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5 easy fitness tips to start a healthier lifestyle

Walking Central Park, Personal Finance Slideshow

It’s the full flush of spring, and many people’s minds turn toward getting into better shape. But for some people, the thought of getting into the gym, changing their lifestyle routines and spending a lot of time working out seems too daunting. 

Why not set realistic goals that you can more easily attain? These five easy fitness tips may not turn you into a rock-solid triathlete, but they’ll get you into better shape and will help you feel much better about yourself.

Tip 1: Walk every day

You don’t need a gym membership, a set of weights, or the latest Brazilian super workout DVD series to get into better shape. Just get out and walk. Of exercises known, walking is among the healthiest. It strengthens the legs, improves circulation, imparts benefits to the heart, reduces stress, burns calories, improves digestion, enhances immune function, and gives you an opportunity to get outdoors. I’m not talking about walking on a treadmill in your living room, but actual walking outside.

If you’re not a walker, start with just one mile per day. That’s only 5,280 feet. You can easily walk a mile in fifteen minutes. Can you spare fifteen minutes per day for better fitness and well-being? Sure you can. If you’re a walker, take the time for two or more miles per day. No special equipment is required, just a pair of shoes and a place to walk.

Tip 2: Drink water

Remember water? That’s H2O – the primary material that makes up our bodies. We are approximately 75 to 80 percent water, and we need it to live. Drinking sodas can destroy your health, contribute to diabetes and obesity and ruin digestion.  So-called diet sodas are just as bad and add nothing of benefit to your body. Six to eight glasses of water per day will hydrate you, improve your skin, enhance digestion, aid elimination, and help your body to rid itself of accumulated toxins. So when you’re thirsty, drink water.

And not ‘plastic water’ either. Plastic water bottles contain the toxin bisphenyl A, which leaches into the water. Most tap water in the U.S. is fresh and clean, and cheap. Why pay more for a bottle of water than you do for a comparable amount of gas?

Tip 3: An apple a day

Remember the maxim, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” It’s pretty accurate. It turns out that apples are massively high in beneficial antioxidants which protect the cells of your body from premature destruction. The pectin in apples adds bulk to digestion and helps to greatly enhance intestinal elimination. Apples contain natural sugars and are way better for you than an energy drink or a candy bar. Plus, apples contain much-needed vitamins and minerals.
Find the apple that’s right for you. Like tart flavor? Granny Smith apples are the way to go. Prefer a bit sweeter? Try Fuji or Royal Gala apples. Instead of reaching for an “energy drink” or a pastry mid afternoon, eat an apple. Your co-workers will ask you what it is. Be a leader.

Tip 4: Park farther from the door and take the stairs

What door? What stairs? Any door, any stairs. When you get to the grocery store, the hardware store, or wherever you are going, let everybody else compete for the front parking spaces, while you park farther away. If you have to go up a couple of stories in a building, take the stairs, instead of an escalator or elevator. Every step in a day makes a positive contribution to your health. Unless you are disabled, there is no good reason to park close or use a people-mover. Get used to the back of the lot and the stairwell, and you’ll find yourself a lot closer to the front of the pack in terms of fitness.

Tip 5: Be moderate with alcohol

Think of every beer, glass of wine or cocktail as a glass of calories. Sure, a glass of wine with dinner is basically very good for health. But a few cocktails in the course of an evening slow down your metabolism, reduce brain function, and help you to put on weight. Instead of having that next drink, play with your kids, get together with your friends, or take a walk (refer to Tip 1).

Fitness is not something that you accomplish in a short period of time. Instead, fitness is a lifestyle. When you are physically fit, you have more strength, energy, endurance and overall vitality. Being fit enhances mood and reduces mental fog. If you want to feel good and move in a direction of greater fitness, take the above five simple fitness tips to heart and change your life. And when you have these mastered, go for more.

Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter who researches natural remedies all over the world, from the Amazon to Siberia. He teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is Explorer In Residence. Chris advises herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and is a regular guest on radio and TV programs worldwide.  Chris is the author of 14 books, including Hot Plants, Tales from the Medicine Trail, Kava: Medicine Hunting in Paradise, The Whole Food Bible, Psyche Delicacies, and the international best-selling yoga book, The Five Tibetans. Richard Branson features Chris in his new book, Screw Business as Usual. His field research is largely sponsored by Naturex of Avignon, France. Read more at www.MedicineHunter.com.

Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter who researches natural remedies all over the world, from the Amazon to Siberia. He teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is Explorer In Residence. Chris advises herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and is a regular guest on radio and TV programs worldwide. His field research is largely sponsored by Naturex of Avignon, France. Read more at MedicineHunter.com.