You're Doing It Wrong: 6 Health and Fitness Rules That Have Changed

Health. It's all-encompassing, and paying attention to the rules as they change with time is certainly smart if you want to live the best life possible. But since that can be a full time exercise routine itself, we've rounded up six recent guidelines for you to consider — and we'd love to hear what new health rules you're following these days.

1. Whole Foods, Not Vitamins

No, I don't mean the grocery chain, though they have a fair share of healthy, in-season produce. Instead of reaching for that bottle of expensive manufactured vitamins, you should consider filling your belly with nutrients at each meal and snack. So, put your hard-earned dollars toward your grocery bill next week and fill up on superfoods like kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, salmon, avocados, cauliflower, and more super good for you foods. (Related: Multivitamins Aren't as Good as You Think: Eat These Real Foods Instead)

2. Pyramid, Reimagined

Have you looked at the most recent iteration of the food pyramid? It looks vastly different from the one of our childhoods. The new focus is on variety with regard to diet and an emphasis on exercise. For a person eating 2,000 calories a day, this means 6 ounces of whole grains, 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruits, 3 cups of dairy, and 5.5 ounces of meat and/or beans. Adults should get at minimum 30 minutes of activity each day, with 60 to 90 minutes for weight management.

3. Cardio and Strength

In a perfect world, you should do both cardiovascular exercise and strength training. And the whole 10,000 steps a day is still the recommendation. Still, many of us favor our daily runs and walks over trips to the weight room when strength is possibly more important to our bodies — bones and muscles — as we age. The official Physical Activity Guidelines for American adults aren't specific, but they do include muscle work, which should be performed at levels at which each repetition is difficult to complete without help. It's smart to start with a trainer or at very least have a spotter on hand.

4. Proactive Versus Reactive

It can surely feel like a boasting point to cite how long it's been since your last appointment. However, if you feel any regular aches and pains or it's been over a year since your last physical, get yourself to the doctor. You may even save money in the long run if, say, you just need antibiotics to fight a persistent bug versus a hospital stay if that same sickness transforms into full-blown pneumonia. (Related: Is Your Doctor Helping or Hurting You?)

5. Fiber Feast

It's tempting to get caught up in the juice craze. And, truthfully, cold pressed juice does contain a lot of vitamins and minerals essential to body functions. Thing is, if you continually skip the fiber that is naturally contained within these fruits and vegetables, you're only getting partial benefits. So, sip smoothies from time to time to get the whole picture for optimal health. Your colon will thank you. (Related: 2 Juices That Are Surprisingly Bad For You and 5 To Drink Instead)

6. Chemical Cleanse

We too often focus on detoxes as they relate to food and drink. If you're still maintaining your home, body, and clothing with conventional soaps and cleaners, put yourself on a chemical cleanse to avoid over-exposure to ingredients you can't even pronounce. Here are 5 DIY Laundry Detergents, All Natural Sunblocks, Friendly Bug Repellents, and 5 Green All Purpose Cleaners that work wonders without the bad stuff (and they may even save you money).

Any other new rules you're following? Please share in comments!

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You're Doing It Wrong: 6 Health and Fitness Rules That Have Changed

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Guest's picture

We have the MyPlate now instead of the MyPyramid. It's much easier to know what your plate should look like than how many servings of what (and what's counts as a serving!) you should be eating. It's not perfect and it does have some bias, but Harvard came up with a similar plate that is more based on current research. As a dietitian, I encourage people to take on a small dietary change and once that change becomes part of your routine, try another!

Ashley Marcin's picture

That's great advice, Amber! I will definitely check out that page!

Guest's picture
Andrey S.

Hey, you made a slight error in the article. The food pyramid you linked to puts meat/beans at 5.5oz, not 5.5 cups as stated in your article. Also consider informing people about the Primal Food Pyramid:

Ashley Marcin's picture

Thank you for pointing that error out, Andrey! As a vegetarian I probably eat 5.5 cups of beans (OK that's an exaggeration, but I eat a lot) which is likely why it was on the brain :)

Guest's picture

Weights, weights, weights! Ever since my cheerleading days I avoided weights at all costs because I thought they would make me bulky. I'm addicted to them now. Instagram fitness guru videos have been really helpful for me to find weight training ideas for women that aren't monotonous.

Guest's picture
Personal Training Maidenhead

Great Post! Can you clarify about eating….is it wise to have a big breakfast with lots of proteins and then a snack for lunch before going to the gym?