Fitness is vague. It’s a state of well being, a feeling of energy and vitality. It’s a level of wellness, a description of health and an ideal most people strive for at some point in life.
What fitness isn’t, is perfect. No one has the physical ability or mental capacity to practice all aspects of fitness all the time. From a dietitian and personal trainer’s point of view, fitness includes nutrition, exercise, stress management, sleep and certain other physical health measures.
The key is determining where you are right now and what needs to be improved. Striving for and challenging yourself to achieve little bits of fitness each and every day is the best way to achieve overall health.
So where does a dietitian and personal trainer start? I work in the field, so you might think I have it easy. And while I definitely have the nutrition and exercise parts down, usually six days a week, even those aren’t perfect. My main faults? Caffeine, lack of sleep, stress management and avoiding the exercise path of least resistance — in other words, getting creative with my workouts. For me, this means less running and more group classes, strength training, yoga and stretching.
What are your little bits? Maybe you don’t exercise at all yet and it means getting up from your desk once an hour. Or working to eventually walk the recommended 150 minutes a week. Maybe, like me, you struggle with stress management. One night, try going to bed 15 minutes early or asking your spouse to turn off his/her beloved television before the sleep timer turns it off. Avoid caffeine after a certain time of day, preferably mid-afternoon, and practice deep breathing.
I recently had a client think she was “hokey” for setting a daily goal of five minutes of meditation. Quite the contrary… I love this idea!
Although I’m not always perfect at practicing what I preach, years of experience and seeing what works for others has led me to suggest a few “little bits” to get you going:
- Take a stroll through an exercise equipment store (I like Body Basics in west Omaha) and pick up a new piece of equipment. It can be as simple and inexpensive as hand weights or, my new favorite, a sand bell.
- Visit a farmers market before they’re all gone for the year. The produce is great right now, and you just might find a new vegetable to try.
- Conquer the goal of deep breathing. Take three slow, deep breaths every hour, on the hour.
- Ditch your expensive pillow if it has broken down. I used to spend hundreds of dollars on pillows just to find that they break down as easily as the cheap ones. My favorite pillow is actually from WalMart!
- Remember: It’s not perfection, but improvement, that we are yearning for.