Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Three Pillars of Healthy Living

In this day and age, society appears to fixated on living healthy. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it should be noted that there is a lot of misinformation out there. Trendy diets, workout gadgets, and the latest studies on what is good for you and what is bad for you. In my experience, there have been, and always will be, three pillars of fitness: nutrition, cardiovascular training, and weight training. Each of these pillars offers unique and powerful benefits for the human body.

The first pillar of nutrition is the most important element to healthy living. Think of the human body as a car, if you don't put gasoline in the car, it will not run. Take this analogy one step further; if you are fueling your car with high octane racing fuel, then you will receive the performance you are expecting. Should you put low quality fuel in, it will not perform as you would like. This of course is relating to healthy food versus junk food. Eating high quality protein foods, complex carbohydrates, and healthy unsaturated fats is a recipe for success.

The second pillar, cardiovascular training, refers to keeping your heart healthy. The heart is responsible for circulating blood throughout the body. This blood carries necessary oxygen*to cells that require it to properly function. The stronger the heart is, the more blood it can pump. The more blood it can pump, the more output you will be able to receive from your body. Popular methods of cardiovascular training include: running, biking, and swimming. Playing sports is also a great way to receive ample cardiovascular training especially sports like soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and tennis (notice how all of these sports involve a great deal of constant movement which keeps the heart rate elevated for an extended period of time).

The third and final pillar is weight training. This refers to a wide range of physical activities that place stress upon the muscles in order to strengthen them. This includes, but is not limited to lifting weights (dumbbells, barbells, etc.), yoga, and Pilates. The basic premise with weight training is to create some form of resistance against the body. This can be done with weights or body weight. The benefit of using weighted devices is that it will increase muscle mass significantly more than body weight. Using only one's body weight will indeed create muscle but you are limited to how much muscle can be gained by how much you weigh.

Always keep in mind, there are no quick fixes and living healthy is a lifestyle that much be lived everyday

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