Invest in Your Health

Healthy-DietAsk any financial planner and they will almost always encourage you to invest for the long term. This means never spending more than you earn and setting a little bit of money aside each month for saving and investing. When applied consistently, this strategy almost always enables one to become financially stronger.

Those modest deposits made each week don’t seem like much to begin with, but over time, the power of compounding kicks in and these small deposits begin to pay large dividends. If the investor has the discipline to avoid the temptation of spending these dividends, and wisely reinvests his profits, he can become financially free. Likewise, making daily deposits to your health will pay great dividends toward physical fitness if you have the patience to commit for long-term success.

These deposits may include 30 minutes of biking or walking. You can start with a morning walk before breakfast. You will feel energized and ready to take on the day. Try to walk outside instead of on a treadmill. The sights, sounds and smells of nature are therapeutic.

Lifting weights to improve muscular strength and increase fat loss is something I believe everyone should deposit into their weekly schedules. Studies have shown that one good set of particular exercises is 95% as effective as doing four or five sets. This means you get the same results in less than half the time. No more excuses for not having enough time in the day. If you have 20 minutes three times a week for weight training, that’s plenty. Remember what Mark Twain said: “You don’t stop working out because you grow older, you grow older because you stop working out.”.

 Foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, sweet potatoes and pastas are excellent choices. I recommend eating five to six small meals spaced three hours apart throughout the day to keep the body perfectly fueled. Use the sugary beverages and colas in moderation and drink more water. A recent survey showed that more than half the country is overweight. Wow! We must change our habits of eating fast food and instead make healthy choices.

Oftentimes, I’ve seen people give up too quickly on making small deposits on a regular basis simply because they aren’t seeing the results they want right away. They search out quick fixes and start buying the latest fads from the home shopping network. Some products purchased over the TV leave many feeling discouraged when they fail to live up to their promises. Remember, the key to living fit, is consistency, making daily deposits of exercise and healthy eating not for a period of time, but for the rest of your life. If your goal is to lose weight or to build muscle, it will take time. So be patient and enjoy the journey toward physical health and wellness.

Personally, I began making deposits toward my physical fitness 20 years ago. I can confidently confess it’s a great way to live. Since I began my long-term investment program in physical fitness, I have built my body up, which has improved my tennis, confidence and overall outlook on life. It can do the same for you. Commit yourself today to start making daily deposits to your health. I am confident that given time, your small deposits of healthy eating and exercise will pay great dividends.

The following exercise program is one that I use when traveling to tournaments. It only requires a partner, jump rope and towel, and only takes less than 20 minutes to complete. It’s a great way to maintain muscular strength on trips where it’s hard to find a gym or if time is limited.

Warm Up

Crunches
Lying flat on the ground, lift your head up and squeeze your stomach muscles. Once the stomach muscles are flexed, release slightly and then flex again, so you are moving in a rocking motion. A good crunch requires very little movement and if done properly, you will feel your stomach burning after only a few repetitions. Try for 50 reps, rest a minute, then 50 more for a total of 100.

Jump Rope
While your partner is doing 100 crunches, skip rope to raise your body temperature and prepare the body for some resistance exercises. After your partner is done crunching, switch positions.

Stretch
Do some light stretching before you begin the exercises.

Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps

Pushups
Pushups are an all-time great exercise, have stood the test of time and are excellent for building upper body strength. If you have a hard time performing a pushup, bend your knees so that it won’t be as difficult. Perform only one set to failure and move on to the next exercise.

Back
Towel Raps
Stand upright and grab a towel with both hands. While one person is pulling on the towel, the other is extending. Concentrate on flexing the muscles in your back while you pull and release. Perform 15 repetitions, then reposition your hands and feet so they are opposite of the first set, and perform another 15 reps.

Back and Shoulders

Upright Rows / Pulldowns with Towel
One person stands while the other sits. The person standing should grab the middle of the towel toward his or her chin while the person sitting offers just enough resistance to make it hard for the person standing to pull slowly, then the seated person will pull down and start again until a total of 25 reps are performed. Switch places so both partners get a chance to row and pull down.

Arms

Biceps Curl / Triceps Pushdown
The person working the biceps first should grip the towel in the middle; the triceps person grabs the towel tight below the biceps persons hands. Both partners must keep their elbows close to their sides and should not move the elbows. Biceps person will curl the towel up, while triceps person offers some resistance. Next, triceps person will push down until the triceps are flexed. Repeat for 5 reps, then switch places.

Legs

Squats
Stand straight with your hands at your sides. Pretend you’re going to sit down in a chair that’s very low to the ground. Be sure you don’t allow your knees to point out over your feet. Instead, bend so your butt goes out like a duck and all the tension is on the front of your legs. Start with 50 reps and go for more if possible. Do them slow and use good form.

Lunges
Starting in the same position as squats, lunge forward until your back knee almost touches the ground. Push off the front foot until you’re in standing position. Lunge forward with the other leg until you perform a total of 20 on each leg.

Calf Raises
Use a fence or wall for support. Lift all the way up on your toes until you can flex your calves. It is useful to stand on a stair for a better stretch. You can also perform one leg at a time. Perform one set to failure.

After your workout, make sure you do some more stretching. This workout is simple and effective. It’s a great workout for tennis players who travel and want to maintain muscle strength on the road. It also can be done at home as a daily deposit to your fitness account. Remember, make a commitment to living fit, do some form of exercise daily, even if only for a few minutes. Eat healthy, nourishing meals. Don’t give up, and you will become more physically fit.

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