“What are some simple things I can start doing to work on my overall well being?”
I get this question all the time. First, I’d like to start by saying I’ve worked clients with a broad array of goals. I’ve worked with athletes chasing podiums to business executives with “no time” to grandma’s wanting to be independent. Regardless of how much time they have, one thing stays the same – everyone wants to pick the low lying fruit. The low lying fruit in the health and fitness world are the small things that you can do to improve your performance, appearance, and overall health without taking too much time out of your day. These are small daily tasks that eventually become healthy habits.
- Weigh Yourself. The scale does not tell all, that is true. The scale does not measure how much muscle you have compared to fat, it doesn’t measure how much your tissue and skin weighs and it doesn’t measure who you are. However, unless you want to get naked in front of the mirror every day and take photos of yourself the scale is a great tool to use as a daily gauge of how your nutrition and exercise has gone lately. If you ate too much sodium, it will show. If you didn’t drink enough water, it will show. If you ordered those extra large fries, it will show. Use the scale as a gauge rather than an ultimatum.
- Find Your Resting Heart Rate: I do well with empirical data and believe that most do as well. Sometimes it’s hard to see if you are progressing in your workouts, however, if your Resting Heart Rate (RHR) is consistently lowering, there is a good sign that you are getting fitter. On the contrary, if you are dealing with a particularly stressful life event, your RHR will indicate this. If you find yourself losing sleep and drinking caffeine to stay awake, your RHR will let you know it’s time to start finding some relaxation. I like to either use a pulse oximeter that you can get for less than $40.
- Meditate: Okay, this is my most time consuming “low lying fruit”, however, it maybe one of the more important. I typically recommend clients to take 10 minutes out of their day to unplug from their “screens” to just sit and relax and practice some deep breathing. Benefits include: better immunity, reduce chronic pain, lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and death, relieve stress and fights depression. To me, it seems like the rewards are worth 10 minutes a day.
- Drink More Water: Staying hydrated will keep you healthy, happy and less hungry. Being adequately hydrated will help fight fatigue by fueling the processes in the body to allow you to get the 7-9 hours of sleep a night your body requires. It will also act as a lubricant for your joint to keep you moving better. Lastly, if more energy and less pain aren’t enough, drinking enough water will act as an alarm system to your body to let it know you aren’t actually hungry, leaving you leaner.
- Move More Often: You are already strapped for time and my best guess is that you don’t want to spend 30-45 minutes warming up for 45-60 minutes of exercise. Well, if we didn’t sit all day, we wouldn’t have to take that time to get our bodies ready to work out. There are tons of ways to do this:
- Use headphones and take your phone calls while you go for a walk.
- After 50-55 minutes of work, take a break and go for a 5-10 minute walk. You may even be surprised that you will feel more productive.
- Start your day by going for a 10-minute walk outside.
There are tons of ways to add easy activity and movement into your day, just find what works well for you.