Move Around! ~ play – Even if you despise going to the gym you need to get active! A brisk walk (like you’re late for an appointment) can have great health benefits if you do it 3-5x/wk for around 20-30 mins. If you have kids – play sports with them or go for a hike. Walk or ride to work if you’re able to. Do we really need to go over the benefits of being active? We are built to move – not idle!
Move Around!~ work – If you are sitting at your desk for more then 2 hours at a time you should start utilizing these posture tips. Our bodies were not meant to be sitting for 8+hrs a day! Try and stand up every 30 minutes. Even if it is only for 5 seconds it will help break your static posture. You can set reminders or alarms on your phone, stand up anytime you receive an annoying email, or when you talk on the phone.
Stress Less – Stress is a large factor in many diseases that plague humans in today’s world. Stress is great for short periods of time like when a bear runs towards you in the forest. Unfortunately many of us have elevated stress hormones all day which is terrible for health. You need to figure out some stress reducing strategies that will work for you. Something as simple as taking in three deep breaths next time you feel anxiety or stress can help immensely. Meditation, exercise, being in nature, or focusing on a passion like music, art or cooking classes can also help.
Catch Some ZZZZZZZs – Not getting enough sleep is a major issue for many of us. Even if you are unable to add QUANTITY (more hours) to your sleep time you can always increase QUALITY. To do this – limit caffeine intake to no later then 2pm, don’t eat within 2 hours of bedtime, blackout your room from ANY lights including alarm clocks, TV/receiver lights, street lights etc. Also don’t use any laptops, or handhelds within 30 minutes of bedtime. If you like to watch TV dim the backlight at night. All this artificial light is messing up your natural hormone schedule.
Let Nature Nurture – We evolved in nature for thousands (if not millions) of years and with the urbanization of many of us in the last few generations we have a major disconnect with nature. Think of it this way – at least 99% of humans time on earth was spent within nature. Living in crowded cities like Toronto there aren’t a lot of nature options other then a few parks and ravines. Walking through a forest has been shown to have many benefits for the brain not the least of which is a reduction in stress hormones. Grounding is also a good idea – walking barefoot on earth, sand, grass etc.
Hello Sunshine – It seems like the sun has been getting a bad rap for the past few decades with the scare of skin cancer. You should definitely take steps to minimize your risk like not letting yourself get sunburnt. However, the sun is responsible for all life on earth (except for certain archaea living at the bottom of the ocean) and we are meant to be bathed in sunlight! How else do you explain Vitamin D synthesis? Sunlight is the absolute best source. It also helps regulate our circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle), hormonal balance, and wards off depression. Do you need any more reasons? Get in the sun but don’t get burnt! Those with darker skin need more sunshine than those with pale skin as they are more resistant to UV rays which are essential for Vitamin D.
Laugh Lots! – There is a reason people say “Laughter is the Best Medicine”. It not only makes us feel good but has positive effects on our immune system and decreases our stress hormones. It is even contagious – next time you see someone smiling or laughing try not to smile – it is really hard! Even when you’ve had a really shitty day a good laugh can quickly pull your mood up.
Decrease Processed Foods – If most of the food you are buying comes in a box or can with an ingredient list longer then three you really need to overhaul your diet. Also bad is when you buy food and routinely hear ‘would you like fries with that?’. Try to buy more fresh vegetables, good sourced meat and fish, and make meals at home. If you feel like you have no time to cook – choose one day a week to have a cook off. Make a few large batches of food and freeze some servings for later when you have no time.
H2O Injection – It is estimated that up to 80% of people in North America are dehydrated. Our bodies are composed of around 60% water. It essential for all cellular processes, makes our skin look better, brain work better, and gives us energy. Being chronically dehydrated can cause many health issues. The best water to drink is spring water with dissolved minerals. Everyone one is different and requires different amounts of water. It is safe to say that you could probably up your water intake by another liter a day.
Decrease Screen Time and Increase Face Time – Increasingly we are isolating ourselves from real face to face contact with family and friends and a big reason for this is the explosion of facebook and technology like texting. The problem is again that humans evolved over thousands of years in small ‘tribes’ and communities. If you had a problem then you would sit down with family or friends and discuss. They could read your non-verbal cues/body language (which accounts for up to 90% of communication) and express empathy, provide advice, reduce your anxiety, depression and stress levels. Sending a text or facebook message in place of face to face communication skips all these important components.
These 10 tips can be easily integrated in your life. Get started now and you will improve your health! Any other important tips you would recommend? Share them below…