Do you know anyone who isn’t pressed for time these days? Everyone I talk to seems busier than ever in their work and family lives, often with little left over for themselves. And I’m just talking about the basics: Healthy food, exercise, sleep, downtime.
Extreme business is probably a topic for another day all by itself. What’s important here is that staying physically and mentally fit is the most important thing you can do to ensure you give your best to what’s important to you. Not doing so impacts your energy, mood, performance and ability to enjoy life. Ongoing neglect can eventually result in health issues – heart disease, hypertension, obesity, insomnia and lowered immune capacity, just to name a few . One of the most effective – and simple – ways to achieve fitness is to eat right and exercise. I know we’ve heard it all our lives. But how many of us actually do it? Most current statistics show that only about half of Americans exercise regularly (that is, at least three sessions a week of 30 minutes each.), and obesity has reached an all-time high in the U.S. So what gives? We have all the information we need about what’s good for us – why aren’t we doing it?
What I hear from people goes back to that time thing – too much to do and not enough of it. Lack of energy is often blamed as well. And the thought of making changes can be daunting – but it doesn’t have to be!
Making even one small change can make a difference in how you feel and look – and serve to inspire you to continue making additional changes that, over time, can have a significant impact in your wellbeing.
So what about chunking it down, and looking at one small change you could make in the interest of a healthier you to move the needle a little closer to an improved lifestyle.
I’m going to list a few ideas here to get you going, most of which will require an investment of no more than 10 minutes a day. Some will take under a minute. Choose one that fits for you, and notice how it makes you feel.
- Take a brisk 10 minute walk outdoors. While any type of movement is good for you, studies show exercising in natural environments increases energy and feelings of positivity, and decreases stress, anger and depression. Outdoor exercisers report greater enjoyment and satisfaction with exercising and a greater likelihood to repeat the activity again.
- Start your day with hydration. Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do for your health. After 7-8 hours of sleep, you’re already slightly dehydrated. Water is one of the most important sources of energy for the body. Starting your day with a full glass of water rehydrates you and gives you an energy boost. And it takes less than a minute.
- Try a green smoothie. If you love your morning smoothie, try throwing in a handful of spinach, kale, or other juicing greens. It’ll boost the nutrient content, stabilize your energy and is an easy way to trick yourself into getting your greens. Here’s my favorite Green Smoothie recipe.
1 cup soy or rice milk
Frozen bananas and blueberries (or your favorite fruits.) I like to freeze mine for added texture.
1 cup vanilla protein powder
1 cup kale and spinach
2 T. wheat germ (high in Vitamin E, anti-oxidant)The beauty of starting your day this way (aside from the nutritional benefits) is that studies show that each time we take an intentionally health action, we are more likely to take other healthy actions. On the go? It’s portable. Time: 5 minutes.
- Take five. Or ten. Sitting quietly and focusing on your breath for even 5 minutes can work wonders to calm your mind and body, steady emotions, alleviate stress, and help you to re-focus and reorder your thinking. There is an abundance of information available on meditation these days, and the benefits are too numerous to go into here. Just try it. Start with 5 minutes for a week. And see where it takes you.
- Take time off. Many of us struggle with this, especially in the world of computers, and smartphones. It’s much easier to bring the office home with us these days. But it’s important to know where to draw the line between work and time off. Taking an afternoon off to spend with family or friends, going for a bike ride, or reading a good book has documented benefits for wellbeing. Driving too hard without a break impacts focus and productivity over time. The most successful among us know the value of time off and its impact on performance and creativity.