If I took a quick poll asking: “would you like to be healthier” I’m betting 100% of the honest answers would be in the affirmative.
As we have discovered, there is no downside: you look better, you feel better and you play better .
The trouble is, with so much conflicting information around, how do you really know what healthy is? You probably have a vague idea: More fruit and vegetables? More exercise? More sleep? Less drinking?
But it quickly gets complicated.
Some experts claim drinking moderately is healthy; some say fat is bad while others say it’s good. We are encouraged to get 15-20 minutes of moderate intensity cardio three times a week by some while others say the benefits are greater in high intensity interval training. The list of controversies is as long as your arm.
Where do you start to cut through all the conflicting information?
A good place is with the myths of health that are always untrue no matter what your position. In other words, the things you can ignore and still be healthy.
- Being healthy means having no fun. Contrary to the image, you don’t have to be a martyr to be healthy. You can still have a life. Enjoying yourself is part of being human and it would be bad for your overall health if you were a perfect example of healthy living but unhappy. You would not stick with the plan for long like that.
- Being healthy takes too much time. We all have busy lives and many priorities. Healthy living needs to fit into that, but it can with some forward thinking. There are some simple strategies you can use to fit health into your life without much pain. However, you will also have to learn new habits which can be hard but not impossible.
- Being healthy is just a matter of taking the right pill. If you believe the health supplement advertising you can do anything with the right pill or powder. Sadly, it’s not true. Some supplements can help but healthy living starts with you doing the work, not a magic potion.
- Being healthy is going on a diet. The problem with diets and exercise programs is that they end. The secret is to form a habit instead. Healthy living doesn’t end when you can fit back into your old jeans or got your cholesterol under control. It’s a lifetime habit.
- Being healthy is complicated. You don’t need to be a nutritionist or fitness professional to know the rules of being healthy. However you do need to come up with a set of rules that both work and allow you to stick to them. These are simple as you will find out.
- Being healthy is all spiritual, man. Another false image of health is the guru on top of the hill doing yoga, chanting, finding inner peace and eating alfalfa sprouts. Maybe that works for some, but I prefer the tried and test route of science.
- Being healthy is something you do alone. This is not only a myth; it can scupper your chances of success. The single biggest factor to making a lifelong change in habit is accountability. If you do something alone you are more likely to fail.
Avoiding these myths gives you a framework to work from no matter what path to health you take.