This quote is true for all aspects of life. You don’t become an expert at something if you do it once. An athlete who scores the winning goal didn’t magically find himself in front of the net for that one shot. It comes with many hours of dedication to the ‘habit’ of training.
When it comes to your health, you don’t just wake up one morning 50 pounds overweight. You don’t wake up one morning with cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, or diabetes. It is the small daily habits that got you into this state.
Fortunately, it is also small daily habits that can turn your health destiny around.
So, to become a fit healthy person we need to incorporate repeated behaviours that we can do every day. The good news is that these healthy habits are pleasant to do.
Here are some small habits that you can incorporate into your day.
Sleep is the best stress buster and gives your body the chance to detoxify and rejuvenate. If you have ever been on a 12-hour flight, you know the feeling of wishing for a proper bed to sleep in. It is almost a craving. Stretch out on clean cool sheets in a dark and quiet room for eight hours. It is actually a gift that you can give yourself every night. Regenerative sleep is critical for your long-term health.
Get into the habit of preparing lots of unprocessed foods every day. Eat your four pounds of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes. This can work miracles with your health and waistline.
Preparing food without sugar, oil and salt is a new skill. It takes time and constant practice to become good at it. At first it will take you a long time to cut and chop and prepare. But don’t get discouraged. With consistent practice you will become so much more efficient.
So, practice making new recipes every week. Find what you like and stick to it. With good clean nutrition it doesn’t take long for you to lose your aches and pains. But it will take a long time to restore your body chemistry to balance so the extra fat will melt away.
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Move Your Body
I was at the hospital yesterday. Fortunately, as a guest. When you see people stuck in the hospital, in their beds or in wheelchairs, it makes you count your blessings. Moving your body everyday should be seen as a gift not a punishment.
The more weight you lose makes you want to move your body more anyway. It is a great way to improve your mood and increase your energy levels.
There are three areas of fitness that are important for longevity. Cardio training, strength training and flexibility training. Try to incorporate all three of these in your daily routine.
Cardio training can be walking, jogging, running, swimming or cycling. The aim is to get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes. To ensure, I get enough cardio, I get on my treadmill first thing in the morning and walk on a program for 20 minutes. During the day, my dog, Ruby, insists on two walks (about 30 minutes each) so my cardio is taken care of. As it is autumn, and squirrel season, I even get some short bursts of running in.
Strength training can be weight training, resistance band work, calisthenics and Pilates. If you don’t have equipment, use your body weight in the form of calisthenics. For me I do 10 minutes of weight training every morning.
Flexibility training can be stretching, yoga, and Pilates. Even though we are reluctant to do it, stretching feels so good. Flexibility and balance are very important as we get older. We want to keep our muscles long and flexible. Then, we are in good alignment and have better recovery time from injury. So, try to incorporate some flexibility training into your day. For me, I have ONE TV that has yoga and Pilate shows that I PVR. There are also lots of yoga ‘classes’ on YouTube. I usually do this in the afternoon when I feel my energy dipping. It feels so darn good to stretch out and reground myself.
Getting out in nature is so healing for the body. But to do this on a daily basis can be challenging especially if you live in a city. But even working in your garden out in the fresh air can help with your mood and attitude.
For me, once I am inside, it’s hard to get me out again so after walking Ruby, I stay outside and do one chore in the yard. There is a never ending and always changing list of things to do in the yard. I concentrate on one task every day taking between 10 and 30 minutes.
I feel great to have accomplished something and the yard looks fantastic. If you don’t have a yard, go to a park and hang out. Fresh air and sunlight are grounding and do a lot for your mood and energy.
Weight gain is the product of an ‘unbalanced’ body and lifestyle. Form habits that support your body every day. Then watch your body come into balance; physically, mentally and emotionally.
Remember, we are what we repeatedly do. Strive for excellence in your life. One small habit at a time.