Your Fitness Bucket List for 2018

All of us have the list of things of what we wish to do before we die (or in the case of the end of the world).  But usually, it turns out that most of these things, which can be really extreme, are out of our reach because of our poor health.  Staying fit and healthy means being prepared, so it would be a good idea to create a separate fitness bucket list before we decide to climb a volcano. But this list shouldn’t be a one-time thing – it should be a list of continuous healthy choices. It shouldn’t be too extreme, either – you should try to follow your own strength, flexibility, and endurance. Here are some tips how to take it step by step.

You’re what you eat

Fitness is a healthy way of living, but the most common motivation to start is the wish to lose weight. That motivation is as good as any, but it can easily backfire and leave you unmotivated. This can happen when you exercise for a month and lose some weight, only to realize that you’ve put on that same amount in just a week. The key is to keep your weight constant and in order to do that you need to establish your calories maintenance level, which means you’ll have to determine how many calories you actually need during the day.

This number might seem a little cruel, but you’ll see that it can really work as soon as you cut your trips to the deli stores. Your main enemy that brings back lost pounds in light speed has the shape of processed meats – meats that have been salted or that have gone through any chemical process. Not only it has a very high level of calories, sodium and fat, but it’s also linked to cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you cant treat yourself with a hamburger once in a while, but keep it balanced with healthy food. We don’t need to tell you that veggies are good for you, providing your body with rich minerals and vitamins. Add to that a healthy cup of green tea a day and you will reduce the risk of various cancers – lung, skin, colon, bladder, breast, esophageal. One or two tablespoons of flaxseed a day is a great prevention of diabetes, inflammatory diseases like arthritis, and heart disease, due to their healthy omega-3 fats. They are not particularly tasty, but there are great ways to combine them with other food.

Condition before shape

Before you start your metamorphosis into Hercules you need to build up your condition so you can plunge into strength exercises knowing you’ll be able to see them through.  You can start simply by walking, but not just to the store – make sure you do at least ten thousand steps a day. Acquiring a pedometer can be of a great help for that.

Following this logic – ditch the car in the morning. Go to work on your bike. Cycling is one of the best cardio exercises, and it’s even better when combined with nature. It’s like taking a peaceful stroll but with much more exercise and you can do it anywhere, frequently changing the scenery.  Just make sure you have the right wheels for the trip. The internet today allows you to easily compare bikes online and find the one that suits your needs.

While we’re at peaceful nature surrounding we should add that you should definitely try yoga.  Maybe sun salutation poses seem like mumbo-jumbo at first glance, but doing five of them each morning will do wonders for your body and mind.

If you have a really tight working schedule which leaves you with a small amount of time and trapped indoors you can always turn to a good old jump-rope workout, jumping jacks or speed skaters.

Sculpting the body

This is the part where most people make mistakes. We all want almost immediate results, so we grab the weights at the beginning. But that is not the way to do it.  You should always start with exercises where you’re gonna use your own weight. Opposite to the general attitude, using your own weight as a resistance can make you really strong.

Simple pushups are the perfect start. They might seem easy to do, but many people actually don’t do them properly. You need to be in a straight horizontal prone position, with your face down.  If you do them right you should be using the muscles in the triceps, shoulders, chest, abs, back, and even legs. As you can see, it’s a pretty complex exercise after all. Just make sure you don’t overdo it – weights are not the only way to get hurt. It’s good to determine your limit according to your gender and age before you start.

The other most common mistake is that you need to be on the move all the time to work your muscles. But there are a lot of static exercises that are designed to tighten the deepest core of muscles. When it comes to the abbs just try holding a plank for a minute and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

When you feel ready you can start with the weights, but ditch the stuff we mentioned above. The best way to keep in shape is to employ circuit training or CrossFit. It will provide you with the perfect mix of gymnastics, aerobic exercise, body weight exercise and weightlifting. Remember, this bucket list is not a check-list – it’s a path to a healthier life.

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Neha Kava

National Registered Dietitian at
Neha Kava is a National Certified Registered Dietitian in India. She likes to share her knowledge about daily health, nutritition and diet tips. You can contact her on [email protected]

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