Best Practices for Health, 1-10

I have 21 practical ideas for you. I'll give you 10 today and 11 tomorrow.

1.  Act your age!
Your physical ability and capacity changes as you age. If you are 20, you can exercise like a 20 year old. If you are 40, you can't!

2.  See your doctor first.
This is especially important if you have health problems AND if you are over 40.

By the way, if you are over 40 and you aren't having a yearly physical, START NOW.

3.  Think in terms of the long haul.
It is not what you get done today, or this week, or even this month. Health and fitness is a long-term journey. Metaphorically, you walk your way to health. You won't get there by sprinting or trying to frontload the journey with high intensity.

4.  So, start slow and easy.
One of the most discouraging things is to hurt yourself early by trying to do too much too fast.

Health is like money. We never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.         - Josh Billings

5.  Health and fitness is INCREMENTAL.
Lots of little steps add up to a great distance. Lots of little changes add up to BIG change. Every time you exercise, you improve your ability to do more the next time. This is one of the great lessons of exercise - do it gradually and incrementally.

6.  Track your progress!
This is essential. It provides accountability. If you want to lose 10 or 20 pounds, you have to regularly know how you are doing. You need feedback mechanisms. If you want to walk 10,000 steps a day (about 5 miles) you need to know how many steps you are walking. If you want to drink 8 glasses of water... if you want to...

The scales is one way to track progress.

A smart watch (like a FitBit) keeps track of many things. I use mine for weight, exercise, sleep, heart rate, calories burned, etc.

And tracking progress is very motivating because you have a record of your progress and improvement.

If your body is not right, the rest of your day will probably go wrong.                        - V. L. Alineare

7.  Set goals.
This is why you track progress. Set realistic goals. You can have longer, bigger goals, but if you do, be sure to have smaller, achievable goals. For example, let's say you have a weight-loss goal of 30 pounds in 6 months. Great.

Now, set a goal for the first month, such as, "I want to lose 5 pounds in 30 days, about 1 pound per week." That is much more short-term. Thirty days from now you will know the results and 30 days from now you are closer to your long-term goal.

There is something very powerful about making goals.

REMEMBER THIS: Goals are your friends. They serve your purposes. They are not absolutes. You can and should adjust your goals as you are in the process. You will have more clarity about how realistic (or not) your goals are as you reach them, exceed them, or fall short.

It is NOT a failure if you fall short of a goal--especially short-term goals. Just make the necessary adjustments.

8.  Get healthy with a FRIEND.
Most things are more fun if you do them with someone. And, a friend creates more accountability. Don't turn it into a competition. Make it a cooperation. Encourage one another.

9.  Get more active throughout your day.
We are so sedentary. Many of us sit at desks all day long. Get up and move around. Every hour, get up and walk around for 3-5 minutes.  If you are watching TV, every time a commercial comes on, walk around during the commercial. If your knees can handle it, walk up and down flights of steps.


Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

Remember that all growth is long, slow, deep, difficult, and particular!

The word particular means personal and appropriate for you. We are all different. Our bodies are different. So are our personalities, our likes and dislikes, our starting point condition, and how our bodies will respond to new routines.

It is important that you discover what is BEST for you and what WORKS BEST for you. If an exercise-fitness-diet program does not FIT for you, you will stop doing it.

And what is BEST for you changes over the years.

I was a runner until I was about 40. I loved running. It did not hurt my knees. Now running hurts my knees (and everything else). So I stopped running. Walking does not hurt. Riding a bike does not hurt (unless I fall off my bike - that hurts!).

You may like to exercise using a sport, like tennis or pickleball or basketball (remember lesson #1 - be sure to act your age on the court).

If you don't know what is BEST for you, than the first few months are experimental. Have fun experimenting. 

That's all for this post.
Which practices can you start to do NOW?
The next post will have the rest of the best practices for being healthy.

Pastor Brian Rice
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