Obesity is a common yet serious chronic disease that affects many Americans. It doesn’t help that COVID-19 safety measures forced many people into a less active or totally sedentary lifestyle.
According to 2020 statistics from the CDC, there are currently 16 states with an adult obesity prevalence at or above 35%. This is a noticeable increase from the 12 states just the year before. While these reports might seem like vague numbers on paper, they’re a very real health concern that could lead to cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, type 2 diabetes, and different cancers.
Play your part in building a healthier community by having a physical wellness checklist. Take a look at the various factors that contribute to your healthiest self:
Get Physically Active
Sedentary behavior — sitting up or lying down throughout the day — doesn’t just make you feel heavy. The lack of physical activity could actually shorten your lifespan and expose you to a wider range of medical problems like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Additionally, your body is like a machine that needs regular care and maintenance so that you can keep moving around easily. Take a look at the different ways you can increase physical activity:
- Take the stairs, instead of the elevator
- Run on a treadmill while you’re watching TV
- Go for a walk in the park for at least 30 minutes every day
- Doing stretches or lifting small weights on your desk, in between work
- Getting up from your computer every hour and walk around for two minutes
People who are 18 years and older should strive for at least 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity or 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. Older adults who suffer from poor mobility should participate in physical activity at least three times a week to improve their balance and prevent falls.
You’ll sweat a lot. But it’s better to feel tired from physical activity than feel worse from a health problem.
Observe a Healthy Diet
Eating a well-balanced diet is just as important as staying physically active if you want to achieve your healthiest self. One way you can do this is by subscribing to an affordable meal plan. This way, you don’t have to think about buying groceries and preparing every meal for yourself.
But if you want to have greater control over what you eat, or if you can’t avoid the occasional lunch dates and dinner parties, you have to be mindful of your dietary intake.
Here are some reminders that help you maintain a healthy diet:
- Cut back on your sugar and sodium intake
- Pick food with no added salt and little or no added sugar
- Reduce your intake of saturated fats like butter and palm oil
- Opt for complex carbs like whole-grain bread and starch vegetables
- Add more fiber, protein, whole grains, whole fruits, and vegetables to your diet
On a related note, you have to observe your metabolism. It naturally slows down as people age. As a result, it gets more difficult for older people to burn calories and maintain lean muscle mass.
Stimulate your metabolism by committing to a nutritional diet, limiting your snacks, and drinking plenty of water. Physical activity and adequate sleep also contribute to better metabolism.
Be Mindful of Your Lifestyle
Fitness involves more than your physical activity and dietary habits. Your mindset and habits also play a part in it. So, the third part of your physical fitness checklist is all about mindfulness.
You might have already made a resolution to eat better, sleep regularly, and exercise more often. But to build h healthy habits that stick, here are some things you can do:
- Set realistic fitness goals and make a concrete plan of how to achieve them
- Add walking breaks, take the stairs, and move more throughout the day
- Remove temptations like junk food and alcohol from your pantry
- Surround yourself with supportive and like-minded individuals
- Track your progress and patiently wait for the results to show
If it would help for you to keep food, physical activity, and healthy habits diary, do so. It could help you establish a routine that will be good for your mind and body in the long run.
Have the discipline to implement physical health habits. Go easy on your sugar and salt intake. Eat measured portions. Go for brisk walks and bike rides when you can. Sleep adequately and regularly.
These efforts don’t just contribute to your fitness goals. They also boost your energy, decrease your stress levels, and lower your risk of diseases, resulting in greater quality of life.