There are many exercises, daily rituals, superfoods and diets that are emphasised, sworn by and held to critical acclaim (by means of fashion and fads) on a regular basis by health and fitness professionals and the media. We will all know about those modern health-improving ‘necessities’ that are shoehorned into every magazine or weekend supplement where possible.

Blueberries – High intensity interval training – Crossfit – Quinoa – Intermittent fastingLemon juice and water upon wakingReformer PilatesNo carbs dietsInsanity workout DVDs – Hot/cold shower stiffness remedies – Kale, beetroot and linseed smoothies – etc. etc..

To each, his own

It’s no one’s fault that they feel they need to try the above solutions nor that they feel they are missing out when reading an article from Mr Cross Fit or Mrs Lemon-Waters saying that their new method transformed their lives and is the only way to achieve health and longevity. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t get a slight urge to try something that sells you ‘perfection’. I am also not saying that there isn’t a place for the above, nor that they don’t have their benefits.

However, please remember, whilst some people have done something like intermittent fasting for decades, it has only become a new ‘thing’ to do over the last 5 years. Eat your calories once or twice a day they say. One meal with all your calories, and then fast for the next 23 hours. For the people who support it, and who have achieved results with it, they admonish others who adopt the ‘little and often’ policy and say “you’ll never achieve good results doing that old method”. But may I just provide an antidote to this exuberance, please – go and tell Herr Arnold Schwarzenegger, the person at the pinnacle of body sculpting in the 1970s with an mountainous but lean physique, that with his method of eating 7 times a day didn’t provide him with a lean physique. Ludicrous. The bottom line here: to each, his own.

The basics: my grandmother

So, what I would like to do is just remind you of the basics. The basics to help you lead a healthy, balanced life and physique without the hysteria of ‘the next big thing’. Take out the media and focus on a living example. A living example I gave earlier was Arnie; now let me present my grandmother. My grandmother will be 100 next year. She is mentally all there and she continues to walk a few hundred metres into town from her self-managed flat. Yes, she walks with a stick, has a hearing aid and had a cataract and hip operation a few years ago, but go and tell her that her health and mental or physical fitness would have been better and allowed her to live longer if she had eaten kale for breakfast during the war years. She may poke you with her stick if you did.

 

Here are a list of 10 basics that she swears by and that I can only but support with my professional cap on as well as with all my heart:

10 things to help you live to 100

1. Everything in moderation

“Don’t be excessive, obsessive or regularly indulgent. Just do and have the things that you like without showing off to others or going over the top in their consumption. Have something, be grateful for it and carry on.”

2. Eat foods that you make from scratch

“If you work with this and the above point, you will not go far wrong. Don’t worry about excessive fads, don’t buy ready-made foods and don’t believe that cheese or a glass of wine is going to kill you. If you want some bread and cheese, don’t buy rubbish from the supermarkets, make the bread from scratch, buy cheese from the local farm shop, and have enough to supress your hunger. Man made foods and over-consumption are the root of all problems.”

3. Walk, stretch and be active

“Man made foods and a sedentary, lazy lifestyle I should say. Idleness will do nothing for your body or joints; but there is also no ‘need’ for punishing your body. If you enjoy vigrous activity, do it and enjoy pushing yourself if it’s a hobby – but again, everything in moderation. If you don’t want to do high impact activity though, don’t; just ensure you walk every day, take the stairs, stretch when you can and enjoy some recreational activity a few times a week.”

4. Don’t smoke, don’t take hard drugs

“They aren’t meant for the body. They also mess up your mind body at the time and afterwards. Just don’t have them. Something could go wrong when you have them. If you don’t have them, then things can’t go wrong. Quite simple. Oh but wine is fine…in moderation and without excess.”

5. Do things that make you happy every day

“Enjoy your life as you want to, but don’t put others at risk or force them to do things against their will. In the modern world, each day gives you thousands of opportunities, but focus your mind on the little things you like to do: have a bath, read a book, look up your next holiday, whatever it is, make time for it.”

6. Don’t work too hard

“Stress, stress, stress. Work provides a lot of stress in many ways. Some stress is fine. It’s a natural reaction. And work can be invigorating and necessary. But not too much of it. You may want to work hard for money or position, but long hours don’t allow you to actually enjoy the only life you have and see your family and friends. Learn when to put things down and leave them for the day.”

7. Rest, relax and sleep

“Find those moments everyday to relax whether that’s with a walk in a natural surrounding, sitting down with a book with some candles or baking something with your friends. And sleep. Sleep well for 7 hours, think about taking naps if you can, and then get up early each day and carpe diem.”

8. Make time for the company of others you like

“Regular loneliness and a lack of expectation for the next thing you’re looking forward to can really get to you; always have a carrot on the end of a string. Actively schedule something in with those people you’re with for the next time. And you have Facebook with hundreds of friends, use it, it’s a good tool to set a date with someone you haven’t seen for ages.”

9. Crosswords and cups of tea

“Keep your mind active, agile and up with the times. If you’re active with your body, you need to be active with your mind. Read, test your memory and mental skills and keep up with what the technology and fashion of the younger generation – not always to do yourself, but to stay in the present, not in the past. The tea is just a British necessity. Normal tea; milk, no sugar.”

10. Only worry about what’s in front of your face

“Something that was easier in the past without mobiles or the internet but that is rather important and is another way to stay in the present. Only worry about what’s in front of your face because the rest is just in your head. What you see with your eyes is what is really happening in your life. What you read in the news or hear about whatever someone else says about someone isn’t actually happening to you, live, right now. It’s just a mental image. The media love to give you the feeling that all the world’s problems are bearing down on you. Be aware about what’s happening in the world, yes; but until it becomes your direct problem to deal with, try not to worry; after all, it’ll be in someone else’s face or line or work where it’s their job to worry about that and have that covered. And you will have somethings to worry about that others don’t. Thinkabout whether you will miss the bus you can see coming up the road, not the burglary that’s happened in Australia.”


Chris James MA

Director – Head of Fitness and Nutrition

Fitness Body Pro

Chris James
Top Local Trainer Author
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