As a personal trainer and health coach, even I can get distracted by some of the health myths out there. Do you ever wonder what or whose advice you should follow? Do you feel like it’s all too much, so you do nothing?
It’s time to stop making excuses and feeling overwhelmed. Start with these easy, completely doable five tips. If you take small steps toward accomplishing your goals, anything is possible.
1. Prioritize your sleep.
Go to bed by at least 10 p.m. each night and follow your natural circadian rhythm. This natural rhythm raises your body temperature with the light so you awaken, and lowers your body temperature upon darkness to encourage sleep. You need to rise and go to bed with this rhythm to achieve good, restorative sleep. Getting enough sleep nightly will make a BIG difference in how you feel every day. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults ages 26–64 get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. That is a good goal to start with!
2. Sit less. Move around. Start NOW, not tomorrow.
Try not to sit for most of the day. I know this is hard if you have an office job, but a recent study found that sitting for long periods of time — no matter how much you exercise — can lead to increased risk of back pain, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Let's break it down to half-hour time blocks. Get up after 20 minutes of sitting and stand for five minutes, and then move around for five more minutes. Set your smartphone or computer to remind you. Use the five minutes moving to pace as you talk on the phone, walk to the printer, or walk to talk to a colleague.
3. Start a meditation practice.
Stress has a major impact on body and mind. It disrupts our sleep, influences our food choices, can lead to weight gain or loss, and reduces our ability to focus. Stress also effects our moods, causing us to be easily irritated, which in turn affects our relationships and much more.
Just take a small step — start with five minutes of meditation and then work up to 20-30 minutes. Find a nice quiet place, sit down, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Sometimes having a mantra (some words to uplift you and help keep your focus) to go over in your head can calm and relax you and push any other thoughts out of your mind. You could use “every day in every way I’m getting better and better” or a different mantra that means something to you.
4. Drink more water.
Your body is made up of more than 60 percent water. Drinking plenty of water will keep you hydrated, prevent you from reaching for food out of boredom, assist with the elimination of toxins, help maintain good bowel function, and help keep your skin looking young. Aim to drink warm water with lemon when you wake up and a glass of water before each meal and snack.
5. Create a diet based on whole foods.
Eliminate all gluten, dairy, and refined sugar from your diet for one month — or even just a week. See how you feel. Replace any prepackaged food with organic meat, fish, vegetables, and good healthy fats like ghee, butter, coconut oil, and olive oil. If you still feel bad, add in some probiotic foods to soothe and heal your gut.
Incorporate these five tips into your life right now and take that first step toward improving your body and mind. If it feels like too much, just focus on one habit at a time and steadily work your way to tackling all five. These small changes will have a lasting impact on your health.