Mind and body wellness is proven to help make us more alert, more focused, and more productive, so they are healthy habits worth fitting into our day no matter how packed, busy or stressful our day seems because these healthy lifestyle choices are proven to improve our quality of life.
Our bodies function to rebalance hormones, destress, detoxify, and realign during stretching and exercising. Neuroscience shows that not exercising each day is equivalent to taking a depression pill each day.
Here are ten healthy habits to follow on your path to wellness, along with easy ways to fit healthy habits into your daily routine:
- Fit in ten minutes of exercise three times a day. Don’t have time to dress down, hit the gym for thirty minutes a day, then shower and dress back up? Luckily studies show ten minute workouts three times a day are as heart healthy as one thirty minute workout. So exercise for ten minutes in the morning when you wake, then take ten minutes to power walk or climb the office stairs at lunch, then destress from work with a ten minute work out at the end of the day. I like to ask Alexa for my 7 minute work out at the end of the day.
- Replace your gym membership or happy hour with free activities to get out and move! You don’t have to use the excuse of not having funds for a fancy Equinox membership when hikes, runs in the park, climbing high school bleachers, push ups on park benches and free YouTube videos like Patricia Moreno’s intenSati hour long work out are available for free and can be done in the comfort of your own living or in a hotel suite when you’re traveling. Putting on your running shoes or biking is a great free way to explore a place on your next travels or a fun new way to explore your own neighborhood from a more active perspective than in a cab or bus. Most recently I replaced a night of drinking out with my girls with a night of aerial silk yoga suspended from the rafters of Brooklyn for the cost of a martini out on the town, and it was a much more memorable and healthy evening for all of us.
- Meditate for five or more minutes a day. There are great free apps out there like Headspace to help you meditate, and even if it’s as simple as focusing on breathing in and out for five minutes, that is enough to help improve your mind and body. Meditation reduces stress, increases immunity, induces relaxation, and can help you achieve more restful sleep.
- Start the day off with self myofascial release (SMR). Laying in bed in a funny position all night, bending over our desk at the office all day, straining our neck to read for long periods, hauling a heavy bag around, sitting for a long commute, and even exercise causes our muscles and joints to tighten. That tightening can lead to pain, stress and inhibit our bodies from functioning properly. SMR with a foam roller, yoga balls, or stick in the morning allows us to loosen those tight, painful and misaligned parts of our body. The whole process can be done in 5-10 minutes and will help your body function and feel it’s best for the rest of the day. Start by placing the yoga ball or foam roller at your calf, applying the pressure until the pain subsides by 80% then move the device up to the next part of body like the hamstrings and quads finding the tight spot there and again applying pressure until pain subsides by 80% and keep repeating the process until you’ve loosened all the muscles of the body including those tricky areas between the shoulders yoga balls are great at getting at and those IT bands which foam rollers are great at loosening so you can strut down the street as your best self when you sashay out the front door to greet a brand new day.
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. We spend a third of our lives asleep because sleep is such a crucial part of recharging our mind and bodies for the following day. When we continually get 6 or less hours of sleep each night, we begin to forget how great it can feel to get that full 8 hours of sleep each night, waking rested and refreshed. Pay attention to your body for what days you feel happy and healthy getting just 7 hours of sleep, and when you may need 9 hours to help your body fully recoup and be sure to give yourself time for that sleep and rest.
- Drink half a gallon of water each day. Our bodies are made up of 65% water, which makes it critical for us to continually replenish water we’re losing in order to not feel dehydrated and lethargic. To meet your daily quota of drinking water carry a water bottle with you, have a water glass/bottle at your desk, and always work out with your water bottle handy. To make drinking water more enticing, place lemon wedges, orange slices or cucumber in your glass of water.
- Replace drinking vices with healthier, low sugar, low calorie, additive free options. That heavy cream with several packets of sugar in our morning coffee, followed by sodas in the afternoon, and several beers in the evening can add up to half or more of our allotted calorie intake for the day, leading to malnutrition and obesity. Switching those sugary coffees for naturally flavored teas, sodas for lemon water, and beers for homemade mocktails such as crushed ginger and blackberries in seltzer over ice is a simple way to cut back on the sugar, calories, and synthetic sweeteners.
- Eat healthy til dinner. This is a great practice, because no matter what happens at dinner time, two-thirds of your meals for the day will have already been healthy. This also helps healthily power you through your work day with the best fuel possible so you can function at your best.
- Eat brain food and more plant based foods. The brain is the fattest organ in the body and is comprised of 60% fat. This is why omega fatty acids and similar healthy fats are so crucial to helping fuel our brain so we can think and focus clearly. Salmon, almonds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and avocados are all high in omegas and will help fuel you through your day.
- Track your success and celebrate your movements toward a healthier life! I’d acquired 35 pounds after breaking my foot Christmas morning and upon recovery proceeded to pay for several gym memberships, enabled my Alexa 7 minute work app, tried to bring lemon water and healthy snacks to work in my quest to lose the weight but did so so infrequently that it wasn’t improving my wellness until I took advantage of some of the great technology out there to help track contributions I was making towards my wellness to see how I was literally taking steps to improve my quality of life. In an era of fitbits and iphone health apps, there are so many technologies available to help you track your path to wellness. Looking at apps to see how many miles walked, stairs climbed, exercises performed, calories burned and pounds lost puts a smile on my face. Even if I only meet my goals twice a week (such as on weekends when I have more time) that’s still 104 more healthy days in my life a year, and believe me that’s worth celebrating! Celebrate your healthy choices!
Your 10 Building Blocks for a Healthier Habits are:
- Fit in ten minutes of exercise three times a day.
- Replace your gym membership or happy hour with free activities to get out and move!
- Meditate for five or more minutes a day
- Start the day off with self myofascial release (SMR).
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
- Drink half a gallon of water each day.
- Replace drinking vices with healthier, low sugar, low calorie, additive free options.
- Eat healthy til dinner.
- Eat brain food and more plant based foods.
- Track your success and celebrate your movements toward a healthier life!