Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Chris of Zen to Fitness.
Health and Fitness have always been meaningful to me as I work in the industry and have always been fascinated by the topic. Nowadays I see too many people push themselves too hard, use bad form and quite simply overdo it with exercise or trying to be healthy in the quest to be fit.
We also have a tendency to make health and fitness much too complicated …
From this I came to think about a few fundamentals – things I find really important in living a healthy lifestyle. I came up with just four, sure there are others but these are the ones I feel everyone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle or be fitter should know.
Bodyweight is King. The Squat and Pushup should be mastered before you move onto other weighted exercises or doing resistance training using weights. This is something I have learnt in my years personal training – the majority of people cannot do a bodyweight squat with good form or weight distribution. As for pushups few people can do 10-15 with good form – these two movements are the starting point and should be practiced and strengthened before doing anything else.
The best thing is amazing workouts can be made up of just running, squats and pushups.
Cardio is Great. Not Essential. Some people love to run, others don’t. Some like to go on long bike rides to release stress others don’t. We are all different and this is most true when it comes to cardiovascular fitness and training – some of us love it and find it to be a great tension and stress reliever, while others find it boring, monotonous and strenuous.
Learn to love and live with yourself. If you love doing cardio (running, jogging, crosstrainer etc etc) then do it, if you don’t there are plenty of other ways to stay fit – whether it be bodyweight intervals or playing sports with friends. Find what you are into – the truth is that there are many many ways to gain cardiovascular fitness. Pick what works for you.
Walk Everyday. Find Rhythm. Walking gives rhythm to our lives – it helps us think, re-aligns the body and limbers up the knees and hips. If you live in a city walking should be your main form of transport, I always say that if the distance is walkable do it by foot.
If you live somewhere more remote walking can be harder as it is sometimes hard to gather motivation to walk without a real purpose. Try listening to a podcast or music while walking – this helps time pass by and gives you a time to listen to what you want without distractions.
For optimal health I always say the two most essential things are walking and stretching – neither are to be obsessed over but if you can fit in at least 20 minutes of walking everyday and start or end your day with a good total body stretch out you are on the right path.
Live an Invigorating Life. Last but not least – living an invigorating life is probably the most essential thing when it comes to health and fitness. This means living a life that we get strength or energy from – something that gives us a reason to be active and move.
Whether this energy comes from doing a job you love, being around people you have fun with, travelling or just doing stuff you love. We need something in our lives to gain strength from. Excitement and passion change things up and gives us the motivation to exercise, eat well and most importantly makes us feel good.
I would even go as far as saying one of the best ways to stay fit is just to live life — be active, play with your kids, play tennis, touch football or whatever sports you enjoy, do some bodyweight exercises in the morning, walk lots and eat lots of wholesome food. In all honesty that is how most of the healthiest people I know live.
Integrate the fundamentals then go from there.
Of course it is great to take things to the next level but first gain a foothold on your health by doing the basics right.