These last two years have shown us that life is too short. So, as we begin this new year, I want you to live your healthiest life possible.
For more than 25 years I’ve been giving recommendations to help people reach their dreams and health goals. No longer is fitness about hard bodies or how much weight I can lift. Today more than ever it’s about preventing illness, promoting immunity and improving quality and quantity of life.
COVID-19 has shown that some of those at risk need physical activity, may it be due to obesity or underlying health conditions. The most impactful steps in laying the foundation of a healthy life starts with fitness, followed by nutrition and supplementation, while properly managing your stress levels. Here are a few practical healthy habits I advise we all practice for a healthy start on this new year.
Fitness a.k.a. Physical Activity
If we all just simply moved more. We all sit too much in any day. Moving can positively impact your quality and quantity of life. In fact, study after study has shown how increasing one’s daily activity can have a profound impact. One study found:
- Controlling obesity and being physically active has a positive effect on lowering the rates of Alzheimer’s and dementia up to 36%, and very likely reduces many of the major health problems we have in the world today.
- Higher cardiorespiratory fitness in middle age is strongly associated with lower health care costs, an average of 22 years later in life.
- The cost savings between 65 and 75 years of age was a 40% difference in the high fitness category compared to the bottom fitness category.
This is one of many studies in which we showed the value of high levels of fitness in preventing disease. Other studies showed up to a 40% reduction in congestive heart failure and up to a 40% reduction in chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis.
Nutrition and supplementation
Many times have we heard you cannot out-train a bad or poor diet. Well, no one likes to diet, so I always say we need to eat better. We need to eat for health and physical activity. With the right nutrition you are properly fueled and energized to attack the day. The better you feel the more you get done. The more success you have.
It all starts, however, with fueling your body for success. During the pandemic many gained upwards of 20 pounds. This impact can have a profound effect on your health. In 2022 it's imperative that you learn to eat for you and your health. If you need help let us know and we will schedule you for a complimentary session with our Wellness team.
While we recommend trying to meet your nutritional needs appropriately with food sources first, nutritional supplements can also help bridge the gaps that diet alone cannot.
Personally, as an example, I take a vitamin D supplement. Many known medical conditions have been shown to be related to vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D supplementation reduces inflammation, reduces autoimmunity, reduces cancer cells. I also take two Omega-3 soft gels daily. It has been seen to help with growth, improved brain function, mood and sleep, and reduces the risk of heart disease.
Always consult your physician before beginning any supplementation plans.
Improper management of stress can lead to behaviors that can have a serious impact on our health such as overeating, excess alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and lack of quality sleep. Stress can raise blood pressure and resting heart rate and lead to weight gain, inflammation, muscle breakdown, etc.
Every single one of these things can cause cardiovascular disease, lead to obesity or other underlying conditions such as diabetes, immunity breakdown, and depression. If these factors go untreated, long-term stress can cause catastrophic damage to our health.
Given the impact stress can have on your body, both physically and emotionally, managing stress is a component everyone needs to address in their daily fitness program. While stress is a natural part of everyone’s lives, it is important to remember it’s not stress that kills, but the way you manage it.
If you haven’t taken a long look at the stressors in your life, I suggest you begin today. Stress can come from several areas - some known to us and some unknown. The environment we live in, the people we associate with, can all drain us or sap us out of our zest for life.
In 2022 it's time to cut the bonds that limit us and soar. This starts first with believing in yourself and believing you deserve the best life. Next it means changing some things, so things change. This could be getting rid of the negative in your life: negative thoughts, habits, beliefs, and yes, even people. Go to places like Merritt to be around positive people who are energizing themselves, improving their health and well-being. Go be inspired and even be the inspiration to others. Get around positive people who want you to succeed, to better yourself and to live your best life. We need to be the light in our lives and deserve to shine in 2022.
My word for the year is "elevate", so this year I challenge you to elevate your thoughts, your beliefs, your influence on others and your health and well-being. I can assure you if you do so your life will be so much better and 2022 will be the year of YOU.
Remember, any type of sustained physical activity as short as 30 minutes a few times a week can have beneficial effects on your overall mental and physical health.
To quote Dr. Kenneth Cooper – “Your health is your responsibility—not your physician’s, your insurance companies', or the government’s. Remember, regular physical activity is the foundation of any good preventive medicine program. No drug can replicate the benefits of an active lifestyle!”
This is exactly why I am pushing efforts to promote physical activity be prioritized by public health agencies and incorporated into routine medical care. Exercise is medicine. Not only for you but for all those you love and care about. Encourage them to elevate their lives in 2022 as well. It's amazing what that can do for you emotionally when you pay it forward.
PS: Want to jumpstart your 2022? Here is a quick little circuit for you.
I call it 20 on 22.
Start with 20 mins of moderate cardio activity.
Then do the following circuit (see below) for 22 minutes. Followed by stretching and nice relaxation meditation for 5-10 mins
22 minutes of fun: down as a circuit – 2 rounds 1 minute each exercise as many reps as one can.
- Inch worm to push up
- Squat thrust
- Lateral lunges (4r, 4l repeat)
- Shoulder taps * double count
- Air squats
- Renegade rows
- Step ups
- Plank hold 1 min
- Inverted rows on low bar
- Leg lifts
Do this 2-3 times a week and you can get your body moving for a new you in 2022.