A 12-Step Program

Do you need a 12-step program?

Okay, here it is. I call it the 12 Steps of Happy and Fit Living.

1. Love yourself & spread the love by teaching others how to do the fitness plan. Do the fitness program with your partner or with someone who lives nearby.

2. Be proud of your program, attitude, and appearance. Look in the mirror when you get out of the shower and feel good about it. Hurray for vanity.

3. Love sleeping and love getting to bed early. Early morning workouts are Zen-like and allow you to reduce your tension and nervous energy before your busy day begins. Injury prevention has everything to do with warming up and aligning and toning your body before you put stress on it. Upon waking up at 6 a.m., few break down and get cravings for chips and dip, though, many hit the fridge at 1 a.m., either before nodding off or while visiting the kitchen on a wee-morning-hour binge. If you are fit, have your meals dialed in, and are sleeping soundly, there is no cravings snack time because you sleep right through.

4. Do a steady, long duration aerobic exercise at least once per week. (This doesn’t mean to exercise aerobically only once per week, but rather to do a long duration session at least once per week.) Go for long hikes (2 hours plus), even in the city. If hiking is not your thing, do some other aerobic activity for a long interval on a regular basis: dancing, skating, cycling, swimming (swimming is a tough one to do for long duration).

Doing construction work or hoeing the garden is really not what is considered aerobic exercise. But these long duration activities are good for the system. Remember, aerobic exercise is long and steady with some light huffing and puffing. Breathing demands placed on your system. Your hearth and lungs work steadily, not in bursts like when your dig or do sprints. Can you make your gardening work aerobic?

5. Drink lots of water. There are entire chapters of books written on this for those needing more assistance. Drink before you get thirsty. Your thirst tends to mean you are already getting dehydrated.

6. Get massages from your sweetheart or from a practitioner. This is good for the body and the mind. We in the modern era tend to lack human touch. Get more touch.

7. Fill your cupboards and fridge with good stuff and have no bad stuff available. For some of us, the more healthful brands of ice cream (which is basically sugar and milk fat with some fruit or some plant flavoring–like coffee) is okay to have once in a while if you’re at your target weight AND are in good health with no food allergies to the ingredients in this food. But don’t always have some on hand; cycle it in for rewards. One way to break bad patterns is by not having the option to easily find it.

8. Keep loose and elastic. Do some light stretching during the day and take a Jacuzzi or hot bath regularly. Always do a few minutes of stretching before you go to sleep. Walking outside to get out of the house and stretching using a wall, a post, or a tree is what I have found works best for me.

9. Go on fun trips. Learn about yourself on these trips (even weekend getaways) and do a daily fitness program trying some new techniques.

10. Treat yourself responsibly and with care. Treat yourself as well as responsible dog owners treat their well-walked and properly fed dogs. Care for yourself as well as concourse car competitors treat their cars.

11. Don’t push too hard. Transformation workouts and boot-camp style plans have their purpose. But, once they’re done, you need to find activities that keep you fit. Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard played a lot of tennis which kept him in shape without sparring which pummels the body. He would of course spar before fights. Because of tennis, Sugar Ray would show up to training camp in decent shape.

12. Do some fitness every day! Create the habit. Daily fitness and fitness as recreation both pay big dividends. How can you clash with your confidants and friends after a good workout? You can? Well, come on, you have to admit that it’s harder. How would you like to take your annual physical and have the practitioner say, “You look wonderful”? Fitness for health purposes is not an athletic competition. You are doing it just like you brush and floss your teeth, it’s a daily practice.

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