Each year, we share our top tips for a fit New Year. All of us here at The Stone Clinic try to live these tips and see how we do. We recognize that the usual resolutions are often ignored or forgotten, so we try to recommend activities that are addictive. In a sense, we are “drug-pushers.” We push endorphins, adrenaline, pheromones and testosterone — the natural drugs that make our lives, and our patients’ lives, wonderful.
Here are our Top 10 tips for 2018:
1. EXERCISE EVERY DAY.
Not two or three times a week. Every day. Daily exercise builds the endorphins, pheromones, testosterone and adrenaline — the ingredients of the best addictions. Once exercise becomes a daily habit, you will miss it if something gets in the way.
2. CHOOSE AN EXERCISE BUDDY.
Friends don’t let friends get out of shape. It is just much more fun this way. You push yourself more, and it’s harder to let your buddy (never mind your body) down.
3. BUILD NEW SKILLS.
The top 10 fitness metrics are: cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. Which one of these have you neglected?
4. THINK STRENGTH AND CARDIO; HAVE A BALANCE OF BOTH.
So many athletes are great on a bike, but weak in their trunk muscles; they can swim forever, but cannot lift a heavy object.
5. VARY YOUR DIET.
Most people eat the same things repeatedly. Think about what you eat and how it powers your activities. Can you change the fuel ratios? Try living on a high-protein, low-carb diet for six months and see how you feel.
6. CHANGE YOUR TIME OF EXERCISE
So many people believe they are just not morning exercisers — or that they can only work out after sunrise. Mix it up by booking a trainer for a new time and stick with it for a few months. You may be surprised at the new you.
7. QUIT ALCOHOL.
Just for a while. Almost everyone knows that smoking is fatal, yet most people don’t recognize the debilitating effects of alcohol. It slows metabolism, thereby increasing weight gain. It reduces activity levels and interferes with sleep. Try quitting for three months and see how you feel.
8. START OUT STRONG.
Do a few simple exercises before you brush your teeth every day. Try 10 sit-ups, pullups or pushups a day, with a one-minute plank. They can be done by your bedside upon waking up. Put an exercise ball in your bedroom and do crunches for 10 minutes. Set a goal of developing the strongest abdominal and trunk muscles you have ever had.
9. GET MORE SLEEP.
A lot more. Take naps, go to bed earlier and don’t watch TV in the bedroom. Sleep volume is directly related to physical and mental health.
Laugh loudly, right now! Try it. Feel the smile? That smile will keep you fitter and help you get faster and stronger than you have been in years. So train yourself to laugh. Practice it until it hurts. The pain will produce real gain, and laughter will become synonymous with having a happy new year.
Please share your successes with these tips with us and with your friends. May fitness be your New Year reality.
Dr. Kevin R. Stone is an orthopedic surgeon at The Stone Clinic and chairman of the Stone Research Foundation in San Francisco.