I have been slowly putting together a general advice book for health and fitness. I wrote a couple of posts in the middle of last year related to this which can be seen here and here. Rather than trying to just write it out in a document, I thought I’d write sections as blog posts to see if I actually have enough to put into a small book or pamphlet. This is the first section after the introduction. This is all subject to change, I just want to expand my ideas first and see what needs to be added to, changed or improved.
If you aren’t fit and healthy, chances are that you already know it. You don’t need to be told. If you are reading this then you want to do something about it. That’s good but it isn’t enough.
The first thing, before anything else is to look at your lifestyle as it currently is and ask a number of general questions. Do you get up when your alarm goes off? Do you always try to park as close as possible to the entrance of a shopping mall? Do you drive places you could easily walk? Do you get takeaway or go to a restaurant more than you cook? Do you exercise at all? There are many more but these are the sort of questions you need to start with.
As I write, I know a major problem for me is that I still hit that snooze button every morning. Now if you’re always hitting snooze like me but you walk places you can walk and cook more than you order take out, there isn’t necessarily a problem. However if most of your answers to the above questions were the easy ways out then you have already found what needs to change before you consider anything else.
Don’t even consider joining a gym if you can’t be bothered walking for five minutes or even traversing a car park. Don’t go on a diet if you’re addicted to take out. You simply don’t have the discipline yet so you will more than likely just be wasting money. And you can’t buy your way to health as I will cover later.
The first thing you do is start changing your habits. This doesn’t mean they have to change all at once. I do not offer any quick or easy answers and I will be repeating this a lot. Start with one thing first. If you aren’t getting up when your alarm goes off for example; then start doing it! Do it every day for a week and then for a month. You don’t have to do it on Saturday but definitely start with week days. Make a habit of getting up when your alarm goes off.
Once you’ve done that, move on to something else. What’s another bad habit you have that’s affecting your health or fitness? Try what I mentioned with car parks. So people reading might suggest they park close to save time and not to save walking. I’ve personally found that you get a park a lot quicker when you park further back and you probably end up spending about the same time overall. The big difference is you would have got in a little light exercise in the same time that others spent waiting for a closer space to open.
Look at other things that only you know about. How can you do better? Let’s not be completely negative either, what are you already doing well? Make a note of things you’re doing right and things you could be doing better and start working through it.
It is very important that you don’t try to change too much at once. Don’t overburden yourself or you’ll likely give up without making any progress. Start small and gradually grow and keep in mind that this is for the long-term. Forget easy.
This may seem trivial but these fundamental changes in habits are very important. If you can’t even make an extra effort with something small, how can you possibly improve your overall health and fitness?
This is why this comes first because this is the fundamental test for everything else.