• Improving your health and fitness can many a times seem complicated. So much information about exercise and nutrition is confusing and conflicting, and there's way too much hype in the health and fitness industry. Before joining any fitness class or making any lifestyle related changes it is essential to understand your own needs. The following information is provided to help you and guide you to make good health & fitness choices. Let me help simplify things for you.

    Why Is Physical Fitness Important? We all know that being physically fit is good for us, but exactly why is physical fitness important?

    Here are the top 10 benefits of physical fitness:

    1. You're more likely to live a long and healthy life.
    Regular exercise reduces the risk of developing lifestyle disorders like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol,stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

    2. You'll have more energy, strength and stamina.
    People who complain that they don't have enough energy to exercise fail to realize that working out gives you more energy. Regular exercise also increases your strength and stamina, allowing you to better handle common activities such as carrying a heavy bag of groceries or climbing a flight of stairs.

    3. You'll keep excess body fat off.
    If you try and lose weight simply by dieting, you'll lose some muscle along with any body fat you lose and you'll slow down your metabolism. If your weight loss program includes exercise, you'll lose body fat without losing muscle and without slowing down your metabolism. If you're currently at a healthy weight, regular exercise will help you avoid putting on excess body fat in the future.

    4. You'll keep your bones strong.
    Both men and women start losing bone mass around age 35. Lifting weights can not only stop the loss of bone mass, but in some cases it can even reverse it. This drastically reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Weight bearing exercises like walking and running also help keep bones strong.

    5. You'll prevent or reduce low back pain.
    Strengthening your abdominal and lower back muscles can help prevent low back pain, and it can also reduce discomfort if you already suffer from this pain.

    6. You'll get sick less often.
    Both aerobic exercise and weight lifting strengthen the immune system.

    7. You'll sleep better.
    People who exercise regularly fall asleep faster and wake up less often during the night than people who are sedentary.

    8. You'll keep your mind sharp.
    Multiple studies have confirmed that regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your mind. Regular exercise improves brain function, which helps prevent dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

    9. You'll improve your mood.
    A large amount of research shows that you have a better sense of well-being following a workout. Thanks to chemicals released in the brain during exercise, feelings of depression, anxiety, stress and anger are diminished during a workout.

    10. You'll enjoy life more.
    Life is much more enjoyable when you're fit and healthy. You look good and feel good and you're more productive in everything you do.

    Why is physical fitness important? Because many of the problems commonly associated with aging are often the result of a sedentary lifestyle and can be minimized or prevented by improving your physical fitness.
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    Beginning a Fitness Program Beginning a fitness program is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Life is much more enjoyable when you're fit and healthy.

    Here are seven tips for starting and maintaining a fitness program:

    1. Check with your doctor.
    If you've been inactive for a long time, or you're over 40, or you have any existing health conditions (high blood pressure, heart trouble, diabetes etc.), you need to get medical clearance before starting a fitness program.

    2. Set goals.
    Goal setting has been scientifically proven to work. Goals produce action. Goals create energy and motivation. Goals keep you focused.

    3. Personalize your fitness program.
    Your fitness program has to be personalized so it can meet your individual needs and goals. It has to be based on factors such as your body type, your fitness level, your likes and dislikes, and your lifestyle.

    4. Make your fitness program a priority.
    Your fitness program has to be non-negotiable. Make time for your workouts and schedule them on your calendar or planner. Don't change your workout plans for every interruption that comes along. Create a healthy eating plan and stick to it. Exercise and healthy eating have to become things that you do without question, like brushing your teeth or going to work.

    5. Start slowly and be patient.
    Many people attempt to do too much too soon when beginning a fitness program, and they burn out or get injured. You need to start slowly and be patient. Don't expect immediate or dramatic changes in your body shape or weight. Getting fit and healthy is not an overnight proposition, it's a lifestyle commitment.

    6. Increase your daily physical activity.
    In addition to your regularly scheduled workouts, increase your daily physical activity. This will help you in developing a healthy mindset and lifestyle. Take a walk on your lunch break, park in the back of the parking lot, take the stairs instead of the elevator. There are plenty of ways to increase your daily physical activity.

    7. Enjoy yourself.
    A fitness program has to be enjoyable if it's going to become a regular part of your life. When you first start a fitness program you may think it's a chore, but the more you keep at it the more enjoyable it will become.

    Now that you have some guidelines for beginning a fitness program, get started with your fitness program today.
    The 5 Components of Physical Fitness There are 5 components of physical fitness, and these components represent how fit the body is as a whole. Some people think that being physically fit means being in good general health. Other people think it means being able to lift a certain amount of weight or being able to run a particular distance in a certain time.

    Physical fitness is considered a measure of the body's ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist diseases, and to meet emergency situations.

    The 5 components of physical fitness are:

    1. Cardiovascular Fitness
    Cardiovascular fitness (Cardiorespiratory fitness /Stamina) is the ability of the heart, lungs and vascular system to deliver oxygen-rich blood to working muscles during sustained physical activity.

    2. Muscular Strength
    Muscular strength is the amount of force a muscle or muscle group can exert against a heavy resistance.

    3. Muscular Endurance
    Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to repeat a movement many times or to hold a particular position for an extended period of time.

    4. Flexibility
    Flexibility is the degree to which an individual muscle will lengthen.

    5. Body Composition
    Body composition is the amount of fat in the body compared to the amount of lean mass (muscle, bones etc.).
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    Creating a Healthy Eating Plan Having a healthy eating plan is just as important as having a regular exercise routine.

    Proper nutrition helps you manage your weight, helps keep your muscles and bones strong, gives you energy, strengthens your immune system, and reduces your risk for developing cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and certain types of cancer.

    But what's the right way to eat?

    Even though there are countless diet and nutrition programs on the market that claim that their way of eating is the right way to eat, the reality is that no single eating plan works for everyone.

    What types of food you should eat, what mix of protein, carbohydrate and fat you should eat, and how much food you should eat depends on factors such as your body type, your health and fitness goals, how much exercise you do, what types of exercise you do, and your likes and dislikes.

    In other words, your healthy eating plan has to be personalized so it can meet your individual needs and goals. The more personalized your healthy eating plan is the more likely you'll be able to stick with it. And that's the whole idea behind a healthy eating plan. It's not a temporary way of eating like a diet is, it's a permanent way of eating that you can follow for a lifetime.

    Here are few guidelines for creating and following a healthy eating plan:

    1. Make gradual changes to your eating habits.
    Don't completely change your diet all at once, as this will increase the chances that you'll give up on a new eating plan. Make gradual changes to your diet and these changes will eventually become habits.

    2. Eat breakfast.
    Eating breakfast provides your body with the energy and nutrients it needs after a night of fasting. It also jump starts your metabolism. Your breakfast should include some type of lean protein and some type of complex carbohydrate. Avoid simple carbohydrates that contain white flour and/or white sugar, as they will cause a rapid rise and then drop in blood sugar, which will leave you feeling tired and hungry.

    3. Eat smaller, more frequent meals or snacks.
    Eating five or six smaller meals or snacks throughout the day instead of two or three big meals will help keep your blood sugar steady, which will help prevent cravings. It will also help keep your metabolism elevated and provide you with a consistent supply of nutrients and energy.

    4. Don't eliminate macronutrients.
    Your healthy eating plan needs to include all three macronutrients - protein, carbohydrate and fat - as your body needs all three in order to function properly and stay healthy. As previously stated, you do need to determine what mix of protein, carbohydrate and fat works best for you, but you should never eliminate any of these macronutrients from your diet.

    5. Eat plenty of fiber.
    Eating plenty of fiber will help keep your blood sugar steady, which will help prevent cravings. It will also help your body better absorb the nutrients from food and help keep you regular.

    6. Drink plenty of water
    Water has plenty of health benefits, including removing toxins and waste products from the body, enhancing digestion, and helping the body metabolize stored fat.

    7. Don't deprive yourself.
    Your healthy eating plan doesn't have to be perfect and it can include some of your favorite unhealthy foods - just don't eat them too often or in large amounts.

    In conclusion, now that you have some guidelines for creating and following a healthy eating plan, get started today on developing the type of eating plan that works best for you.

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