well, blog-readers, you are now off the hook: the new year's eve resolutions have just gotten easier to comply with. a new book by a Dr. Love - real name, not pen name - reviews the science behind lifestyle change and finds that too many people are putting too much stock on doing too much too soon to get too rapid results....that never last. if it wasn't so common a theme, i would not be in the business of personal training, for much of our work is redirecting the energies of people who have tried in the past and had either short term effect or detrimental effects. of course, some trainers are in the business of promising such skyward results; able to produce them for now, a few years from now, we "real" trainers get the majority of short-term succeeders/long-term failures.
here's the link to the article: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/new-health-rule-quit-worrying-about-your-health/
but here's the gist of it: to be healthy, you only need to make a few changes to your activity and dietary regimens: 3-5 days of 15-30 mins of moderate intensity cardiovascular activity; 2 days of 15-20 minutes of resistance training, most of which can be done at home with a cheap set of elastic tubes with handles; 5-10 mins of stretching the important body parts (more parts if injured, and longer stretches); less simple carbs, less saturated fats, more fruits and veggies, and more lean proteins, including dairy; for special circumstances, a multivitamin may cover most needs but calcium and vitamin D supplementation will help most females, esp if you don't do impact activities, spend time in the sun on a regular basis without sunscreen (which also is one of those moderation guidelines), and are at higher risk for osteopenia/osteoporosis; and drink more water (without additives of any sort - there usually is not enough of anything good and too much of some things unnecessary to spend any extra money on), possibly, if of age, a glass of wine several times a week.
that's all it takes to live healthier. however, to live fit, or to live lean, the rules change; some more dramatic if not extreme measures are necessary and vary according to what one brings to the table. for example, to be fit, some folks need to add weight, even some fat; others need to lose weight, and should be mostly fat that is lost. to be athletic, sometimes extreme workout schedules are mandatory, along with some pretty extreme diets. but health and wellness differ from fit and lean enough that Love's book would be a comfort for the 275 million americans who don't aspire to greatness on the physical plane. and it might be the answer to the american health care crisis as well.