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Staying fit in modern times is truly tricky. Fitness and exercise have gone by the wayside for most people, due to the high-intensity lifestyle that they must lead in order to get ahead in their careers. Forget about going to the gym. Who has time for that?
But a lack of exercise has been shown to be more harmful to people than smoking is, so avoiding it really isn’t wise. The solution to this isn’t so much going to the gym as it is learning how to build fitness into a person’s daily schedule. If you count yourself among those who has let your fitness levels slip take heart. Getting back into the swing of things is easier than it sounds.
Here are five things you can do today to get started.
1. Eat the Right Foods
An article on the Men’s Health website highlights the importance of diet when it comes to staying fit. The good work you do actually do in the gym won’t amount to much if you spend your off time eating junk. And junk food, usually means a diet that’s loaded with high amounts of sodium and harmful fats.
Bypassing these food items and replacing them with an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as with grains and lentils helps to fill you up. However, these foods contain fewer calories, which means that you won’t have to work as hard when you do exercise.
Finally, feel free to supplement to make sure that your body gets what it needs. This option and others like it allow you to sneak in the nutrients may be lacking as you learn how to eat right.
2. Movement Opportunities
Modern conveniences, like the elevators and escalators in our work and home environments make it easier for us to be a little lazy. But an article in U.S. News and World Report reminds us that the opportunity for movement exists all around us, the most obvious one being taking the stairs instead of the elevator when the opportunity presents itself.
However, there are other opportunities as well. You can do squats in the bathroom on your break, step up the pace of your household chores a notch, or even go out and play with your kids and your pup. The important thing is to be aware of these opportunities and to take advantage of them when you can.
3. Walk or Bike to Work
Today’s urban areas are supremely walkable (or ridable as the case may be). They offer the would-be urban hiker or biker thousands of miles of sidewalks and bike trails. If you live in such an area, why not take advantage of all that the city has to offer?
If you have to go to work anyway – and probably you do – you might as well make your commute part of your daily fitness routine. Walking or cycling at a brisker pace helps to keep your heart rate up, and if the walk or ride is long enough, it can turn into a full-blown cardio workout.
4. Go Out and Play
Play counts as one thing that modern man has done away with to his detriment. Human beings were made for play and for movement. The challenge for many people is that they associate exercise with work instead of play, which makes it feel like a chore instead of the celebration it can be.
Explore your city by running different routes. Along the way, you can make note of neat coffee shops, little-known historical sites, and yoga studios to try. When you build in an element of exploration and fun, running or even fast walking becomes an adventure instead of a chore.
5. Stay Hydrated
Most of us don’t drink enough water. This counts as one of the biggest fitness mistakes around. Our bodies need water to function and to remove toxins. Drinking water also fills you up, making you less inclined to eat that bag of chips that’s sitting in the cupboard.
If you don’t think you get enough water, do be sure to keep a water bottle filled with water by your side all day. Sip on it even if you don’t feel thirsty. And of course, if you walk or ride to work, then carry a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated as you go.
The most fit people among us incorporate fitness into their whole life, not just when they go to the gym. If you’d like to be more like them, then take the key is to look for opportunities to move and to be healthy in your daily life. Doing things, like walking to work, eating right, and drinking plenty of water count as just some of the things you can do to increase your fitness. The good news is that the effect of these activities is cumulative, meaning that doing them consistently over a long period of time will keep your fitness levels where they should be even if you can’t hit the gym on the regular.