Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.
Maintaining your fitness level is something that takes time and commitment. However if you remain fit and put in the work that it takes to do so you can live a longer and healthier life. Many of the age related problems that arise are a result of poor fitness. By taking a proactive approach and doing what is necessary to maintain a high level of fitness it is possible to avoid a lot of health problems before they arise. The key to maintaining fitness is to remain active, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy balanced diet. While this is a simple formula, it is one that is far too often ignored by many people. We have busy lives that are full of work and family commitments. However no matter how busy we are it's important to remember that our health needs to be a priority. What good can you do for your work or family if your health begins to fail you? By maintaining your fitness level you can help to ensure that you will be healthier and more capable of facing the challenges that life throws at you.
The first step in maintaining your fitness is eating a healthy and balanced diet. The key to sticking to a healthy diet is to take a realistic approach. Life is full of tempatations and trying to deprive yourself of all of the unhealthy foods you enjoy is a sure way to fail. Instead you need to learn how to control how much and how often you enjoy treats. Eating a candy bar on occasion won't kill you. However eating a few candy bars a day can definitely have a major impact on your weight. Maintaining your fitness means making healthy foods your priority and eating treats rarely. You should eat a diet that is full of healthy fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and emphasizes lean protein. Experimenting a little can help you to find the types of healthy food that you enjoy the most.
Resistance training is the key
One of the most important things you can do to maintain your fitness is to engage in regular resistance training. Keeping up your fitness means keeping up your strength and flexibility. Building muscles not only allows us to keep up our physical capabilities, it also boosts our metabolism to help burn calories. As we age our bodies naturally lose muscle, one of the most effective ways to fight this process is to train with weights a few times a week. In order to maintain your fitness level you don't need to lift heavy weights. In fact the most effective way to build and sculpt muscle is to use moderate weights and do high repetitions. Make sure that you vary your workout frequently. Not only will your body quickly adapt to workouts, but they will become boring and stagnant for you to do as well. You should do a wide variety of strength training routines, and make sure that you are working out your entire body. Pillates and Yoga are great options, and resistance bands can substitute nicely for free weights. You don't need to go to the gym to train effectively and maintain your fitness level, you can get in a great workout from the convenience of your own home.
Don't forget aerobics
While resistance training should be the key component of your workout program, aerobics are very important as well. Keeping up your fitness means keeping your heart and lungs healthy, this makes aerobic workouts a must. When planning your aerobic routines you should do your best to find options that you enjoy. If you like to ride your bike, then this is a great option that will both give you a great workout and allow you to enjoy yourself. You are much more likely to commit to an aerobic routine if you enjoy the workout. Another great way to keep up your fitness is to remain active during your daily activities. Don't take the elevator, when you can take the stairs. Just by taking little steps you can have a major positive impact on your fitness.
Avoid unhealthy habits
While it should go without saying, maintaining your fitness also means avoiding unhealthy habits. Smoking, drinking, and drug use are three bad habits that can quickly undermine any efforts you are making to keep up your fitness. If you have a problem with any of these areas then it's important that you seek out counseling to help you break these habits as soon as possible. If you are interested in maintaining your fitness then habits that have a negative impact on your health must be broken.
Maintaining your fitness and staying healthy isn't easy. It takes a life time commitment to eating right, avoiding unhealthy habits, and exercising regularly. It can be easy to get derailed and allow your fitness level to decline. There are many obstacles that you will face in life that can make it difficult to keep up with your diet and exercise program. It's important that you find a way to make your fitness and health a priority. Allow yourself to take breaks when you need them, and have a candy bar now and then if you really want one. If you find that your diet and exercise routine has begun to be ignored it's important to recognize this as soon as possible. While it's possible to get back into shape, it's a much harder process than staying in shape in the first place. Remember that keeping up your fitness is about being proactive. You don't want to wait until you start to have health concerns to make healthier choices in life. You want to make them now and avoid having health concerns in the first place. As long as you keep yourself focused on the big picture and realize that your fitness is important you can live a healthy and long life. Keeping up your fitness level is something that must be a priority.