Are you the healthiest version of you?
There are several ways to incorporate healthy habits into your daily routines. Linked Fit has compiled a list of their top 10 healthy habits. Think of habits as part of an umbrella effect, each habit can be explored and expanded upon to fit the goals and needs of the individual. These 10 habits are the building blocks. You will find benefits from every one of them, and when combined, the pieces to optimal health start to fit better together. Incorporating these simple habits into your routine can help you along your health and wellness journey. At Linked Fit, our goal is to link your potential and help you become the best version of yourself!
Water is LIFE! Our bodies are made up of about 60% water! Water is a means of transportation of nutrients, it acts as a solvent in our bodies, aids in chemical reactions, provides cushion to the joints, and helps to regulate our body temperature. Let's just say, water is pretty important to our survival! We lose water in various ways, and that water needs to be replenished. A good goal to start with is to drink half of your body weight in ounces daily, at minimum. Example: If you weigh 150 pounds, you will consume 75 ounces of water daily. More specific water intake can be 128 (16 cups) ounces for men and 88 ounces (12 cups) for women. We can drink water directly or by eating water-rich foods. One of our favorite daily habits to encourage water consumption is to start your day with a glass of water. Keep a glass of water at your bedside and as soon as you get up drink the glass of water. Continue to rehydrate throughout the day to minimize the chances of dehydration.
Fuel your body for success! Food provides an array of nutrients the body needs to sustain life and optimal health. Without proper nourishment, our body misses out on key macro and micronutrients. Aim to consume whole foods when possible, this includes fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. Whole foods are nutrient-dense, providing our bodies with a good amount of nutrients and energy. Before heading to the grocery store, make a list. Put a list together of all the food you are looking to fill your kitchen with. You'll want to keep these nutrient-dense foods available for easy grab-and-go. If you can see it, you will eat it. Practice making meals in advance to take the guessing game out of your nutrition. When eating, slow the pace down and stop when you are about 80% full. At the same time, do not fear food! Embrace food; it's okay to indulge. Remember, there is no perfect meal plan; find what works for you!
This section is geared toward the act of weight training. This can involve a variety of training means, strength, metabolism, endurance, etc. What's important is finding a style you like and moving. Inactive adults may experience a 3% to 8% loss of muscle mass per decade, along with extra fat accumulation. This can lead to declines in overall health and an increased risk of injury. We need to keep the body strong! Not only are there a variety of training methods, but there are also a variety of benefits tagged along with training! Training is linked to improving mood, self-esteem, body composition, and health parameters like blood pressure and aids in controlling type 2 diabetes. Remember, these are just a handful of the many benefits. You can take a group fitness class, train solo at home, or head to your local gym. You don't need a lot of equipment to get the job done. A little goes a long way! Start slow, master the basics, and keep moving!
Working with weight training, we must also incorporate conditioning into our training sessions. Consider this to be your cardiovascular health. Yes, training and conditioning go hand in hand, but we want to break them up into individual components. Adding conditioning or cardiovascular training into your routine is a great way to improve heart health and decrease cardiovascular disease risk. This could involve a simple walk around town, hopping on a conditioning machine, or even joining a cardio-aerobic class! A simple tool to use is setting an alarm. If you work a sedentary job, set the alarm to remind yourself to get up a move. Practice parking your car further from the building and taking the stair instead of the elevator. Add workout days specifically geared towards conditioning, even if it's for 5 minutes.
Breathing is essential to life, yet we seem to take it for granted. Breath control can be the first line of defense when dealing with stress and anxiety, decreasing heart rate, and improving overall health indicators. Throughout the day, begin to practice intentional breathing or focused breathing. This can be done during a stressful situation or in a more controlled environment like yoga. We like to say, "chaos breathing leads to chaos in the body." Take a few moments to step back, close your eyes, and breathe. Practicing breathing relaxation techniques or meditation before bed can be beneficial, even for 2 minutes. The goal is to bring more oxygen into both to nourish our cells and allow our body to become more parasympathetic. Diaphragmatic breathing is a common breathing technique. To start, lay comfortably on the floor, take a big inhale through the nose filling up the belly and abdominal region while keeping the chest still, and slowly exhale through the mouth, extending the exhale. Perform this 3-5 times in a row to start.
We live very stressful lives, both positive and negative stressors. We need to be able to recover from these day-to-day stressors. This includes physical and psychological stressors from daily living and workout sessions. It's fun to play hard, but we still need to preserve the functionality and longevity of our bodies. Prioritizing recovery strategies in our lives can yield all kinds of benefits. Incorporating relaxation techniques, like diaphragmatic breathing post-training or before you go to bed, brings a calmer state of being, allowing for more optimal recovery. You can also incorporate a post-training protocol which might include but is not limited to foam rolling, stretching, and mobilizing. Recovery can also include proper nutrition. We need to provide our bodies with adequate nutrition to help start the recovery process from training. When training at high volumes for a significant amount of time, aim to cycle in a recovery week or even a de-load week.
Regarding sleep, we need to consider both quantity and quality. We tend to underestimate the power of sleep. Sleep is a critical component of optimal health and wellness. It helps with body composition, hormone regulation, and body recovery. The average adult generally needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night. To help improve sleep, start by setting a bed and wake time. Aim to maintain these times, so your body can start a routine. Consistency is key! Practice turning electronics off before bed and avoid using them once you get in bed. Keeping a calm environment and minimizing excessive lights or noises will help improve sleep. Exercise is also a great way to promote restful sleep. Before going to bed, try practicing simple relaxation techniques like breathing. This can help bring the body to a more parasympathetic state, allowing for improved sleep.
Learn something new every day! Be the forever student and dive into evidence-based practices. Take what you've learned and apply your findings to your journeys. We are part of a forever-evolving world, so we must stay updated on the latest literature. This applies to all realms and fields. Do be careful as to who you accept information from if you are looking to start a health and wellness journey, do your research. We do this with everything else; we research good plumbers, electricians, painters, etc., so why not research your potential health and wellness coach? Not only do we encourage you to learn about your journey and other topics, but start to learn about yourself. Start becoming mindful of your body by listening to your internal and external cues. Journaling can be a great way to work on mindfulness. This can be helpful when seeing what works and what doesn't work for you.
Embrace your journey! Use your surrounding to help keep you on your path, aka motivators. We can rely on both internal and external motivators. Internal motivation refers to your internal drive. What is fueling you to embark on a journey? We recommend writing your personal "why," put it in a place you will see every day, and when you see it, say it out loud. Your personal "why" will be your strongest motivation. But, we also might need the help of our friends, family, and other groups; these are our external motivators. Surround yourself with those who will lend a helping hand when you need some extra support. Remember that there will be bumps in the road, but always resort to your motivators to keep you on track.
Explore the world and all it has to offer, even if it is a mile down the road. Experience new things and new places. As we experience new things, we become more understanding and appreciative of others and the things we have. We start to fully embrace life. Travel is a great form of stress relief and helps to improve moods. Simple things you can do to travel more are to practice mini getaways. This could be to a local park, or maybe you and the family embark on a road trip. It can be as simple or grand as the times allow. Plan ahead or even be spontaneous. This perfect form of self-care allows us to be present and live in the moment. It's also a great way to improve physical activity levels. Take a hike or walk around town. Enjoy the great outdoors!
Remember, we just started scratching the surfaces within each of these categories. Start small with your goals, and practice doing one thing at a time. Don't feel like you need to make a complete 360; pick one habit to practice and master that habit. Once you have mastered that habit, start incorporating the next—no need for extreme measures. Find small, simple habits that you can start to incorporate into your daily living, and find the fun in them! Next, you will be living the healthiest and best version of yourself!
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