Have you decided it’s time to get off the couch and start treating yourself to total body wellness?  It’s a gift of a lifetime that will not only extend your life but increase quality and enjoyment. No doubt you are completely over whelmed by the constant barrage of health and wellness advice from nearly every media outlet. It has become increasingly difficult to discern fact over fiction, science over myth and necessity over luxury. Wellness experts agree that that while research has indeed uncovered a myriad of ways our bodies react to the environment, the basics on health and well-being have not shifted greatly. Total body wellness is achieved through smart exercising, healthy food choices and the development of rich relationships. Start slow, develop habits and enjoy the journey. There’s no better time than today to get started.

Invest in a pair of quality, well-fitting athletic shoes. Make a commitment to take a brisk walk for at least twenty minutes every day. Take along a friend, canine or otherwise, earbuds for your favorite tunes or audible book. You can simply opt to enjoy the scenery and your own thoughts. The first goal is to develop a habit. Don’t focus on speed or distance, but merely on duration. Within a few short weeks you will begin to feel the side effects. Increased stamina, reduced bloating, developing muscle strength are just a few of the positive side effects of a daily walking regime. After three weeks, begin to introduce speed bursts into your daily walks. After a 5-minute warmup, ramp- up your speed into high gear for 2 to 3 minutes then resume your brisk walking pace. Repeat this every 3 minutes throughout your walk. The goal is to increase your heart rate. The higher your heart rate, the greater the energy burn.

Don’t sabotage your new found healthy walking regime with poor food choices. The single great choice you can make with the greatest impact is to eliminate fast food meals and sugary sodas from your daily food choices. Our metabolisms are simply not designed to process copious amounts of added sugar and sodium on a daily basis. High blood pressure, digestive problems, weight gain, energy swings and diabetes are just a few of the potential negative side effects of large quantities of added sugar and sodium. Take advantage of the awesome deals offered by Groupon coupons and enjoy delicious meals that are well-balanced in vitamins, nutrients, protein and calories from the huge selection available through Weight Watchers. Include large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats in your daily meals. Avoid overly processed food with ingredients you can’t pronounce. The quantity of your food choices is just as important as the quality. Vegetable portions should be about the size of your open palm and protein portions should be about the size of your fist.

Finally, pick up the phone and make arrangements to spend time with a family member or friend. Bury old axes and invest in your relationships. They will be a critical component of total body wellness and will truly add richness to your life!