What is healthy living anyways?
It can be defined as: the practice of health enhancing behaviors. Or in simple terms, living in healthy ways.
My goal for you after reading this would be to have some good foundational practices to be able to fit into your daily lives. No fads or quick fix recommendations here. No cleanses or Whole Foods purchase suggestions.
So let’s talk about the areas that we tend to know are important, but we don’t always prioritize.
Let us first assume genetics and access to health care is equal across the board. What should we be looking at to live as healthy as possible?
- Daily Movement: for physical and mental well being
- Stress Management/Mental Health Support
The idea of 10,000 steps actually has no origin in regard to a health standard. It stemmed from a 1965 marketing campaign when a Japanese company made a device named Manpo-kei, which translates to “10,000 steps meter”. Since that number became engrained in us as a health goal, studies have been done and findings came back that the number to show significant impact on actual mortality rates is closer to 7,500 steps.
For exercise, the weekly recommendations are 75-150 minutes weekly of moderate to vigorous exercise. This was set forth by the federal government guidelines in 2008.
Professionally speaking, prioritize some sort of resistance training and then fill in the gaps with exercise you enjoy! (And If you are lucky you also enjoy strength training)
If you haven’t heard by now, water is a pretty vital thing for overall health. A good gauge of adequate intake is to drink ½ your body weight in ounces. From clear skin to weight loss and digestion. Even in regard to pelvic floor health, we need to Drink up!
As mothers, sleep can be a precious commodity. Am I right? I havn’t seen the other side of 7 hours in 4.5 years. And you want uninterrupted sleep? Ha!
General sleep recommendations for adults 18-64 years of age is 7-9 hours of sleep nightly. Sleep is not only important in physical health but also mental health. Our brains need time to shut down and repair just as much as our bodies. Enter “mom brain” here.
Lack of sleep trickles into so many other common struggles, especially when we talk about weight loss and stress management. Sleep amount and quality is something I have all clients incorporate in their weekly check ins. Why? If we lack sleep we tend to have cravings for sugar, higher cortisol, higher stress and a vicious cycle from there.
Stress Management & Mental Health
Can’t log extra hours just yet? Try looking to reduce stress in other areas. Maybe add a daily meditation. There are many apps out there to assist in this.
Another small time commitment suggestion: incorporating something as little as a 7-10 minute restorative yoga session to your week. Can you get outdoors? Studies show the fresh air and Vitamin D can be key players in mental health and stress management.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a well known neurosurgeon, recommends not only some movement for mental and cognitive health but having a meaningful conversation with someone. Go for a walk AND a talk with a friend. It can check so many boxes!
No juice cleanse recommendations here. (Thank you liver for doing that for us).
I won’t even tell you to eat 100% organic.
Focus on the big rocks. Often we get too caught up in the finer details that we don’t actually pay attention to the most impactful, long term things. What the majority of our intake looks like.
- Prioritize protein. Generally speaking .8-1g per pound of lean body mass is significant. That can be from whatever sources you find best for your body and ethics. Aim for variety when possible!
- Fill up on fruits, veggies and colors! Aim for fresh when you can. Frozen can do the trick as well. Don’t fret if you can’t buy all organic. Check the “Dirty Dozen” and see what you can get organic from there.
- Limit processed foods to 20% or less of your main diet. A couple key ingredients to look for: hydrogenated oils, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup.
While specific needs will be greatly dependent on the individual, generally speaking we can all benefit from checking the above boxes. Seek individualization when at a stall on your own specific health goals.
What also helps? Knowing you aren’t alone! What area do you need the most focus on lately?