Your Health in Your Hands

Yes, I normally review novels and history nonfiction here, but hey, I can deviate once and awhile on my own blog and this particular deviation concerns health (and I do mention six books below). I haven’t done any official studies or surveys, but is there a trend in recent years of people living healthier and taking control of their own health? I think there is based on growth I have seen in healthier food demands and fitness movements that focus on common sense nutrition and exercise. At the very least I hope this is what I’m seeing.

While debates rage on government intervention in healthcare, what has largely been ignored is the way we, in large measure, control our own health. Genetics plays a part, in some people more than others, but some of us tend to blame our ancestors more than we should. Our lifestyles can also exacerbate or initiate problems lurking in our genes. Truth is, many of the chronic diseases we suffer through are preventable. This has led many to turn to common sense efforts to turn the tide.

To be sure, there are many too-good-to-be-true weight loss and get healthy plans out there. Way too many. Yes, you cut out one entire food group or another or all fat or all carbs, you’ll lose weight. Will you stay that way and be healthier overall? Not always. Common sense plans focus on both nutrition and exercise and the right kinds of each. Eating healthy isn’t rice cakes and iceberg lettuce. It is eating a well-balanced intake from the food groups, learning what is a real portion, what foods we do eat too much of and what ingredients do and don’t do to our bodies.

I have found that knowledge is half the battle. If you know why something is bad for you and what it will do to you, you are much less likely to eat it. And yes, if you care about your health, you’ll have to commit some time to overcoming the learning curve. A great place to start is Eat This and Live for an accessible and simple guide to eating healthy. Top that off with You: The Owner’s Manual and You: Staying Young and your healthcare library is off to a good start.

Then there is all those workout plans. One that actually makes sense is The ABS Diet (which was designed for men and women, but they released a more women-specific version), which isn’t so much a diet as a health plan. Combining good nutrition with a fitness plan that covers all your core muscles. When many people exercise, they focus on one part of their body or one type of routine. In scientific reality, you want to work all your muscle groups. No, you don’t have to be a body builder, but strong muscles are your fat burners, even when you are asleep or sitting on the couch. You won’t see your abs by just doing sit-ups.

You must keep challenging your body or it will quickly adapt and you’ll hit a brick wall. Constantly one must keep evaluating their workouts and adjust. Once you own a pattern, it must be tweaked so it challenges again. The one weakness of the ABS Diet is it doesn’t show you how to adjust all those core exercises, many of which are perfect for doing just that. So stack with it one of the more reasonable interval programs such as the Spartacus Workout and cycle through its seven routines. The ABS Diet will fill in the nutrition and health knowledge that the Spartacus Workout doesn’t mention. Combining the two is a perfect match and you don’t need a gym or much equipment. And so you never get bored, check out Neila Rey‘s 100 Workouts all creative and free to download. Yes, I said 100 and free (though instead of printing all the workouts out, it may be cheaper to buy the bound version). Here’s someone committed to promoting good health.

If not already apparent, you should consult with healthcare professionals before you undertake a radical lifestyle change, especially if you have existing conditions. Nor do you have to implement every change overnight. Ultimately, however, we all must decide if our health is important to us. If we determine that it is, then there is a question you must ask.

What are you going to do about it and when will you start?

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