The Keys of wellness

Wellness. A common word we all hear daily. And, truthfully, we all want it. Why not? Healthy body and mind? Longer life? Doing things at an advanced age that you did during your prom year? Oh, yeah! Sign us up for that! But realize that for an individual to achieve wellness, it takes effort, every day. It must stick with you. Kind of like your key ring. Wherever you go, your keys come along with you. Well, wellness has four “keys” that you must possess to live your life to its fullest.

The house key: Diet

The primary key, the one that protects home, is the house key. And when it comes to your body, this “home of wellness,” a clean diet is what keeps it secure. I know many of you would rather choose between Geno’s and Pat’s rather than between a Caesar salad or turkey on wheat, but for one who is on a path to wellness, the latter choices are the ones you should be making. Whenever a person asks me to teach them some abdominal exercises, I ask them if they are dieting correctly. Understand that you can do 1,000 crunches a day, but if you keep on eating whole pizza pies during Eagles games, you will never get those washboard abs you crave. You must cut your caloric intake to a number that is ideal for your height, gender and activity level. Eat more foods that have monounsaturated fats, cut back on saturated fats and trans fats. Sugar is a “burglar” that loves to steal your body’s gains and leave behind the fat that you don’t want around your waistline. High consumption of sugar can lead to hypertension and high blood pressure. This information should be enough to motivate you to kick that last can of cola out of your “home” and invite good ol’ refreshing water to stay, board-free! The benefits of water are too many to list here, but one thing is for sure: Water will never count against your daily caloric intake.

The car key: Exercise

The first time you grasped the keys to your first car … what a feeling that was, huh? Transportation that you owned and controlled, and it didn’t matter if your first car was a Chevelle or a ’Vette; you wanted to hit the city and show it off to your friends! The car key of wellness, which is exercise, boosts your self esteem while simultaneously building for you a body that you’ll love to showcase.

It doesn’t matter if it’s yoga, power-lifting, kettlebell-swinging or even swimming, exercising is a key that changes your body for the better inside and out. You’ll build stronger muscles, rest better and easier, your cardiovascular functions will run smoother and your endurance will heighten. Any and everyone should want to possess these health benefits. So “turn” this key. Start a fitness program. Join a gym. Hire a trainer if you aren’t familiar with how to properly exercise. At the minimum, as an adult you need to perform two-and-a-half hours of moderately intense exercise and another 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week. One of the most overlooked pluses of exercising is that it is quite addictive. And what better thing to be addicted to than the betterment of one’s health?

Look for the next two “keys” in April’s edition of Work It Out.

Rome Tatum is one of the more than 30 registered personal trainers at 12th Street Gym. To learn about Rome, visit or Tatum United Fitness on Facebook.