5 Steps to Optimal Fitness

5 Steps to Optimal Fitness


An optimal fitness program is one that includes a wide variety of exercises. To avoid hitting a plateau in your program, amp up the intensity or switch exercises as soon as one begins to feel easy. Dr. Joseph Mercola recommends incorporating the following into your fitness regimen:

1. Minimize sitting:

Research has demonstrated beyond any doubt that the more you sit, the greater the negative effect on your health. Sitting is detrimental even if you exercise on a regular basis and are otherwise fit. It is important to move throughout the day.

Dr. James Levine, author of the book Get Up!: Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, offers a number of ideas on offsetting the effects of sitting. Another approach is to use a standing desk, or standing up at regular intervals. One study shows that walking just two minutes of each hour provides significant health benefits.

Dr. Mercola also recommends trying to walk 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day, in addition to your standard fitness program. There are apps for your phone to help you track the number of steps you have taken. Look for opportunities to walk, like parking farther from the door or strolling in the hallways during your breaks at work.

2. High-intensity interval training (HIIT):

Interval training is the practice of alternating short periods of high-intensity activity with slower recovery periods. Interval training has been established as the most effective exercise method for building fitness quickly, whether you are using an exercise machine, jogging or even walking.

3. Strength Training:

Dr. Mercola also recommends super slow weight training as a form of high-intensity interval exercise. Round out your exercise routine with a one-set training regimen, then increase the intensity by slowing it down.

4. Core Exercises:

There are 29 core muscles, primarily in your back, abdomen and pelvis. These muscles support your entire body, and when you strengthen them, you support your back, increase your balance and stability, and protect yourself from the likelihood of injury.

Yoga and Pilates are both excellent methods for supporting your core muscles. You can also choose to work with a personal trainer to design a personalized program.

5. Stretching:

Stretching your muscles improves your circulation and increases the elasticity of your muscle joints. Stretching prepares your body for activity, and helps your muscle fibers repair themselves as needed.

Incorporate these suggestions into your daily fitness routine, and you will be preparing yourself for lifelong mobility and health.