The Five (5) Rules for Lifelong Fitness


After years of doing a certain sport or training, some people become tired, injured, and demotivated, or simply other activities take up the time that was previously dedicated to sport.  Today I am going to convince you to be an active person and for that, I show you the benefits of incorporating this habit into your lifestyle and some tips to achieve it.


Why It Is Important to ALWAYS Be Active!

Being physically active can help maintain a healthy body weight; reduce the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cancer; improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels; strengthen bones, muscles, and joints to reduce the risk of falls; recover better and faster from hospitalisation or other immobility; and improve your ability to perform everyday activities.

Also, frequent activity helps you maintain and/or improve brain health, mental alertness, a stable mood and a better mood.

According to an article in the magazine  “exercise is psychedelic. It expands and alters consciousness. It is an escape from the monotony of real life, bills, deadlines, stress, and neurotic thoughts. It is a narcotic that literally causes the brain to produce endogenous opioids and cannabinoids that make you euphoric.”

I don't know if it goes that far, but I do know that a good workout helps you to relax, to conceive a deep and restful sleep at night. All is right in the world after an intense weight’s session or a hike in the countryside. Food tastes better and you eat with the feeling that your body is worth every calorie. The stress of work is less pressing.  And it is true that training makes you feel more confident about your body, your movements, and your abilities. 

Aspects of exercise that can be unpleasant, such as excessive sweating, burning quadriceps, or the concentration required to lift a certain weight or sustain a very high pike speed, must somehow be learned to "cope".

If we accept to cope with the pain, or at least are aware that it is doing us a lot of good, we will be using it for our own purposes.

Get to know these sensations. Perceive them. They may not necessarily be "fun" or "enjoyable" in the moment, but that's not the point. They are just proof that we are alive and that those trainings are serving a purpose.


5 Rules to Ensure You Keep Physically Active Throughout Your Life

  1. Mindset and Motivation

As you embark on your fitness journey, remember that motivation comes from within. It's about finding your 'why', setting clear goals, celebrating small wins, staying positive, and mixing things up.  Your mindset is key to almost everything you do in life, but especially your workouts. When you're distracted and mindlessly performing exercises, you're not really going to get much out of it. You must approach every workout you do with a focused mind that will help you get the most out of it.

Research shows that the mere thought of muscles moving and working activates muscle fibres even more than if you were to perform the exercise without concentration and attention. In other words, the more you concentrate on the target muscle while performing an exercise, the greater the gains in strength and muscle memory. (study)

  1. Do Something You Enjoy

Some people in the fitness world like to talk tough. They say things like "pain is weakness leaving the body" or "if you're enjoying yourself, you're not training". Point taken.  I know from experience that reaching elite performance levels requires enduring pain, a lot of sacrifice, unpleasantness, and even momentary bouts of absurd suffering.

The biggest advantage of doing something you enjoy as exercise is that you will do it. Since the most effective and beneficial exercise is exercise that you can stick with, this is one way to make sure you get the benefits.


  1. Anything BUT Sedentary

Sedentary lifestyles or physical inactivity can contribute to many preventable chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, as well as to weight gain and obesity, and has also been linked to some types of cancer, such as breast and colon cancer.

People who lead a sedentary lifestyle also appear to have a higher risk of developing a mental health disorder such as depression, insomnia, or even isolation.

Sedentary lifestyles have been identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, responsible for 6% of deaths worldwide. The recommended types and intensity of physical activity vary according to age and general health. But regardless of age, any physically inactive person will benefit from increased physical activity.

It should be noted, however, that some people consider themselves active because they go to the gym for an hour-long aerobics class. The truth is that even if you exercise for 60 or 90 minutes a day, but then go and sit for 8 hours in front of a computer, for an example, you may not be counteracting the effects of sedentary behaviour for the rest of the day.

Sometimes, circumstances in life don't allow us to exercise or train as much as we would like, which is why the expression "physical activity" should be engraved as a mantra in our minds and take every opportunity to move. In my case, all the errands that nobody likes to do in my house like taking out the rubbish or organics to the compost bin, going up or down the stairs with the hoover, going to the shop to get something missing or washing the dishes, I volunteer. 

Those boring errands give me the opportunity to take a break from my work, which is often in front of a computer, to rest my mind, stretch my muscles and change the scenery.  But there are many more things: work in the garden, wash your car, do a thorough cleaning of a specific part of your house, you name it.


  1. Exercise Is Different from Training


A big problem that stops people from exercising is that it all seems pointless. The truth is that going to the gym to lift weights only to put them back down or walking on a treadmill for an hour without going anywhere doesn't make sense at a basic level. But it doesn't have to.

My suggestion is that if you go to the gym to get on a treadmill you make a plan, not necessarily to compete in a 5K race.  But you can make it your goal to train to run 5K at your own pace without having to sign up for a competition.  If you already run a 5K and do it in 30 minutes, then train to get down to 25 minutes.  It is by challenging yourself that you gain the discipline and motivation to keep going. That's when exercise for exercise's sake becomes meaningful and becomes your purpose.

Most of us can't create a life in which regular exercise is a prerequisite for survival (nor would we like to), but we can inject meaning and purpose into our movements by creating our own personalised workout.


  1. Listen to Your Body

Listening to your body is basically being aware, on an ongoing basis, but particularly during your training or sports practice, of how your body is feeling and how it is assimilating the stress you are putting on it with the activity you are doing at that moment so that you yourself can perceive how much more you can demand from it or if you are approaching your limit.

In the same way, paying attention to your body sensations during training allows you to understand how your body is responding, whether you need rest the day after a hard workout or whether you can train again and what kind of training, if you are still tired but have enough energy for a lighter workout, for example.

This mind-body connection is crucial because it allows you to avoid injuries, overtraining, to sense how much rest you need and to let you know the rhythms at which your body works. 


How to Reactivate Yourself and/or How to Transition to Other Activities.

Maybe you were a super athlete and got injured, or tired, or your life changed, and you had to stop exercising, or you have always had a hard time adapting to exercise.  Here are some alternatives that may help you.

Start slowly. Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of activity on most or all days of the week (or whatever your doctor recommends).

Exercise at the same time of day so that it becomes a regular part of your daily routine. For example, you could walk every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 12h to 12h30.

Find a convenient time and place to do the activities. Try to make it a habit but be flexible. If you miss an opportunity to exercise, incorporate physical activity into your day in another way.


Combine Sports or Types of training or Variations to Your Training.

Awaken your adventurous streak.  All humans have it and it gives us the curiosity, motivation, and impetus to explore, learn about our capabilities and test our limits.  This affects how we relate to everything and what is known as cognitive flexibility (the ability to adapt to new environments, new situations, or unexpected things, among other things).

As mentioned above, motivation is key.  If you are bored with exercise, you are bored, not so much bored that exercise is boring.  If you just do the same old stuff, you do the minimum and of course, the results are minimal. But if you are enthusiastic about what you are doing in the gym, in the pool, or on the bike, you will focus more on technique, on-going further or faster sometimes, and in this way, you get more out of the activity and your life is more exciting.

Instead of running on the treadmill at the gym, if it's a nice day, perhaps you can venture outdoors for a run. 

Do you come from a tradition of lifting weights in the gym, and how about climbing the nearest hill this weekend with a backpack and taking a good hike to the top? Such a variation can give you a full cardio and strength workout with the bonus of fresh air, vitamin D from the sun and a change of scenery.

Even if you don't have the chance to get outdoors, your strength training in the gym can be made more interesting and effective just by increasing the intensity, be it volume, weight, sets, etc.  A 2014 study in both beginners and advanced exercisers showed that, compared to varying intensity, varying exercises produced significant gains in strength and hypertrophy in both groups. According to the study's researchers, varying the exercises you do in the gym "appears to produce more complete muscle activation by hypertrophying all heads of multipennate muscles." That is, all the muscles involved in the exercise are developed or toned.  For example, a multi-pennate muscle is the deltoid which is the triangular muscle located in the shoulder and is composed of 3 heads: anterior, medial, and posterior.  These heads join to form a single insertion on the arm.


Are You a Solitary or a Group Athlete?

If you are someone who needs support, that's fine and can be a great motivator to get into the habit of training.

Exercising in a group increases the stress reduction that comes with exercise.

The mere fact of training in the presence of another person reduces the perceived exertion of the exercise.

Train with someone who is stronger/faster/fitter. If you feel that your training partner is doing better than you, it motivates you to work harder.

Men can also train together with a woman, as it has been shown that exercising with a member of the opposite sex also reduces perceived exertion. The same is true for women when exercising together with a man, so it works for both.

You don't have to join a CrossFit box (although that's not a bad idea). Just get together with one or two friends and train regularly. And, besides, the social contact is a nice bonus.

Finally, get inspired.  Read health magazines, visit websites that show techniques or tutorials for the exercises you want to do and the results in people who do them.  Sometimes reading and seeing pictures of healthy people using your approach can motivate you.

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