Two Things Needed to Stay Fit

Bill Abbate

Can you exercise, eat, supplement, and think your way to health? You may think so, considering how the health and pseudo-health industries bombard us with endless advertising.

Yet there is no need to eat special foods or do strenuous workouts. All it takes are two simple things to live a long, healthy, happy life.

Health and Fitness

Everyone knows the importance of keeping fit. Why the continuous push on new exercises, methods, supplements, plants, superfoods, and countless other things? Because it is big business!

How big? Following are three segments and their approximate global revenue:

  • Gym industry — $97 billion
  • Dietary supplement industry — $152 billion
  • Health and wellness food market — $811 billion

Worldwide, more than a trillion dollars is spent annually in those three segments alone, with many billions more on diet plans, workout equipment, apparel, health coaches, books, and other health-related items.

The importance of keeping fit and healthy has been known throughout history. Scripture contains references dating back thousands of years.

A century ago, an American newspaperman and novelist wrote:

“The joy of feeling fit physically is reflected in a clearer and more useful mind. You may read and study forever but you come to no more important truthful conclusions than these two:

1.Take care of your body(eat and exercise properly) and your mind will improve.

2.Work hard, and be polite and fair, and your condition in the world will improve.

No pills, tablets, lotions, philosophies, will do as much for you as this simple formula I have outlined. The formula is not of my invention.

Every intelligent man of experience since time began has taught it as a natural fact.” E. W. Howe (1853–1937)

Howe’s two conclusions for being physically fit result in “clearer and more useful [thinking].” When you follow his advice, you will benefit tremendously.

Howe’s first conclusion

“1.Take care of your body(eat and exercise properly) and your mind will improve. “

Modern science and medicine confirm that eating and exercising properly improve brain function. I learned this firsthand after suffering four consecutive widow-maker heart attacks in one day. After two months in intensive care, I was in such poor condition I could not stand without a walker, and my mind remained in a fog for over a year.

Being a serious athlete for much of my life, I worked hard to regain my physical strength, yet my mind was slow to respond. The fog eventually lifted as I exercised my mind by reading and writing.

Thankfully, I regained a “clearer and more useful mind.” and finished writing and publishing my book. Since then, I have written articles almost daily, publishing in several places. This activity helped me regain my ability to think clearly, perhaps more clearly than ever! Exercising the mind is as essential as exercising the body.

I continue to work hard to stay fit through regular physical exercise. Because heart damage keeps me from vigorous exercise, I have learned heavy workouts are unnecessary to maintain peak health. After much study, I have concluded walking and limited use of light weights are all we need to maintain excellent health and live a long life.

Here’s some excellent advice from one of our country’s founders from a few hundred years ago:

“Walking is the best possible exercise.Habituate yourself to walk very far.” Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)

I miss running tremendously, but that is no longer an option. I am so committed to walking I recently got rid of some very nice gym equipment, only keeping some dumbbells. Countless studies confirm Jefferson’s advice that walking is a fantastic exercise and is likely the best. There are also many references to how resistance or weight training is excellent for us as we age.

So far as diet is concerned, I find it best to stick with the basics and avoid as much processed food and sugar as possible. You can try all of the diets in the world, and you may or may not make progress. The best diet is to stick to the basics and portion control. What could be simpler than that?

Howe’s second conclusion

“2.Work hard, and be polite and fair, and your condition in the world will improve.”

Work has been necessary since the dawn of civilization. As Howe noted, working hard and keeping a good attitude is vital to our well-being. Scripture and experience confirm this truth.

Working hard is great for the overall fitness of our mind and body. Keeping an optimistic attitude also aids life tremendously. Notice I did not say overworking or being unrealistically optimistic. Taking anything to the extreme can be counterproductive.

Work can be mental or physical, depending on what you do. I like the wit in the following words:

“Thinking is the hardest work there is,which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” Henry Ford (1863–1947)

I have always believed in the old saying, “Hard work is good for the wallet and the soul.” A few of the considerable benefits of hard work include building your character, success, confidence, and happiness. What’s not to like about that?

Final thoughts

I love that Howe starts his quote with “The joy of …” His mention of joy is so important. When anything becomes a joy, making it a part of who we are is effortless. Joy turns chores into pleasures.

Were it not for the fact that I find it a joy to be able to walk and work hard, it would be more difficult for me to stick with it.

“Find joy in everything you choose to do.Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.” Chuck Palahniuk (1962-present)

Countless people in history have proven Howe’s two conclusions. Give them some thought, and try each. Experience will bear them out.

Why not simplify what you do to stay fit in body and mind? Save your time, money, and effort by doing simple things like walking, cutting out processed foods, portion control, and working hard. You and all those you love will benefit!


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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA
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