All too often we see people embarking on a new health regime and being guilty of a common mistake. They begin micromanaging their health in one to two ways and forget the bigger picture.
A good example of this is people joining a gym and going 5 days a week but ignoring their nutrition. Or people becoming obsessed with their nutrition but not considering their sleeping habits or sun exposure – all key aspects to promote overall health and wellbeing.
Synergy Health has developed the ‘10 Healthy Habits’. These are the foundation for all of our programs. These habits have stood the test of time, are simple to follow, and when implemented can have a significant impact on an individual’s overall health and wellbeing.
1. REDUCE FAKE FOODS
In simple terms, fake foods are those which are heavily processed and often contain large amounts of sugar. They often contain a long list of ingredients which are not overly nourishing by themselves. If your food comes in a packet, can, or a box and you need a chemistry degree to read the label, you just may be eating fake food!
Try to avoid cereals, bread, cakes, and biscuits. In fact anything beige.
2. EAT REAL FOOD
Eating food which is as close to its natural state as possible is the best way to ensure your body is receiving nourishment as nature intended it. Eating real food, from animals and plants, takes away a lot of the confusion. It also avoids falling into the trap of thinking you need to count calories or manage your carbohydrate, protein, or fat ratios! Who has time for that? Food is delicious, nutrition math isn’t.
Eat vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
3. MOVE SLOWLY LOTS
One of the things which make us uniquely human is our ability to walk on two limbs, tall and upright, and for long periods of time. Modern living often sees us idle and hunched over a desk. For optimal health, we need to find our feet again and move. The average office bound worker walks 3,000 steps per day – well short of the recommended 10,000 steps per day or the 40,000 we did as hunter gatherers!
The optimal ratio is 20:2. For every 20 minutes being seated, move or stand for 2 minutes to offset the risk of chronic disease.
4. MOVE QUICKLY ONCE IN A WHILE
Moving fast now and then can give you all of the health benefits of a longer slow jog but in a lot shorter time-frame. This can be achieved by moving as fast as you can (any way you like) for only a few seconds at a time. Complete this just a couple of times a week to see the health benefits.
Cycle, swim or run for 3 x 15-20 seconds preferably twice per week. A great return on investment in your overall health and wellbeing efforts!
5. GET STRONG
Alongside moving our body both fast and slow, for optimal health we need to ensure our muscles remain strong. It is the ultimate example of ‘use it or lose it’.
Take the stairs (maybe even two at a time), carry your groceries to the car, piggy-back your kids. Look for daily opportunities to get and stay strong.
6. GET ADEQUATE SLEEP
Good quality sleep is essential to promoting overall health. Our modern day environment tends to be full of sleep disruptors – sugary foods, caffeine and light from technology gadgets.
Expose your eyes to bright light during the day, eliminate caffeine after 2pm, download F.Lux on your technology gadgets and aim for 7 ½ – 9 hours of quality sleep each night.
7.GET ADEQUATE SUNLIGHT
Sitting indoors all day shielded from the sunlight is not ideal for our health. Our skin and eyes (and from these organs, the rest of our body) need sensible sun exposure.
Get yourself out into the light at regular intervals. Aim for 10 – 30 minutes per day depending on skin type. No sunblock – but don’t burn!
How do you combine moving fast, slow, being outdoors, and in a way that can make you smile, laugh, and have fun? You play. You grab a Frisbee and a mate (human or canine), and you unplug from the world in a moment of fun and spontaneity.
Adding bouts of play during the week is great for your overall wellbeing.
9. MANAGE YOUR THINKING
Much of our thinking occurs at a subconscious level. This mechanism allows us to process large amounts of information as we don’t need to pay a lot of attention to it. Unfortunately, however, this mechanism also means a simple trigger can set off a string of negative habitual thinking patterns – without us even knowing it!
Even the smartest people can become very irrational when we are not applying the conscious logical filter on our thinking.
Think more about what you’ve been thinking about. Especially when feeling stress or frustration. You may be surprised at how irrational you can be!
10. ENGAGE YOURSELF
It’s important to be able to identify what drives your behaviour. What motivates you? Is it being creative? Working within a team? Learning? Taking on new challenges?
Whatever it is, it’s important to take ownership of this and proactively design your week to ensure you get fulfilment doing these things. Don’t leave it to chance!
PROMOTING THE ’10 HEALTHY HABITS’
Given we are often short on time look for opportunities to promote multiple habits at the same time. A great example is throwing a Frisbee. This allows you to meet at least 5 of the '10 Healthy Habits' (‘move quickly once and a while’, ‘move slowly lots’, ‘lift heavy things’, ‘get adequate sunlight’ and ‘play’).
Figure out how many of the Healthy Habits are fulfilled doing activities like sneaker meetings (walking meetings), walking up the stairs or playing with the kids.
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