GeneralBlog banner / March, 20 2017

4 Things You DON’T Have to Do to Get In Shape

It’s no secret that in order to get in better shape (i.e., lose some extra body fat and improve your general fitness) you have to make lifestyle changes.

As the saying goes, do what you’ve always done and you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. But many people still fail when attempting to get fit because the lifestyle changes they made were unrealistic and misguided.

Read on to discover four things people often mistakenly think they need to do in order to get into better shape.

1. You DON’T Have to Follow a Fitness Fad

Things You DON'T Have to Do to Get In Shape

Workout trends come in to and fall out of popularity like clothing styles. And every new workout claims to be better than the last, demonstrating why what’s popular is usually based more on marketing than on science.

Not only do you not have to follow the latest workout trends in order to get into better shape, it’s misguided to do so. Regardless of what’s currently “in style,” you should follow strategies that are based on the scientifically backed principles. For example, if you’re looking lose body fat, you must regularly be burning more calories than you consume. So monitor what you’re eating and make sure you’re getting at least 30 minutes of cardio or resistance training on most days of the week.

2. You DON’T Need to Go On a Super-Restrictive Diet

Things You DON'T Have to Do to Get In Shape

In every fad diet there’s always a specific “enemy.” If it’s not a type of macronutrient (fat, carbohydrate, etc.), it’s a type of food or a list of what’s off limits. Interestingly, some of the foods that are on the no-no list of cure-all diet are emphasised as “good” in a different magic-bullet diet.

If this isn’t enough to highlight why these types of restrictive diets are based mainly on great marketing, keep in mind that — just like workout trends — every few years there’s a new diet claiming to be better than the last. It’s no wonder these diets never seem to gain any credibility among the legitimate medical and scientific community.

So what does work? In addition to practising moderation, follow your personal preferences because this determines long-term adherence.

3. You DON’T Need to Take a “Miracle” Supplement

Things You DON'T Have to Do to Get In Shape

Put simply, there are some supplements that have been scientifically validated to aid in health and performance. However, there is no supplement you need to take in order to improve your general health and physical appearance. The two things you do need to do, however, are:

1. Consume a diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables and high-quality protein, while limiting refined sugars, junk food, hydrogenated oils and alcohol.

2. Participate in some form of physical activity.

You most likely already knew those two things, but the goal of marketing is to make you think you need something more — like a special supplement.

4. You DON’T Have to Be a Gym Rat or Do Extreme Workouts

It’s commonly thought that in order to get into better shape, people must either work out 24/7 or do extreme routines like the ones we see athletes and bodybuilders doing in magazines and on television. This is simply not true.

If you’re trying to become a bodybuilder or a high-level athlete, you must exercise like one. However, if you’re someone who’s interested in simply getting into shape, you don’t have to do this.

A 2014 study investigated the long-term effects of running as leisure-time physical activity on mortality. The researchers in this study found that running, even five to 10 minutes a day and at slow speeds (less than six miles per hour) is “associated with markedly reduced risks of death from all causes and cardiovascular disease.”

Extending life expectancy isn’t the only thing that should motivate sedentary individuals to begin some light running. Exercise also has specific positive effects on the brain.

Scientists once thought that our brains stopped producing new cells early in life. However, more recently it’s been discovered that we continue to manufacture new brain cells throughout our life. And the most potent natural stimulant of brain growth is — you guessed it — physical exercise.

In regard to anxiety, research has shown that physical exercise reduces anxiety in humans. This evidence suggests that active people might be less susceptible to certain undesirable aspects of stress and anxiety than those of sedentary people.

But remember, you don’t need a crazy workout routine to reap all the benefits of exercise. Just get moving and keep improving.

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