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By Deborah Peddle-Hann
One of the best things I have seen in the last 10 years is the shift in wellness goals. Women and men are striving to obtain wellness, no matter what their age, instead of just losing weight. We are becoming more accepting of our bodies and we have discovered that being fit, strong and healthy, feels better than ‘skinny’ ever did.
But what does it take to live a fit lifestyle? I’m going to share what I feel are the important five foundations we need to incorporate into our lives starting today.
1. Nutrition & Water
I put this first for a reason because if you don’t focus on eating well, nothing else will give you the results you want. Quotes like “you can’t outrun your fork” and “abs are made in the kitchen” sound cliche, but are true. An extra workout isn’t going to cancel out the leftover Halloween treat or Saturday night bottle of wine. If you want to be fit, then you must eat healthy food. Bodies are better able to digest whole foods that have fewer ingredients and by combining carbohydrates like vegetables and fruit, lean protein and healthy fats, you have the best chance to create a healthy and fit body.
And don’t forget the water! A hydrated body is better able to function throughout the day. Studies show that a well hydrated body feels less bloated, suffers from fewer headaches, brain fog and lethargy and generally feels better overall.
Functional workouts are a key foundation of wellness but it doesn’t have to be anything radical. Incorporating effective exercise where you are fatiguing muscles, increasing your heart rate, breathing heavier and sweating, will help keep you fit and strong. Weight bearing exercises done properly will give you strength to carry your body, keep you balanced, prevent osteoporosis and injuries and boost your metabolism.
3. Rest / Sleep
Exercise and nutrition are vital, but unless you are getting the rest you need, your body will never feel truly healthy. It may surprise you, but the muscles do not get stronger while we are exercising. In fact, strength training produces small tears in our muscle fibres. During sleep, the immune system kicks in and repairs the muscles stronger. So, if you experience little sleep or feel stressed all day and night, your body will not have the time it needs to heal and function optimally. Also, we are in cold and flu season so if your immune system is working overtime because you aren’t sleeping well, you’ll find your muscles stay sore longer, or you’ll get sick because your immune system isn’t set up to work properly. Give yourself a fighting chance and build a routine to help you sleep better.
To live a fit and healthy lifestyle means you need to BELIEVE you are a fit and healthy person! Yes, present tense. Joining a program to lose 20 pounds or do 50 push-ups is fine and can be awesome for the short term, but if you want lifelong wellness, you need to view yourself as a healthy person – for life. Joining a program. then slipping back into old habits once it’s over will never create the healthy lifestyle that you are looking for. Nutrition, water, exercise and sleep aren’t just things you need to do to get fit, they are things that fit people do almost every day of their lives.
5. Community / Accountability
This is not universal, but it has been my experience that those who surround themselves with healthy friends or people who are on a similar journey to wellness, tend to live a healthier lifestyle. So ask yourself, do the people around me support healthy living? If you always have to avoid people who eat or drink in excess or are always trying to convince you that “one day off isn’t going to hurt you”, you are going to be in a constant battle between your friends and family and the lifestyle you are trying to create. No, do not get rid of the people you love, but if they are not willing to support you, finding friends or a community of like-minded people that would hold you accountable to your goal0,s and be there to support you will be a game changer. When you surround yourself with people living a similar lifestyle, it makes self-care feel normal, which will make it easier to maintain.
So, I encourage you to start incorporating some of these foundations. Pick one and work your way up. Remember, baby steps forward still move you forward!
You can find out more about Deborah and her Journey to Wellness Fit Camp Community where you can access live fitness classes, nutritional and mindset workshops, recipes, community and more by visiting www.journey2wellness.ca.
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