Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Mental and Physical Aspects of Living a Healthy and Fit Life

Recently I spoke to a group of people at an Active Adult Community about the mental and physical requirements of staying healthy, fit, and firm over the age of 50.  I explained that they had to incorporate the following three things into their lives to do so: a positive mental attitude, a fitness program built on strength training, and a healthy diet designed around balance and moderation.

I feel as though I’m qualified to speak on the subject because I’m an ACE certified personal trainer with over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry.  Most importantly, I’m 55 years old and healthier and fitter than I have ever been in my life.  So, I can speak on this subject not only from scientific facts, but also from my experience (proof in the pudding).

A Positive Mental Attitude
I think a positive mental attitude about aging is the first and most important step to staying healthy, fit and firm as you age.  I believe the mental vision you have of aging is what you become.  Your body renews itself every 11 months, and that means every cell in your body is replaced.  I think that if you visualize yourself as becoming weak and frail as you age, your body conforms to this image over time.  Contrarily, if you imagine yourself as healthy and strong as you age, your body continues to renew itself according to this vision.   I always visualize myself as healthy and strong.

A Fitness Program Built On Strength Training
I believe strength training is the most important form of exercise you can do to stay healthy, fit and firm if you are over the age of 50.  Beginning in your 40s you naturally start to lose muscle mass, and if you don’t do anything to combat this process you can lose as much as a pound of muscle each year.  This is not good because muscle is that active component of your body that burns most of the calories you consume.  Also, muscle is what gives your body that fit and firm look.

Strength training has been proven to minimize and in some cases to reverse muscle loss due to aging.  Therefore, I recommend that you build your fitness program on strength training.  A good strength training program should consist of exercises that target all the major muscle groups and should be performed 2 to 3 times each week.  I’ve been weight lifting all of my adult life and I’m as strong and muscular as I’ve ever been.

A Healthy Diet Built Around Balance and Moderation
I was asked by one of the attendees if they could eat fried chicken?  I responded by saying that you can eat anything you desire if you do it in balance and moderation with everything you eat. 
 
I believe balance and moderation in your diet is the best solution to long-term weight management.  If you balance the amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat in your diet and practice portion control you can eat what you want.  Fad diets don’t work in the long-term because they are too restrictive as to what you can and cannot eat.

To practice balance and moderation in your diet you have to know the following two things.  First, how to classify foods into their basic sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.  Secondly, how to calculate your serving size.  If you master these two things then you can eat healthy anywhere. 

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