Most of us want to be fit and healthy. Some of us are committed to working extra hard to achieve that because of some recent weight gain. You don’t need an excuse to find the motivation to be healthier and fitter than before. Good levels of fitness can prolong your life and reduce instances of illness. It is even thought to be a great way to avoid dementia type illnesses. And, of course, it helps you keep your weight within the ideal range for your body type.

There are lots of mixed messages about what your body needs these days. It can get quite confusing as you wander from one website to the next. In reality, there are only a few key essentials that it needs. If you remember these few rules, you too can enjoy optimum health and fitness for the rest of your life. Here’s how:

Diet
Feed your body. It needs fuel to function. That includes your brain. Your brain uses glucose to think, dream, focus and consider all the things you experience each day. Your body also uses glucose, but it needs a few other key fuels each day too. Protein will help your muscles stay strong. Calcium keeps the bones and teeth strong. Then there are all the different minerals and vitamins that provide the body with the nutrition it needs to function fully. Most of these come from fruits, nuts, and vegetables.



Every body needs fat. However, there are different types of fat you need to be aware of. Good fats and bad fats can be found in lots of the foods we eat. Generally speaking, any foods that are processed will contain the bad fats we want to avoid. Nuts and avocados are very high in fats, but the fats are the good kind that we need to eat in moderate portions.

Water is an essential part of our diets. You need to be drinking eight good sized cups a day, and more if you exercise a lot. Hot days dehydrate us so you will need a little more water then as well. Water is the best drink you can choose.

Exercise
You should aim to move every part of your body every day. You should also aim to be active for at least 30 minutes a day. This may be taking a walk, or going for a swim. Stretches keep the body supple, and the muscles toned. They can help improve your posture and your balance.

Activity that makes you sweat is good for you. It raises your heart rate and helps the rest of your body too. Your circulation will improve, toxins will be removed, and your digestive system will thank you for it. Aim to do 30 minutes every other day. You might go for a jog, ride your bicycle, or take in a Yoga class.

Exercising can cause injuries occasionally. This is especially true if you fail to warm up and cool down thoroughly. And if you’ve got an injury, you can’t keep up all that daily exercise! Get yourself some physiotherapy as soon as you feel those aches and pains creeping in. Often, some gentle exercises are prescribed, but your physio may also be able to manipulate your body to relieve the tension.

Sleep
After all, that exercise you may be ready for a good night of sleep. Exercise is one of the best things you can do if you ever suffer insomnia. Sleep is essential to our physical, mental and emotional health. It is thought the process of dreaming is essential for preparing you for the day ahead. And deep sleep is the time that the brain files away all your experiences of the day before so you can recall it easily as you need it.

Sleep is also essential for the body to heal itself. Cells regenerate while we sleep. And our kids do all their growing while they’re tucked up in bed too. It’s very important all the family gets plenty of quality sleep. When you’re working on building muscles, you need a day or two between workouts for the muscles to repair itself. Without enough sleep, you may be prone to pain and injury.

To get the best sleep, make sure your room is cool and very dark at night. Eat a good meal a couple of hours or so before bedtime so you are still satisfied when you fall asleep. Use a high-quality mattress that supports the body in whatever position you prefer to sleep. And make sure everything is very quiet, so you are not disturbed.

Mental Stimulation
We all need mental stimulation to be healthy. The brain is constantly active, even when we’re asleep. A good social life is one of the best ways to be mentally stimulated. Conversations and reading body language keep the brain healthy. A good social life and supportive family are also essential to good emotional health. We need to know we are cared for. And most of us need to have someone to care for as well.

Pets can be great company too. Stroking them helps us to relax. And watching them play can provide great entertainment. Many people try crosswords or sudoku to keep their brains challenged and active. Playing a musical instrument can offer even more mental stimulation, whether you are any good at it or not. Furthering your education with a commitment to lifelong learning can be one of the best ways to ensure your brain is performing well.

Hobbies and interests are also essential to our health and well-being. Choosing an activity like a sport that you can do with others can be even better. You might take an art class, or set up a home photographic studio. Having something you can do in your leisure time is much better for you than sitting around watching TV.

The body is a marvellous machine. But like any machine, it needs constant maintenance, the right kind of fuel, and a lot of care to keep it going. Unlike machines, the body can be improved. It can go faster, be stronger, and smarter. Take care of yours for optimum health and fitness.

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