As we move into 2021 it’s important to focus on our health and look for simple ways to improve our wellbeing. With so much uncertainty in our world, we need to focus on what we can control with regard to our physical and mental health.
The choices we make have significant impacts on our health. How we spend our time, what we eat and our activity levels all impact our health. Making the decision to prioritise your health is the first step. From there follow these 5 simple rules:
1. PLAN AND PREPARE: When it comes to regular exercise and healthy eating you can’t leave it to chance, you need to actively plan your day/week to ensure you stay on track. Decide your optimal time to exercise and make sure you have access to healthy food options. Without planning it’s easy to become too busy for exercise and when you are busy you will simply grab food that is available, healthy or not.
2. SMALL STEPS: Keep your goals manageable, don’t make big plans too quickly. When we set ourselves the big goals with a set timeframe we create extra pressure. Let’s say you want to lose 10kgs, give yourself a realistic time frame of 3-6 months. A 0.5kg weekly target is achievable and allows for fluctuations in your motivation and events that will stall your progress.
3. STRENGTH IS KEY: Strength training is vital for good health. It stimulates muscle tissue, maintains our bones and is crucial for weight loss and metabolic health. Gym training is excellent but if you don’t have access to a lot of equipment you can adapt your workout and use alternate loads for the same effect.
4. REST AND RECOVERY: Never underestimate the importance of your rest and recovery. Regular training will result in fatigue so to ensure you maintain your performance you need to get enough rest and recovery. Sleep is the number 1 way to regenerate your tissues so you need to get enough good quality sleep every day. If you struggle with your sleep patterns try setting yourself some guidelines such as maintaining the same bedtime and wake time every day so your body gets used to the routine. It’s also good to ensure the room temperature is right as it is more difficult to get to sleep in hot or humid conditions.
5. BALANCE: Finding the right balance between exercise, eating and recovery may take some time. However, when you find your balance it will be much easier to maintain good health, both physically and mentally.
Our physical and mental health are intertwined. It’s a complex relationship but one that will benefit from sticking to these simple guidelines. When we are fit and healthy it supports good mental health. When things get out of balance and we are not active, eating and sleeping well, we are more prone to higher levels of stress and anxiety. This imbalance then rolls into a compounding problem with higher levels of stress making us more vulnerable to poor food and lifestyle choices. It also disrupts our sleep which makes everything worse.
So the key to getting, and staying, on track with your health and fitness is simply a matter of priorities and choices. Make the commitment to your health. Plan ahead, take small steps forward, stay strong, give yourself time to recover and find your balance. You will soon be enjoying the benefits of good health and looking forward with optimism and positivity.