Running Your Health Game: One Week at a Time!
We all strive to accomplish different health goals, but the road to optimal health doesn’t always mean making huge leaps. Below are eight health tips men and women can add to their daily routine over the course of eight weeks. This will ultimately get you into a better state of health and improve your longevity one week at a time!
Week 1: De-Stressing
Experts will tell you that using exercise, meditation, and breathing is essential for lowering your body’s reaction to stress. BUT you can also keep it simple at your peak stressful moments of the day by listening to your favorite song, walking around the block, taking a 15-minute bath, listening to an inspirational podcast, which along with deep breathing, will switch your brain from your flight/fight to rest and relax. It will open your nervous system and allow you to reboot and regenerate your stress signals so the rest of your day will be smooth sailing.
Week 2: Go to Bed Earlier
Most people today aren’t even getting seven hours of sleep a night (a huge problem for recovery and longevity). Over time, a shortage of sleep will increase your risk of cardiac disease, depression, inflammation, dementia, loss of necessary hormones, and accelerated aging. Going to bed even 30 minutes earlier can add years to your life!
Week 3: Posture and Body Positioning
It’s hard to believe that the way you hold your body can determine your energy, mood, and pain level. The next time you’re on the phone or at your desk, take a moment to think about your posture. Straighten up your spine, tuck in your stomach and put your feet flat on the floor, uncrossed. This will increase your energy immediately and will expand your breathing. Time to realign and rejuvenate!
Week 4: Mix in More Steps
Get your blood pumping, fill up your lungs, and work your muscles by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The time spent walking farther and foregoing the escalator will be given back to you by achieving a stronger, healthier, leaner body. The payoff is huge!
Week 5: Intermittent Fasting
The exploding research in this area is significant. Increasing the number of hours you don’t eat, starting in the evening until you eat the next day, will not only improve your physique, but will also ignite your immune system, mood, sleep, and help you manage your stress. Gaining belly fat as you age is likely caused by your body using food for fuel rather than using the fat on your body. Strive for a minimum of 14 hours or more of no eating from nighttime to the next day. Force your body to use your fat for fuel, not the food you are grazing on!
Week 6: Hormone Optimization
Balancing your hormones within the endocrine system can have a profound effect on your entire life, body and brain! Carefully assessing the female and male hormones as we age can help alleviate chronic nagging symptoms of insomnia, depression, headaches, night sweats, weight gain, hair loss, lack of focus, concentration, memory, and much more. These symptoms can be easily tested, treated and controlled. Consider contacting One Peak Medical (www.onepeakmedical.com) to test your hormones and get back in balance!
Week 7: Make Some Diet Substitutions
- Swap bread, crackers, chips, and cereals for healthier, higher fiber nut crackers and starches made from flour-free foods to lower your insulin levels and help increase the feeling of fullness.
- Try to make 50% of your diet veggies – eat them at every meal!
- Replace sugary drinks with a tall glass of water! Or begin cutting out sugar in all areas of your diet (no more than 20 grams per day).
- Incorporate good fats between meals with a handful of nuts and seeds (healthy hormone production starts from good fats!)
Week 8: Stretch It Out!
Regular lengthening of your muscles helps you not only look better, but helps prevent injuries and allows your body to age more freely. You can add stretches while standing in a meeting, sitting at your desk, driving in the car, flying on a plane—pretty much anywhere. Reaching for items high on shelves, extending your legs for a stretch, or grabbing a doorway with your hands as you go through can provide excellent stretches and ultimately help improve your balance.
Originally published in the Winter issue of Southern Oregon Magazine.