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Why You Can’t Stay Healthy and What to Do About It

Why You Can’t Stay Healthy and What to Do About It

    I’ve been a chubby guy most of my life. When I was young my parents never instilled a good sense of what was the right way to eat and exercise, because they didn’t know, because their parents didn’t know. Candy, fast food, and TV watching were the norms.

    It wasn’t until I got older that I realized my diet and exercise, or the lack thereof, had to change. But it hasn’t been an easy task.

    Meeting your diet and exercise goals can be a tough thing to do, especially if you are setting yourself up with unrealistic ones and haven’t built a framework for healthy living into your life. Here are the reasons why you can’t stay healthy and what to do about them.

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    Your diet and exercise goals are unrealistic

    “I want to lose 20 lbs a month until I reach me ideal weight.” Yeah, you and everyone else.

    Losing a bunch of weight fast is basically what everyone wants to do. Humans are creatures that are always looking for the fast and easy way out of any situation. We have been promised that this pill, this diet, and this exercise gizmo will help us become the man or the woman on the front of the health magazines. It’s all unrealistic, and if you think this way you will more often than not fail at your health goals. And when people fail, they tend to give up.

    Solution: It’s important to have a goal in mind when it comes to your health, but I recommend it not having too much to do with weight loss, as weight loss isn’t necessarily the greatest metric of overall health. What you can do instead is create goals for the number of times you work out during the week or cutting out a particularly bad food by a certain date. The key is to set yourself up for success with  realistic goals. Make them somewhat difficult to reach, but not impossible.

    You have no “health framework” installed

    To stay healthy you have to have a “health framework” installed in your life. This means that you have to have a set of habits or processes that you do on a daily basis. The problem is that most people try to make a bunch of habit changes all at once and end up failing. And we already know where most failures lead to (queue sad trombone music).

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    Solution: People can break bad habits in 28 days and they can also create new ones. Rather than signing up for the gym, getting all new pots and pans and cleaning out your kitchen, waking up every morning to run, and changing your diet to an ancestral one in a couple of days, stretch these new habits out over a few months to create your health framework. This is the most realistic way to stay healthy over the long run.

    You don’t know what you are doing

    Diet and exercise advice is everywhere and people argue about what is right and wrong all the time. “Whole grains are evil. You need whole grains to live. Too much fat will kill you. You need fat to live. You only need 15 minutes of high intensity cardio a day. Work out for at least an hour a day to stay healthy.” You get the idea.

    The problem with this is that there is so much information and because of that you could find yourself having no idea what you need to do to stay healthy.

    Solution: Rather than merely “guessing”, become an informed health aficionado. Read some health research (and not the kind that is sponsored by food and health companies), seek out a good nutritionist and schedule a one-on-one meeting, look for some exercise trainers and explain your health goals. Rather than blindly follow the next big trend in “health science” do a little research to find out what will work for you.

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    You have no support from people around you

    I couldn’t imagine having to live a healthy lifestyle if my wife was bringing home Twinkies and Hohos and eating them in front of me. That wouldn’t work.

    I have seen many people try to make a health change as the people around them stay unhealthy. This isn’t just difficult, it may be downright impossible for some people. Some people are addicted to foods or the thought of certain foods (like sugar). It’s a real problem and by keeping a food addicts “drug of choice” around them 24/7, failure to stay healthy is inevitable.

    Solution: If you want to stay healthy you have to make it known to the people around you. You have to put your foot down and let them know that the bad food has got to go. Another nice thing would be instead of spending quality time in front of the TV (or should I say, not-so quality time), you can go for a nice walk or possible hike in the woods. You have to ensure that the people around you support your healthy lifestyle changes to make them stick.

    The key to staying healthy is to create realistic and measurable health goals and slowly reach them. You have to have a framework installed and to do that you need to know what you are doing. Having a support group around you will then further your success.

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    This way of life isn’t easy, but once you start moving forward it becomes natural to stay healthy.

    (Photo credit: diet for girl via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on August 15, 2018

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

    Video Summary

    Why is it important to train up our core strength?

    There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

    This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

    Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

    In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

    One Exercise, multiple benefits

    There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

    By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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    When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

    Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

    In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

    What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

    What will happen when you start doing planks every day

      1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

      Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

      • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
      • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
      • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
      • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

      2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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        Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

        Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

        3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

          Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

          4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

            Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

            A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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            A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

            On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

            5. You’ll improve overall balance

              Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

              6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                  Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                  How to hold a plank position

                  1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                  2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                  3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                  4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                  5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                  6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                  7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                  Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                  Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                    How to improve your plank time gradually

                    1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                    2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                    3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                    Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                    Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                    You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                    • Prolapse
                    • After prolapse surgery
                    • Pelvic pain conditions
                    • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                    • Previous childbirth
                    • Overweight

                    Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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