June 18, 2014
5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Health
4. Move/lift heavy objects.
Adequate sleep affects the mind and body in drastic ways. The benefits of sleeping are widely researched and are often very clearly seen when you encounter someone who does not get enough sleep compared to someone who does. Lack of sleep hurts your ability to function, inhibits your body’s ability to efficiently use nutrients, and wreaks havoc on your efforts to gain muscle or lose weight. Some tips for getting a good night’s sleep include shutting down electronics a few hours before bedtime, blacking out your room to keep artificial light from disrupting your ability to fall asleep, and developing a routine to practice each night before bed. If you’re interested in learning more about sleep, check out the following resources:
Eat quality, fresh foods. Don’t worry about counting calories or sticking to a particular diet. Instead focus your efforts on eating foods that rot within 7-10 days and eating enough of those foods to feel satisfied. Don’t overeat and avoid starving yourself, especially if you are active. Foods that have a short shelf life are unprocessed, contain very few ingredients and are usually found along the perimeter of the grocery store, BUT…beware, grocery stores and big manufacturers are catching on and are starting to place “not food” items on the perimeter. New rule: if it’s in a package (box, bag, etc.) and it wasn’t growing or roaming the earth a few days/weeks ago, you probably shouldn’t eat it. Here are some great resources (in no particular order) for eating high quality, nutrient dense foods:
Walking is one of the most underrated activities individuals can do to improve their health. Walking helps with recovery, improves your mental health by reducing stress, and improves your ability to cover distances without using a motorized vehicle. It is a low intensity functional movement can make a world of difference in improving your health and longevity when coupled with the other 4 items on this list. Walking can be performed with purpose (ex. walking to the store) or without purpose (ie. Walking around your neighborhood) Either way, when you walk you will see things from a different perspective, be outside in the fresh air and sunlight, and have the opportunity to think deeply and creatively.
Move/Lift Heavy Objects.
Pick up something heavy and move it 2-3 times each week. Your options in this area are endless. I use a variety of objects from regularly shaped objects like barbells, kettlebells and dumbbells to irregular objects like rocks, logs, and sometimes, HUMANS! (Partner Carry, anyone?) It doesn’t matter what object you choose or how you decide to move/lift it (carrying, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, etc.), just pick something up and get going!
Don’t overdo it. You don’t need to get in another workout this week. Your body needs to recover. Take time to relax, read a book, and decompress. Meditate, listen to the birds outside, or pick up that musical instrument you have touched for a few months. Allow your body time to heal and it will reward you.
On the path to health, the goal is to stress the body during workouts and alleviate stress during non-workout times. If you continually stress the body without giving it rest, you keep your body in a state of chaos and it becomes unable to function. This type of environment hinders your ability to lose weight, sleep and efficiently process nutrients from your food. So ask yourself…I am giving my body enough rest?
Start implementing these 5 things and you’ll begin feeling and looking better than you have in years. It’s simple and effective, so what are you waiting for?