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4 Steps for Lifetime Physical Fitness

Fitday Editor
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Lifetime physical fitness isn't an unattainable goal. Lifelong fitness does require a basic knowledge of nutrition and a sense of commitment to wellness and health. But physical fitness, like so many other things, becomes easier with practice. Here's how you can attain a lifetime of physical fitness.

1. Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet means minimizing your intake of fat, sugar and sodium. This doesn't mean you can never eat dessert or drink a soft drink. But, unless you're an athlete, you should limit your daily calorie intake to between 1,500 and 2,000 calories a day.

A healthy diet consists mostly of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. A healthy diet also includes lean meats, such as beef, lamb, fish and poultry; it also includes eggs and low fat or fat free dairy products. Avoid processed, packaged and junk foods. The healthiest meals are those you prepare at home from fresh ingredients.

2. Avoid Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco

The dangers of alcohol, drugs and tobacco are known to many. Tobacco and many drugs are highly addictive, and once you start using them, you may find that you can't stop. If you're already using drugs or tobacco, you should quit; your health depends on it. Your doctor can help you.

Alcohol, when used excessively, can also cause health problems. Men should drink no more than 21 units of alcohol per week, and no more than four units in one day. Women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, and no more than three units in one day. A unit is defined as one beer, one shot or mixed drink, or one glass of wine.

3. Get Moving and Stay Moving

Exercise is key to lifetime physical fitness. You should tailor your exercise program to your needs and fitness level. Aerobic exercise such as jogging, walking, swimming or cycling can help you lose weight, but don't overdo it. Your goal is to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, not kill yourself.

Create time for an organized workout three to five times a week. Choose an activity that you enjoy. If you have trouble keeping your commitment to exercise, join a class or arrange to work out with a friend. It's often easier to keep a commitment when someone else is involved.

4. Try Strength Training

Strength training can help strengthen and tone your muscles, which increases your physical strength and raises your metabolism, meaning that your body will use more calories even when you're at rest. Strength training also improves your balance, so that as you age, you'll be less prone to fall and injure yourself. Strength training also prevents sports related injuries by strengthening your joints.

Even if you don't have much time for an organized workout, it's easy to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. If your workplace is close to home, you can begin walking or biking to work. When you go shopping, park a little further away from the front door, and instead of taking the elevator, use the stairs.

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