11 Tips for Better Fitness and Health from Dean Karnazes


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In general, to stay healthy and fit move your body every day. Getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day is a proven way to stay healthy and improve your fitness. Walk, run, ride a bike, or take a yoga class. Or run a ton of marathons like I do. It all counts.

Here are 11 of the ways I work to achieve better health and fitness.

Sleep

1. Better Rest for Your Brain and Body. A good night's rest is essential to brain and body fitness. Good sleep means more energy, increased focus and less fatigue in everyday and athletic activities.

2. Better Sleep for Better Performance and Recovery. A good night's rest helps my muscles repair and speeds my recovery. Plus, studies show that getting the right kind of sleep helps with improved performance. That's why I sleep on a McRoskey mattress. It fits my body and allows me to sleep cooler.

3. Breathability for Cooler Sleep. After a workout my body temperature is elevated and my muscles need to cool down. Sometimes this leads to night sweats. The McRoskey mattress is well vented and allows air to circulate freely for cooler sleep.

4. Go for Comfort during Sleep. This kind of goes without saying but comfort is a huge part of a good night's sleep, with less turning and tossing.

Diet

1. Reduce Refined Sugars in Your Diet. If I could recommend one dietary change to improve your health it would be to reduce your consumption of refined sugars. Although fat – and particularly saturated fat – has received the most blame for causing America's weight problem, there is increasing evidence that sugar can be the true culprit. For example,

2. Eat what the Cavemen and Women Ate. There is nothing magical about my everyday rules for healthy eating. I do the same things many other careful eaters do. I eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats and seafood. I moderate my consumption of starchy grains and do my best to consume whole grains such as oats, whole wheat and brown rice.

3. Avoid high-fructose corn syrup, trans-fats, hydrogenated oils. The foods and drinks I work hardest to avoid are those containing high-fructose corn syrup and other refined sugar (such as soft drinks), trans-fats (such as French fries), and hydrogenated oils (such as most packaged processed baked goods.)

4. Go for 6 or 7 mini meals instead of 3 big meals a day. Instead of three big meals I eat six or seven meals throughout the day, containing only 400 or 500 calories each. Obviously this should be adjusted for your body mass index (BMI) and target caloric intake. I find that taking in frequent small doses of energy (aka food) gives my body and mind a steady flow of energy throughout the day whereas the three-big-meals approach results in excessive energy spikes followed by annoying energy crashes.

5. Aim for an equal caloric expenditure to caloric intake (of the right foods of course) to maintain a healthy weight. If you are trying to lose weight, do it slowly and keep exercising and eating in a way that is sustainable. It is all about burning more calories than you consume.

Keeping Injury Free and More Competitive

1. Sleep Well, Feel Great! Finding the right mattress that will conform to your body and support your back and neck is a major component of restful sleep. With my McRoskey, there are no pressure points. No lumps or bumps or unevenness.

2. Cross Train. People sometimes ask how I've been able to avoid injuries over years of running. While I don't profess to understand myself (other than just being darn lucky), I do believe that cross training with other sports such as cycling and yoga has helped.

Jill Bibo