Health and fitness are usually made to seem so complex. If you read a lot of fitness magazines, you’re told a variety of confusing advice. It’s enough to make your head spin.
For example, some health and fitness magazines tell readers that eggs, butter, and meat are all bad for you, while others will tell you those same things are actually good for you. Then you’ll start to hear running is good for you, and the bodybuilding and primal crowds will scoff at long-distance running.
You might also hear that lifting weights is the best way to get in shape, and others might laugh at that. You’ll hear a million different variations of the best workout, how to keep track of your nutrition, how to prioritize your workout sessions, how to measure fitness, and what supplements you need to take.
In other words, it’s enough information to make you want to give up. Fortunately, health and fitness don’t have to be so complex.
The 5 Most Basic Rules of Health and Fitness
As a matter of fact, you can boil it down to five simple rules:
1) Do Something Active Every Day
You need not put in heroic efforts, but you should use your body every day, whether that’s a fast-paced walk, a hike, or an hour in the garden. Decades of studies show that just 30 minutes of moderate to intense daily physical activity lowers your risk for heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression, and many types of cancer.
Exercise doesn’t just help you look better, it also improves your hormone levels, makes you feel better and reduces your risk of various diseases.
Read Also: 5 elements of a well-rounded fitness routine
2) Do Stay Engaged in Life
Involvement in activities you find meaningful and groups you care about increases both quality and quantity of life. Studies show that individuals who have a strong sense of purpose in other words, a reason to get up every day tend to outlive those who don’t.
Other research points to robust social interaction as critical for both mental and physical health.
Stress can wreak havoc on your health, leading to weight gain and various diseases. There are many ways you can reduce your stress.
3) Don’t Overeat
Keeping calorie intake in balance with calories burned is critical. Obesity is one of the gravest health threats in the world. A recent study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine found that obesity has doubled in more than 70 countries since 1980 and accounts for more than 4 million deaths every year.
Another study found that obesity is now the second leading cause of early death, behind only tobacco.
You can’t be healthy if you keep putting disease-promoting substances into your body. These include tobacco and alcohol, but also certain processed foods and ingredients.
4) Don’t Drink to Excess
Excessive alcohol use is associated with a number of chronic diseases, such as liver cirrhosis, throat cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Drinking too much also impairs sleep and daily function. The good news is that if you enjoy alcohol, drinking reasonably one drink per day for women and up to two for men carries minimal risk.
5) Never Smoke
At this point, it’s common knowledge but bears repeating: There is absolutely nothing more damaging to health, wellness, and fitness than smoking. It is associated with dozens of types of cancer, as well as heart disease, dementia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
According to the American Cancer Association, smoking causes one out of every five deaths in the United States, killing more people than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns, and illegal drugs combined. If you do smoke, there is some good news: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your body literally starts repairing the damage caused by smoking within days of stopping.