Physical fitness improves mood and self-esteem, helps control weight gain, increases energy and promotes more restful sleep. Becoming physically fit will also lower your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. For all of these reasons, taking 30 days to become more fit is a thoroughly worthwhile endeavor. To remain physically fit after 30 days, you will need to maintain a good diet, sufficient stretching habits and a challenging exercise routine. Visualize some realistic goals, craft some creative strategies and go out there and achieve them.
Getting Good Nutrition
The body relies on the food you eat to fuel it through your everyday activities. If one of your fitness goals is managing or losing weight, you will want to calculate your weekly calorie balance to see if you are consuming more calories than you are working off. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends a largely plant-based diet low in sodium, saturated fat and trans fat. Other potential dietary hazards are alcohol and refined grains. Create a list of sustainable dietary changes, and use it to plan your weekly menus and grocery lists.
Improving Your Flexibility
Stretching both improves athletic performance and decreases the risk of injury during workouts and everyday activities. Tightened muscles are sometimes associated with chronic or sudden pain in the body. A regular stretching routine can help alleviate pain and prevent future injury. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, “The muscles that are most often tight are the hamstrings, hip flexors, calves and chest muscles.” An effective stretching plan will address these four areas in every session.
Improving Your Cardiovascular Fitness
Aerobic exercises are activities that continually and rhythmically work large muscles in the body. Aerobic fitness burns fat and improves cardiovascular fitness. The Centers for Disease Control recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic exercise. Some examples of moderate aerobic activities are walking, bike riding and dancing. Swimming, running and jumping rope are considered vigorous aerobic exercise.
Strengthening Your Muscles
Strength training exercises both burn fat and tone muscle. The CDC recommends at least two strength training sessions per week. Each session should include one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions for each exercise.The type of exercise performed depends on your preference. You can use free weights, weight machines or simply the weight of your own body -- such as pushups, pull-ups and crunches. During each session, be sure to do exercises that focus on each of the major muscle groups.
- The Mayo Clinic: Benefits of Physical Fitness
- The Mayo Clinic: Fitness Basics
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- American College of Sports Medicine: Improving Your Flexibility and Balance
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?