Making improvements to your health is easier than you think.
Diving in head first and announcing to everyone that you are going to cut all carbs, workout 5 days per week and start meditating every day is a sure way to lose sight of your goals. We all have good intentions, but for most of us slow and steady produces life-long habits.
Simple changes that you can make look something like the following:
- Wake up 10 minutes earlier to gently stretch before you get out of bed - it’s a great way to wake up and warm up your muscles before jumping in the shower
- Drink 8 oz of water upon awakening (with a squeeze of lemon, if desired) - your body is always using water for metabolic processes even when you are sleeping. Drinking water first thing in the morning replenishes water and gets your body ready the work it has for the day ahead.
- Spend time outdoors in the sunlight whenever possible to create Vitamin D, an important nutrient for strong bones, immune function and healing. Vitamin D is produced when we are exposed to sunlight, without sunscreen and preferably with at least bare arms (as little clothing as possible is best) for just 10 - 30 minutes a few times per week.
- Eat mindfully. Most of us run out the door with a coffee and a bagel, eat while we are driving, eat at our desks while on a conference call, etc. Make it a point to sit, breathe deep, chew and relax while you are eating. Digestion requires our bodies to be in a parasympathetic state which is our “rest and digest” state that signals our body to create digestive juices and enzymes for proper digestion.
- Put your fork down between bites. This forces you to chew more thoroughly. Carbohydrate digestion starts in your mouth so the more you chew (ideally 20-30 times!), the more work you are saving for the rest of your digestive system.
- If you sit at a desk most of the day, take a break to do 20 bodyweight squats in your office. I am sure you have heard that sitting is the new smoking, so get up and take a minute to do those 20 squats
- Practice gratitude. Take the time to appreciate what is around you, whether it is the sky when you are walking your dog, the trees that line the highway you take to work, the birds chirping in your backyard. Don’t let life pass you by without appreciating something every day. Gratitude enhances your life and reminds you that there is still beauty in this world
Even if you choose just one of the above to include in your day, it will lead to other positive changes. Take the time to be kind to yourself, your body and mind will thank you!
What ways do you incorporate healthful practices into your day?