Improving your health does require time and dedication, but it isn’t as hard as you might think. While there are some cliche reminders that you have all heard a hundred times like “Smoking kills!” and “Stay off sugar!” the truth is that improving health is not only about thorough steps.
It is about simple things that don’t need a lot of effort, but just a small amount of willpower, commitment and dedication. And it is about the little adjustments and substitutes that you can integrate while doing the same exact things you do anyway but in a slightly new method.
In this article, we will emphasize some of them, giving you ideas and motivation to incorporate some (if not all) of them into your groove. Let’s start.
Dehydration is one of the torment of the present time. We are all moving forward both on a professional and personal level and we do amazing things on a day by day. We come up with our to-do lists that has various tasks that seem important, and yet we forget the most important thing that makes us – water.
Our bodies consist of 60% water and if you want to stay high-spirited, healthy, on point, you need to make sure you drink enough water, throughout the day.
You can start by having a water bottle next to your bed. As soon as you get up, the first thing you should do is drink water. By just doing that, you rehydrate the body in an instant, which is lacking water as you were not drinking anything during your sleep.
This will not only give you an energy boost but will also give benefit to your heart. When you are dehydrated, your blood becomes thicker, forcing the heart to exert effort overtime. Water is a natural blood thinner, and it will reduce some pressure immediately.
But don’t stop there, you need to drink water throughout your entire day. Have a water bottle in your purse that will be with you at all times, and another one on your desk while you work at the office. The recommended 3.7 liters per day for men and 2.7 for women sounds like a lot, but when it’s rolled out during the day, it is not that hard to reach.
Also, any liquid counts – coffee (read more about the health benefits of coffee here), milk, soups , it all adds up. The only exception is alcohol, which actually causes dehydration.
Hit the Sack Earlier than usual
Not getting enough sleep is the same as dehydration, as it doesn’t show much direct symptoms, but you can feel the toll of it all over the body. The most obvious ones are the inability to focus, constant exhaustion, and mood swings.
While relaxing in front of a TV is good, you would be better off if you would power it off and go straight to bed. An extra hour of sleep every night is something simple that can do so much for your health.
Although it seems sleeping is like wasting time, an extra hour of night sleep will give you a huge energy kick, making your whole day more fruitful. Your work or college performance will be recognizable, and since sleep is the foundation stone of recovery, you are likely to hit some new PRs in the weight room. If you are struggling to sleep longer during the night, try taking a power nap in the afternoon, that counts too.
But it is not only about the number of hours you sleep, the quality also matters, which is something that is often overlooked.
- First, try not to eat anything two hours before bed.
- Limit your before-bed water consumption too; you don’t want to wake up just to goo pee.
- Also, it is important to avoid any caffeinated drinks six hours before your usual bedtime, as this can ruin the quality your sleep.
We highly recommend this book:
Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
It is a good idea to use earplugs, especially if you have noisy neighbors, pets, or if loud traffic is around the corner. If you find them unbearable, a white noise machine (or a YouTube playlist) can help. As for the light pollution, you can use thick dark curtains or a sleep eye mask.
Lastly, lower the room temperature, it will improve the quality of your sleep. If you don’t want to waste electrical energy on AC, or the street is too noisy to keep your window open, try sleeping without sheets, and/or naked.
Take Rests From Sitting by Stretching
Yes, it is a good idea to sign up for a yoga class, we are talking about something much simpler – stand up from your desk from time to time. Sitting is ruining our bodies, and you are probably crooked over your phone right now as you read this post.
Our bodies are not drafted for constant sitting, for long period of hours.
Even if you go to the gym regularly, that is only an hour a day, every other day. Not enough when you compare it to eight hours of sitting at your office desk, and then three more hours at home while watching TV or scrolling down FB or IG feed.
While you can’t just quit your job because you are sitting all they, there are things you can do to fight its adverse effects. Opt for a standing desk, if possible. Standing up is so much more natural than hunching in an office chair, and it will do wonders for your spine.
If that is not an option, set up a Pomodoro timer. Set it every 25 minutes and when it rings, stand up, and take a five-minute break. Use it to stretch – your pecs, hamstrings, hip flexors and thoracic extensors shorten the most when you sit all day, so focus on those muscles.
Use the break to go to the pantry and drink a glass of water. This will help you meet your daily water intake goals too. Pomodoro breaks can do wonders as well for your productivity – you will keep the sharpness throughout the working hours, preventing burn-out.
Clutch on the Giant Set
It’s time to try giant sets. This advice is for people who are already visiting the gym. Those of you who aren’t, you should really think about it. We all know, “bro” splits work excellent for making your biceps and pecs bigger. And while there is nothing unhealthy about having big or defined guns, on the contrary, there is a much better way you can spend your gym hour, and that is by doing giant sets.
You can still do the same exercises, but with a minimal twitch. Instead of doing all sets of an exercise before switching to the next one, do one set of each exercise, one after the other, without pause in between. You will rest only after you finish the whole cycle of exercises, between two giant sets.
You will keep your heart rate racing throughout the whole giant set which is superb for fat loss, endurance, and much better for overall health than a regular set-rest-set-rest scheme by doing giant sets.
Further more, it will cut your workout time in half, since there is no rest between exercises or sets, only after each cycle. So no more attempt to justify on how you don’t have time to get to the gym!
Take Some Tests
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. So you need to start tracking. Start simple, one day every week, stepping on a scale just after you wake up. While you’re there, grab a tape measure, and check your waist circumference.
Write those numbers down, and do the same each week. Measuring your weight doesn’t tell the whole truth, as you can lose muscle and water instead of fat. Waist circumference tells a lot about your overall health – waist wider than 40 inches for men, and 35 inches for women is directly linked to health risks like diabetes, hypertension and various cardiovascular issues.
But scales and tape measures don’t give you accurate information about your body composition, for that you will need something like a DEXA scan. Doing that will tell you the exact amount of body fat you carry, but also your bone density, muscle mass, and other useful information that will give you a better idea what needs to be worked on. And you will know exactly if you are losing/gaining fat or muscle.
These procedures are now much more cut-rate than they used to be, which puts them within reach of the ordinary people – they are no longer a luxury for professional athletes solely.
If you want to go a step ahead, do blood tests every three months, and show your doctor the results. If there is something out of the ordinary, he/she will advise you what you need to change, most likely regarding your diet.
As you can see, we didn’t lie in the intro, all of our five steps are easy to follow. Drink water as soon as you wake up, take breaks by stretching from sitting every 25 minutes, hit the sack a bit earlier, try doing giant sets, and get a DEXA scan – nothing too burdensome for you.
But, if you do it regularly, it can help you feel much better and become healthier. Your only job is to try it, and you can also share with us your results.