Trying to do everything right promotes an all or nothing attitude. So, if you can't do something perfectly (exercise daily for one hour), then you may not do anything at all. That is not good. We need to change our mindset and start believing every little bit counts! Here are "good enough" guidelines for four common "get fit" recommendations.
Fruits and Vegetables - The perfect: nine servings a day. The good enough: five servings because that is all it takes to lower stroke risk by 31 percent, according to a recent Harvard study.
Exercise - The perfect: 30 minutes of cardio-exercise five or more days a week. The good enough: 17 minutes a day. This still reduces your risk of heart disease by 27 percent.
Hydration - The perfect: eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day. The good enough: drink with all meals and in between meals. Consider other beverages besides water (juices, milk, coffee, tea). Foods that contain water, soups, fruits and vegetables, contribute to hydration as well.
Strength training - The perfect: two or three times a week. The good enough: once a week. Research has shown people who lift weights once a week for two months gained as much muscle as those who lift weights three times a week; it just took a few weeks longer for the same results. The key is to slow down. Take your time while lifting to build muscle faster. Allow three to four seconds to lift the weight and three to four seconds to lower it.
And, remember, it's never too late. Small changes matter ... start today!
The Senior Connection is a column provided by the Clinton County Office for the Aging. For more information about services for senior citizens, contact their office at 135 Margaret St., Suite 105, Plattsburgh or call them at 565-4620.