 cups of water a day and women should drink about 9 cups a day.
Unfortunately, the average American only drinks 3.9 cups of water a day. That’s not even close to enough water!
Drinking the right amount of water everyday has tons of health benefits including preventing cramping, flushing out toxins, boosts your immune system, promotes weight loss, increases energy levels and even relieves headaches! Pretty neat huh?
5. Skip The Sugar
Eating too much sugar is linked to weight gain and various diseases like obesity, type II diabetes, cancer and heart disease. The average American consumes over 130 pounds of sugar a year! That’s 3 pounds of sugar a week!!
Did you know that sugar is as addictive as cocaine! My wife and I decided to give up sugar almost a year ago. When we stopped eating sugar we had some serious withdraw symptoms. We both had major headaches and it took almost 2 weeks to get completely adjusted to a life without sugar. But it was totally worth it! We now feel better, have more energy and don’t get sick as often.
The best way to cut back on sugar is to simply processed foods and satisfy your sweet tooth with fruits instead.
If you aren’t taking care of your body as well as you should, start today…It’s The Only One You Have!