Ways to Improve Your Health in 2016
Happy New Year! It's that time of the year when we are all determined to make positive changes to our lives. One of the most sought after New Year Resolutions is to improve our physical health. While there are other dimensions of wellness, physical health is the most visible to the naked eye, so naturally it tops the list. When referring to physical health, we often use body composition as a tool to determine if someone is healthy. While it's important, that's not all to physical health! There are other components that are often neglected. Let's explore them all!
Body weight and composition
This is what most people refer to when they think of physical health. When our physical goal is new and fresh, we get excited and tend to go at it too fast too soon because we want instant results. We often forget that we didn't get where we are overnight, so it won't take one day to reverse everything. Rather than thinking our body is not good enough, we need to shift the focus to wanting to make positive changes to our body one step at a time. It doesn't matter where we start, there is always room for improvement.
In my opinion, the hardest thing isn't to reach a weight goal but to maintain it. To sustain something, we should create an environment to make it easier for us to continue on our health path. Here are some tips to get started on your fitness journey.
- Start slow
Babies didn't learn to walk overnight, so don't jump into a high intensity workout regime right away. If you've never been active your entire life, it may be a good idea to start with small changes such as taking the stairs instead of using the elevator. Even 10 to 15 minutes a day of exercising is better than nothing at all.
- Stay Consistent
You win half the battle by showing up. Start by setting out a time to exercise. Even if you don't feel like it, immediately change to your work out clothes and start to warm up. Before you know it, you will be heading to the finish line. No excuses. It's essential that you don't quit the first month because it is the time habits begin to form.
- Focus on the activities you like
There are many different ways to stay active. There isn't one workout regime that works for everyone. The one that works for you is the one that you enjoy. If you enjoy something, you're more likely to do it again. Some examples would be hiking, dancing, running, or even walking. No physical activity is too small.
Nutrition to our body is like gas to a car. We want to give our body the best possible fuel. We all know by now that good nutrition means eliminate processed food, drink more water, and eat more veggies. Below are some tricks that work for me.
Goal: Eliminate processed food
Action: Don't buy them, period. If they are not around the house, you won't consume them.
Goal: Drink more water
Action: Keep water within arms reach and you'll be more likely to reach your goal of 2L a day.
Goal: Eat more veggies
Action: I understand this is hard for many of us, myself included. Leafy greens don't exactly taste good. Fortunately, there is a delicious way you can get your daily serving of veggies in – it's through green smoothies! Green smoothies are simply blends of leafy greens and fruits. Trust me, you won't even taste the greens because the sweetness of the fruits will mask it. To start off, you can try a 20% greens and 80% fruits blend to acquire the taste, then go from there.
Sleep and rest
Last but definitely not least is rest. Rest plays an important part in our physical health. Nowadays, we always strive to be super human but we often overlook the fact that putting our body through so much without giving it a break is detrimental to our health. A car that keeps running without stopping won't last very long.
To get quality sleep at night, preparation is key. Set out a time to sleep. When it's time to sleep, go to sleep. It's also extremely helpful to not use your phone or watch television right before you go to sleep because the light from these devices will prevent our brain from releasing melatonin, a hormone that tells our bodies it's time to sleep. Experts recommend 6-9 hours of sleep at night.
By cultivating these habits and incorporating some of these tips into your life, you will soon be on the path to a healthier and happier life. Trust me, try these for a month and you won't want to go back the old ways. Let me know below which component of physical health you've already mastered and which one you are trying to incorporate into your life. For me, the sleep factor is very challenging because I feel like I could be doing something else more productive with my time (which is never the case!).
Remember, true health comes from within. If all fails, smile. A healthy and uplifting attitude goes a long way. =)
Post by Hallie Cao, Dynadot accountant and fitness enthusiast