It is often said that variety is the spice of life!  From an exercise and nutrition perspective variety is definitely an essential key.

Exercise should always be safe, effective and fun. One issue regarding safety in exercise is variety. Doing the same exercises the same way over months, years, and decades will cause overuse injuries. Often the disciplined exerciser performs the same exercises the same way for months, years and even decades. This may lead to a lean body but could be leading to some joint problems.

Think of it this way, if you had a sand pebble in your shoe it quickly becomes an annoyance. By the end of a whole day with that sand pebble you will have a blister. Change promotes safety and injury prevention. If someone exercises the same way continuing to expect new and better results, he or she will be disappointed. The

body will adapt; therefore, the chaos of variety is necessary to continue improving health by providing a continual and new challenge. Variety leads to better health related results.

Finally, variety provides the "spice" by keeping things interesting and fun and helping one avoid the doldrums of dreading the same old workout over and over again.

By now you are probably wondering, "So how do I get out of my 30 minutes on the treadmill routine?" Well think of your body in parts. The upper body pushes and pulls. The lower body squats, lunges, steps, runs, jumps and walks.

There are numerous full body and core exercises. Cardiovascular health does not have to be achieved simply by doing 30 minutes on the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike three times a week. The key is simply to get the heart rate up for roughly 20 minutes 3 days per week, and this can be achieved in numerous ways.To determine if your heart rate is in the right range train at a pace that you cannot carry on a conversation but you

can continue to exercise. Intervals of time or distance, for example, jumping jacks for 90 seconds followed by 30 seconds rest or 800 meters on a bike followed by a 60 second rest, are excellent ways to develop cardiovascular health and add variety.

One may also use exercises like jumping jacks, mountain climbers, jumping rope, skipping, hiking, swimming truly almost any movement can be used to develop

cardiovascular health. Creating circuits of upper body, lower body, full body, core and cardio can keep it fun and different each time you exercise. There are many websites you can visit to find ideas for each category upper, lower, full, core and cardio. Just be creative!

Variety is also essential to eating healthfully. Anyone who has been reading my articles

understands that I promote a simple philosophy regarding nutrition: "Eat food!" This

simply means one should consume real whole foods that are not processed and / or refined.

As Americans we have access to so many different options to eat. However, just because you can eat it does not make it a food. When we consume processed foods or refined foods we deliver toxins, poisons to our 300 billion cells which promote disease, illness and death. Processed, refined foods are not foods at all. Real food promotes disease prevention, wellness and life.

As one consumes "real food" variety will insure a variety of nutrients and stimulate all your senses through the beauty of shape, color, texture, taste and aroma. For example, dark leafy greens are typically high in vitamin A and K, dark orange vegetables and fruits

high in beta carotene, citrus high in vitamin C, fish and nuts high in omega 3 fatty acids, beans are high protein, fiber and folic acid and it goes on and on. Just think of all the wonderful cultures and how they have discovered so many unique ways to prepare food.

Enjoy the "spice" of life in the diversity of foods and food cultures. You will have fun and be more healthy!

To your health!