This week’s blog is from guest writer Sheila Olson:
Health Habits Start at Home
With everything that we have on our metaphorical plates today, it can be difficult to find the time to focus on our actual plates and the things we put into — and how we use — our bodies. But we don’t have to let our health go to the wayside. If you make health a priority, it becomes easy to incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine. And it starts from the moment you wake up.
Your fitness routine isn’t strictly dictated by your in-gym activities. You will be more motivated to take care of yourself if you start as soon as the alarm sounds. When you first wake up, take the time to stretch out each of your muscle groups, which have been resting through the night. Get up and make the bed before sneaking in 10 or 15 minutes of cardiovascular activity. Eating a healthy breakfast will also help you start your day off right. If you feel as though your mornings are hectic and void of time to focus on you, set your alarm 45 minutes early during the week.
Once you are up and out the door, you still need to focus on your health. While it may seem tough, you can do this at work, too. If you work in an office, get up from your desk once an hour to keep your muscles and joints from feeling fatigued. Eat a light lunch and, if possible, use part of your lunch break to take a quick walk after you eat.
In addition to the food you eat, the amount of water you consume will also play a part in your overall health and wellness. A general rule of thumb is that most adults should strive for around 64-ounces of water each day; you’ll need more if you’re larger, work a job that requires physical labor, or sweat often. You’ll also need to up your fluid intake if you have a particularly strenuous workout. Anytime Fitness explains that our bodies must be properly hydrated in order to function correctly.
Your stress levels can really affect your workout. If you’re stressed, you are likely distracted and not focusing on your end goals or, more alarmingly, your safety at the gym. Stress can also cause you to forgo your fitness routine altogether. But exercise is important to your mental health. According to the American Psychological Association, exercise may actually help the brain cope with stress but you have to learn how to circumvent daily stress before you can get the point where you’re ready, willing, and able to hit the gym. Relieve stress at home by eliminating clutter and sticking with a set routine each day.
Engaging in a healthy exercise plan is a great alternative to other activities, activities which may put your health at risk. For example, if you are in substance abuse recovery, an exercise program can help you bypass relapse temptations and heal from the inside out. Likewise, if you have an eating disorder, you may find that you receive the same level of pleasure from a quick jog as you get from overeating. A word of caution, however, as healthy as exercise is, be careful not to overdo it. Dr. Joseph Mercola explains that exercise should leave you feeling energized and your muscles should recover within just a few days after an intense workout. Feeling overly-fatigued, sore for multiple days, or experiencing insomnia are just a few signs you need to take things down a notch.
Regardless of your fitness strategy, it’s important to pick activities that you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to trudge through activities at the gym if your heart says hiking is the right workout. Though it may seem impossible, making a few changes, such as waking up early, decluttering your home, and drinking plenty of water, can help you kickstart a lifestyle of health and wellness.