I am certainly no expert on fitness and health. But over the years I have learned a few things about the importance of taking care of myself in order to be at my best for me, my family and my work. Here are 8 places to start for executive health and fitness if you haven't done anything about it for a long, long time.
Face it. You're out of shape. You're probably feeling it and a look at the naked person in the mirror confirms it. Inside and out, you probably need some work. Of course the real change happens in your head. You are either ready to make a commitment to do whatever it takes or you're not.
Let's talk starting points. You are not Superman or Superwoman. You are an out of shape, concerned about your health, executive. So start simple. First, get your health professional on board. Make sure they give you the green light to begin implementing these eight steps.
Then head for your local bookstore. In the Health and Fitness section there are a ton of books on the topic. Arm yourself with some basic, get in shape, eat healthy type volumes and read them. Then:
1. Stretch - Those muscles have been so tight for so long they need some warming up. Over time, stretch every direction your body can manage. Stretch everyday. Get up from your desk and stretch often.
2. Build Stamina - Get out from behind the desk and start walking. Build up and even get yourself to run for a few feet. As you keep going over the weeks, you'll find your heart getting used to the good routine. Get outside with the children or grandchildren. They should be able to show you a thing or two about movement. If your fitness to date is spelled s-l-u-g, get up and get that heart pumping.
3. Build Strength - If the most you've done for some time is lift a pen and a file folder, then you are not too high on the exercise scale. You need to move some weight around. No, you don't need a lot of fancy equipment. Again, there are lots of books that show simple equipment techniques that will do you just fine for now. Start working with weights. Build muscle. Turn soft and saggy into firm and buff. (And be content with your age. If you are mid-forties or fifties you probably will not look 25 again. Look like a sharp, really in shape (insert your age) executive.
4. Cut Out Excessive Alcohol and Smoking - You're killing yourself. Period. Your children want a Dad or Mom that outlives them. Stop drinking too much and make today the last day you ever light up. No crap about "I can't stop" or "I need it for stress." Stop and you will have a better tool to deal with stressful situations, your good health and clear mind.
5. Reduce Sugar - Cut down on the sweets. Sodas, deserts, snack foods etc. Sorry. There is no other way.
6. Reduce Salt - We are an over-salted society. Read the labels on your food products. Cut your intake of salt.
7. Improve the Quality of Your Food - What goes in will help determine your health. Make it the best food you can. Natural vegetables are at the top of the list. There are tons of books on good nutrition, so pay attention to them. You don't need the fad diet (and leave those books on the shelf). You are aiming for a change in lifestyle.
8. Reduce the Quantity of Food - Like excessive alcohol and smoking, excessive eating can do you in too. Not you, you say? Look at your portion size. It may be enough to feed two people. Practice portion control.
There you have it, 8 places to start for executive health and fitness. Just start. No, you don't have to look like "him" or "her". Just be you ... a healthier, more alert, more fit you.