Most people might define being fit as having rippling muscles, superman strength, and a body-builders build. But in reality, fitness is less sexy and more fundamental. It means having the proper resistance level and stamina to endure sustained physical activity. Peak fitness is that point where you’re meeting your body’s potential in strength and stamina.
And physical fitness isn’t just for young people. All of us should maintain peak fitness – whether we’re the busy young parent, the middle-aged professional, or the older retiree. Keeping our bodies in peak condition is fundamental to good health and a long, quality life.
There’s more to peak fitness than a good build and having the muscles of a construction worker. It means adhering to healthy habits in what you eat, how much rest you get, and a variety of exercise to develop different muscle groups and maximum stamina. It means giving your body what it needs to perform at your fullest potential.
Giving your body a healthy balance of energy-building foods (and their calories) is essential to a good fitness program. That doesn’t have to mean cutting out calorie-rich foods to lose weight. You need calories to have energy. They are the fuel necessary for the most simple task. Fiber is important to a healthy diet and peak fitness. It promotes healthy digestion and waste processing. Fiber-rich foods like unpolished rice, fruits and vegetables, and stone-ground natural wheat fill you up and reduce the temptation to eat too much. Daily intake of green vegetables and fruits gives you the vitamins and minerals that build stamina and help you resist disease. You can’t achieve peak fitness without a healthy balanced diet.
Sedentary lifestyles make peak fitness impossible. Movement and exercise keep you active and interesting. Making physical activity and exercise a daily habit builds stamina and strength and promotes healthy living. People who aren’t active tend to gain weight from fat, and they’re more vulnerable to injury and illness than physically active people. Just ten minutes a day of active exercise will help you maintain peak fitness. That can be as simple as climbing stairs and stretching to working on the treadmill or exercise bike.
One caution: don’t abuse your body in your effort to get and maintain peak fitness. You can overdo it. Your body needs a balance of activity and rest to maintain health and peak fitness. Too much or too little physical exertion are equally dangerous.
Sleep is necessary for your body to refresh and renew tissues and organs, particularly your brain. While individual needs vary, you should probably get at least six hours of sleep every night. A good night’s sleep helps you recharge and helps your body function at its best. You’ll wake refreshed, full of energy and enthusiasm, feeling alive and ready to go. It’s a fundamental contributor to peak fitness.
One way to assess your level of health and fitness is to be aware of your body’s response to stress. First, peak fitness means you’re able to respond quickly to emergencies. Like a well-oiled machine, your joints won’t slow you down with creaks and catches when your at your peak fitness level. Motions will be smooth and comfortable. Second, stress produces illness in less-than-fit bodies. If you have colds, flu, headaches, or stomach problems, you probably aren’t at peak fitness. Stress lowers immunity, and healthy bodies have healthy immune responses that result in fewer, less serious illnesses. Some scientists believe that peak fitness is a great way to prevent more serious diseases like cancer.
So, if you want to get to and stay at your peak fitness level, be sure to eat a well-balanced healthy diet, get regular exercise, and adopt a positive active lifestyle.