“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Exercising consistently is hard. It’s supposed to be. Have you ever pursued something that was really worthwhile that was not difficult?
I am a huge advocate for exercise. It is not easy, I don’t like going to the gym every day, and I don’t like dieting, but they are all necessary if I want to keep my body in shape and make it last into my senior years. I’m 54 now.
I would like to live into my 90s at least and have a good quality of life to boot. I don’t want to be one of these seniors that have to spend more money on pharmaceuticals than food each month. I don’t want to be hooked up to an oxygen tank. I don’t want to be confined to a wheelchair. These are all a reality if you don’t take care of yourself today. Eat good food, exercise daily, drink water, and get enough sleep.
The mind’s health is also something I consider important. My Dad has vascular dementia. Chalk this up to a life of smoking, lack of exercise and a horrific diet composed of small meals my Mom makes, with the rest being every candy, candy bar, ice cream, and snack you can think of. I love my Dad, but all his current issues could have been avoided had he only taken care of himself. This is the “negative example” I use every day when I don’t feel like working out or feel like buying a bag of candy at the market and scarfing it down when I get home.
I keep my mind active by taking online classes, playing video games, and meditating. I also enjoy reading and writing. One of the courses I took on Coursera was Learning How to Learn. In this course, it explains the scientific discovery that your brain builds new neurons when you exercise. This means you can grow new neurons into old-age. Science used to think the brain had a set number of neurons and that was it. With this new discovery, we can keep our minds young and sharp by exercising.
Keeping the mind healthy is also about what you put into your body. It’s ok to have a goody now and then. I enjoy ice cream, a candy bar, or a piece of cake or donut from time-to-time. The bulk of my diet, however, is composed of protein and fat (I’m on a low-carb diet). The brain loves fat. So, does your body. They both need healthy fats to do the business of using enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals. The body needs protein to repair and build things like bone, teeth, brain cells, and all the rest. When your body processes protein and fat it can build up the glucose it needs, without carbohydrates.
Do you take a multivitamin? Do you take any probiotics? Do you take Omega 3 supplements? I do, but with caution. I used to be a supplement junky, buying everything I saw at my local GNC. The problem with this is 1) it’s expensive, 2) there is a lot of marketing hype in the supplement industry with little or no proof that the product works, and 3) they can hurt your health if you make the mistake of taking a supplement that interferes with one of your prescribed medications or take a supplement that overdoses you on vitamins and minerals (yes, you can be harmed by taking too many vitamins).
The best advice I can give you is what I have learned. If you really want to try a supplement, do your due diligence. If you believe the supplement will help your performance, buy it. Then, test it out. Does it do what it advertises it can do? Does it help your exercise performance? If you answered yes to both questions, you’ve found a winner. Unfortunately, I have found that a bulk of the supplements that are out there do not satisfy one or both questions.
Do you feel uncomfortable going to the gym? Fine. Many people do initially. Find a trainer or a friend who frequents the gym and they’ll show you how to use the equipment. You can find tons of videos on YouTube. You can borrow exercise, nutrition, and even bodybuilding books at your local library. Just consider that you are unique. One exercise program will work for me, while it may not work for you. Your exercise program will also depend on the type of goals you have. Read about exercise, do some research online, and find a friend that is in good shape and ask for their advice. You’ll find something to start with. After you’ve been doing this for a while, it’ll be easier. Then it’s about consistency.
I could go on and on about these topics because I enjoy how I feel at the end of the day. I feel accomplished, I feel true to my goals. Most of all, I don’t feel guilty about watching some TV or playing some video games with my friend online, once I’ve knocked out the critical tasks I have slotted for the day.
Until next time…