Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lifestyles of the Slow and Steady

Is your health routine, if you have a health routine, a lifestyle or a fad? If you don't know the answer to this question, you really need to think about it. You will have your body for as long as you live. That should not be any news to you. However, the health of your body, the quality of your life, is largely up to you.

If you live to be 99 years old, you have a large say in how those years will turn out - as far as your health goes. Even if you only live to be 62 years old, it is up to you how much "life" you pack into those 62 years. Your health, your lively hood, is largely in your hands when it comes to the quality of your days. If you want to live out your years being able to move, being able to be independent, being able to play tag with your grandkids you really need to consider having a lifestyle of health. 

Having a lifestyle of health, or a healthy lifestyle, is when your healthy actions (exercise choices, activities, food choices) easily fit into the day to day routine of your life. A lifestyle of health is maintainable - this is key! Whatever you are doing now to promote your health, ask yourself if it is maintainable. Or, is it a fad? 

Fads come and go. Health fads are no different. Except that when a health fad goes, it can leave you broken and even subtract from your quality of life. Health fads are not usually maintainable; either by choice, or by necessity of cessation. What I mean is that some fitness endeavors, like those seen on the 60 minute infomercials, are not capable of being maintained. They offer flashy results and extreme promises, but they cannot possibly be maintained for a way of life. One particularly popular fitness infomercial that is named for its extreme methods and results is a great example of what I mean. People who attempt this particular DVD follow-along are lucky if they can survive 15 days, much less 30 days. Think about this: If you can barely move or breathe after your "warm-up", do you think you have found a maintainable lifestyle activity? Probably not. You may have found a great way to insure that you hate all things that have to do with fitness, though.

Anyway, when it comes to your health, you need to think about the big picture, or the whole story. Healthy lifestyle choices should fit into your lifestyle, they should be maintainable, and they should add to the quality of your life. If they become your life - if they consume all your thoughts and energy, if they leave you broken at every turn, if they cause you to red-line your body every single time you train, or if they cause you to loathe the food or activities you are engaging in, then what you have is probably a fad (I hesitate to label it a "health" fad, as they rarely lead to health). 

Think "big picture" when it comes to your health. You determine the quality of your life by your actions and thoughts. If your thoughts and actions do not yield positive results, or if they cannot be easily maintained throughout your years, you may want to make some adjustments. If you are always eating food you hate, or if you are always dreading your "movement" / exercise sessions, you probably don't have the true big picture in mind. Set yourself up for success, for a lifestyle. 

Remember, it is the turtle that beat the hare. He maintained a steady pace. The hare just burned himself out here and there and lost site of the goal = winning. 

Your life, the quality of your life, is in your hands. Don't look for quick fixes, gimmicks, or short cuts that will leave you frustrated, broken or depressed. Look for journeys, adventures and lifestyles that will lead you to health, satisfaction, and enjoyment. Be the turtle! You can win! 


Mary said...

Thank you, Tim, for explaining about the latest 'fad' exercise craze I've seen advertised. What you proposed makes sense about how are people going to maintain the their exercise plan after going through such a strenuous few weeks of over-intensive workouts. I like your approach because the 'Pressing Reset' exercises are a good stretching and strength training activity. I'm going to try some of the other exercises from your Fitness Habits and Becoming Bulletproof books. A slow approach is something that I think will work for me and will form a healthy habit; not a quick exhausting fix. Merry Christmas! Mary

Tim Anderson said...


Thank you so much for reading my blog!

I do think that a slow, steady approach is the way to go when setting out to build healthy habits, or a healthy lifestyle. It allows you to see the forest and not just the tree.

Please let me know if I can help you with your journey.

Merry Christmas!