Last Monday I shared with you 5 simple tips that could help you to improve your health, with a focus on emotional health.
This week we are focusing on physical health with the remaining 5 tips, thus completing the set of 10 tips for a healthier life.
5 Tips to improve your physical health
1. Move your body
We are definitely moving creatures and we need to move as much as we need oxygen in the lungs. Did you know that sitting is already considered the "smoking of the 21st century"? Sitting for many hours straight is already considered a risk factor for developing heart disease and cancer, even for those who exercise.
When we are sitting down, our big muscles are relaxed and the energy consumption is drastically reduced, as well as the blood and lymph circulation. This can have long term consequences.
Besides the importance of doing some physical activity on a regular basis, it is also important to move your body throughout the day. If you have a sedentary job, take regular breaks (at least every half hour) and get up, walk around and do some stretching exercises.
Until these breaks to move get into your working routine, it can be difficult to remember you need to move. But you can always put an alarm on your phone to remind you that it is time to move or do it together with co-workers, in order to get extra motivated about it.
Did you know that there are adaptable stand up desks that allow you to work on your computer while standing on your feet? I found them a brilliant idea!
Another easy tip to keep some muscle involvement while sitting is alternating periods of sitting on a regular chair with periods sitting on a yoga ball. Due to the instability of the ball, some of our muscles, especially the core ones, are required to remain active in order to maintain balance. Sitting on a ball can help improve posture, balance and body stability and there is also a small increase of energy consumption due to muscle activation. I have been using a yoga ball to work on the computer and I'm loving it. But be aware that it is important to ensure that you sit properly on the ball and that you don’t have any lower back issues.
2. Get sun exposure
I wrote about the importance unprotected (without sunscreen) exposure to sun (check post here) for short periods of time but regularly (at least 20 minutes 3 times a week, whenever the weather conditions allow it). Sun exposure is essential for the production of vitamin D and it is undoubtedly the best way to obtain it.
Walk more outdoors, have lunch at terraces or take a break at work to get 10 minutes of sun exposure are some strategies that can incorporate into your daily routine. Being so important to our health, I think this practice should become as common as a coffee break already is in most workplaces.
3. Drink more water
One of these days someone commented to me that she could not drink more water because then she would have to go more often to the bathroom, which could adversely affect her performance at work. I was a little bit in shock but quickly remembered that I’ve been in this position before. I was the kind of person who wouldn’t do anything that could undermine my performance at work. I used to have lunch in front of my computer, I would never pause for coffee breaks and I would even avoided talking to my colleagues in working hours, so that nothing could distract me. I had the idea that if I had an excellent performance at work I would be very happy. I was wrong.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be very good at what you do, quite the contrary. Why wasting your time to do something if you’re doing it wrong? But more working hours, in most cases, does not mean better quality of work. And one of the most important factors to have a good performance is undoubtedly enjoy from good health. Without health nothing works.
Water covers about 65 % of our body for some reason. It is essential for the majority of our physiological processes. The vast majority of us live in a constant state of dehydration, without even knowing it. A simple way to know if you are drinking enough water is to look at your urine (Yes! Take a look!). You urine should be clear, with a very soft yellowish color, almost colorless, and should not have a strong odor (except the first urine in the morning, which is naturally more concentrated). If your urine is constantly yellow and has odor, then you’re probably not drinking enough water. (Note that certain medicines or foods may change the color of your urine).
Simple ways to increase your water intake are, for instance, starting in the morning with 1-2 glasses of water (I explain why on this post here), have a large bottle of water at your desk to sip throughout the day and increase the consumption of foods rich in water, such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
4. Contact more with Nature
We were not meant to be enclosed within four walls all day long. We need contact with nature, looking to the green, breathe fresh air, feel the breeze on our face and tread the earth.Being in nature lifts up our senses, stimulates our creativity, reduces our anxiety and gives us a sense of belonging and community.
Whenever possible, at least during the weekend, seek contact with nature. Take a walk in the countryside, go for a hike and contemplate the view, go for a picnic or read a book in a park ...
One of the strategies I found a few years ago to get me more enthusiastic about the contact with nature was starting to do Geocaching. For those of you not familiar with it, it is an outdoors activity carried out in the entire world that works much like a chasing a treasure, using coordinates and hints. It is an excellent activity to be in touch with nature, with friends or family.
5. Eat Fresh Food
I could not leave this one out of the list. What we eat is without doubt decisive on how we feel. After all, we are what we eat.
One of the best changes you can make in your diet to improve your health is definitely eat more fresh foods and decrease the intake of processed foods. Nature has prepared us the best "menu" for us to enjoy from the best possible health condition. So it is important to turn fresh, natural and unprocessed food into our predominant source of energy and nutrients.
Include in your daily menu fresh fruits and vegetables in abundance and reduce as much as you can everything that comes in a package with long lists of ingredients in it. Simplify your pantry and surround yourself with fresh and colorful foods, just like nature has prepared for us. You’ll see that it makes a major difference, not only on your physical health but also on an emotional level.
And there you have it, all the 10 tips for a healthier life completed.
I hope you get something useful for you from this and that you feel inspired to make small changes in your daily life to make you better and live with more quality.
Because we all deserve to enjoy life to the fullest!
And don’t forget to leave your comments below!
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