What does it mean to be healthy? What does it mean to be fit?
I believe fitness has to involve having the capacity as humans to live and do as we were meant to do, to move, bend, lift, play, laugh, run, throw, swim, walk, jump and simply be.
What does it mean to be human? We have the greatest gift to fully engage in life. My fear is that as humans we have lost touch with the physical connectedness to our world, to our surroundings, and are therefore not fully engaging in life and enjoying it as we were meant to. This brings to me to the greatest point in this post, which is to enjoy the journey!
As in most things in life, fitness is the journey, not the destination! There are so many ways to engage in fitness, and it is a shame if you are forcing yourself to do something you hate. It will never last or become sustainable if you are not enjoying it. The great thing is, there are so many ways to improve your fitness, and many resources to use to help you in your journey. Find something that is a challenge, a certain distance to hike, a fitness class to join. Grab a friend, real or virtual in the online community. Be in the moment, and pay attention to how you feel as you exercise. I guarantee you will always feel better during and after the exercise than you did before if you are doing it properly. Take the time to notice your energy levels, how you body feels more limber, more supple, more “in-tune”, more alive.
Now think, as a human, were we meant to sit on a chair 15 hours a day (Combined sitting at work, home and driving to work)? Or were our bodies designed to give us freedom to move? Everyone, if you are a human, has this capacity.
If you captured a lion, and locked him in a 3’x3′ cage fifteen hours a day, letting him out only to eat and sleep, how would he feel? How long would he live before he died of some “age-related natural cause”? Simply compare the lifespan of animals living in captivity to those living in the wild. Humans are not different. See yourself as an animal, get up and move frequently. Take many “micro-breaks” from your desk throughout the day.
Eat well. If you are tired and too drained to exercise, most likely your diet is to blame. Make sure you are getting enough quality protein and healthy fats in your diet, and reduce the intake of simple and processed carbs. The research and paradigm of health today is shifting towards the control of insulin levels and insulin sensitivity to our diet, and away from simply calorie counting. In this new paradigm, sugar and simple carbs are the culprits of disease. It is easy to see this when you realize that sugar is a drug with addictive qualities and global effects on our hormones.
If it is an occasional sweet you crave, try a natural food. Think of how you feel when you eat a peach versus a donut. Or look at what you feed your pets. Would you give your pet smarties? Why are they ok for you to take?