Becoming healthier and happy doesn't have to include hours of hardcore cardio, cutting out entire food groups and feeling stressed out and hungry all the time. I have found that there are a few simple things we can do to build strength, lose fat and feel energized and motivated. Step into 2024 with these five powerful tips and you will reach optimal health and wellness - and who doesn't want that? Here are the much awaited tips:
Start Strength Training
This tip is quite simple really - just start lifting heavy things. Whatever heavy means to you at this very moment, pick it up and lift it until your muscles feel tired after 10 reps. Whether that means 5lb weights or 25lbs weights, it doesn't matter, the point is that it should feel challenging to you based on your current level of strength. Move past the myth that strength training is just for bodybuilders and that if you start lifting weights, soon you will look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Building muscles to that point is pretty much a full time job and we don't have time for that do we? In fact, all you need to do is commit to at least 30 minutes of strength training one to three times a week, and you'll reap profound benefits.
How does building muscles help you lose fat? First, it boosts your metabolism, helping you shed excess weight and maintain a healthy body composition. Second, it strengthens your bones, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Third, it enhances your mood and mental well-being by releasing endorphins. Fourth, it improves your bodies ability to process glucose thus improving insulin sensitivity and improving your overall metabolic health. Finally, it improves your posture and reduces the risk of injury in everyday activities. So grab those dumbbells, water bottles, books, rocks - honestly whatever you can find and start to challenge your muscles!
Move More, Sit Less
Humans aren't designed for prolonged sitting; our bodies thrive on continuous movement. Physical activity should be a constant in your daily routine. Aim to take 10,000 steps or more every day, and remember that it's not just about hitting the gym for 30 minutes and then being a couch potato for the rest of the day. Incorporate movement into your daily life by taking the stairs, walking or biking to work, and parking farther away from your destination. This helps improve cardiovascular health, boost your mood, and maintain a healthy weight. For every extra 1,000 steps you take beyond 4,000 daily steps, your overall mortality risk decreases by a remarkable 15%.
Your diet plays a pivotal role in reaching your health and wellness goals. Feeling hungry all day and trying to cut calories to lose weight might work in the short term, but it's not healthy and is definitely not sustainable. Protein is the key to reducing your cravings by feeling satisfied for longer. Make protein a cornerstone of your meals by aiming for one gram of protein per pound of your optimal body weight. Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth, and it keeps you feeling full and satisfied, reducing unhealthy snacking. Include lean sources like chicken, fish, beans, and tofu in your diet. Don't forget to load up on fruits and vegetables for essential vitamins and minerals. A balanced, protein-centric diet sets the stage for a healthy body and mind.
Water is often underestimated but is fundamental to your health. Ensure you're drinking enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Proper hydration supports digestion, regulates body temperature, and promotes clear skin. It also helps in flushing toxins out of your system. Carry a reusable water bottle with you as a reminder to sip regularly, and aim for at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water daily. Your body will thank you for this simple yet effective step.
In the hustle and bustle of modern life, sleep is often sacrificed. However, it's a non-negotiable aspect of optimal health and wellness. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Sleep is when your body repairs itself, consolidates memories, and regulates hormones. A good night's rest enhances mood, cognitive function, and physical performance. Create a sleep-friendly environment by keeping your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet. Establish a bedtime routine to signal to your body that it's time to wind down.
As we embrace 2024, let these five tips be your guiding light towards optimal health and wellness. If you feel overwhelmed start with one and add on as you go! Ideally you will find a way to commit to strength training, move more throughout the day, prioritize protein in your diet, stay hydrated, and prioritize quality sleep. These small changes in your daily routine will lead to dramatic improvements in your overall well-being. Remember, health is an ongoing journey, and the choices you make today will pave the way for a healthier, happier you in the future. Cheers to a year of vibrant health and wellness!
Until next time,