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How are your health habits?

Many say they are too busy to include new habits into their day for better health

The problem with habits is that they take time and effort — something we don’t naturally drift to. Health is an ongoing series of habits and decisions you make every day, but one of the biggest barriers clients tell me about is not having enough time to include new healthy habits into their life. They are too busy to commit to a schedule, complete daily tasks to support their long-term health, or to take time for themselves.

Here’s three simple things you can add into your routine to move towards a healthier set of habits:

1. Get down on the ground

The simple act of spending time on the ground, and getting back up again is an amazingly easy way to get the whole body moving. Sit, however is comfortable, kneel, or even lay down — and then — get up! That’s it. Do that 20 to 50 times a day for the best results. Start with what you can handle, and build from there. For all you farmers thinking, “I move all day, this doesn’t apply to me,” think again. Yes, you may have an active work life, but you are at just as much risk as a desk worker of overuse injury, joint immobility, and disease. If you have joint pain or other health conditions preventing you from doing this simple movement, go to a practitioner to get help in dealing with that. One of the best tests of longevity is this simple (and yes, it should be simple), act of moving your body weight from the ground level to an upright position unassisted. No matter what your age or ability, you’ll feel much healthier for this addition to your day.

2. Hydrate

The majority of people are not drinking nearly enough water. Why is hydration so important? Water does many things for the body. Our brain function relies on proper hydration and will use most of what we get into ourselves immediately just for baseline functioning. All our tissues all the way down to a cell level require water to be healthy. Joint stiffness, muscle soreness, fatigue, headaches, bloating, water retention, arthritis, sleep issues, low mood quality — you name it — can probably relate back to poor hydration habits. For those of you with existing health conditions or looking to lose weight, this is extra important.

How much do you need to drink? You should have a water bottle with you throughout the day, and be taking sips routinely. Generally, two to three litres per day for a healthy adult is adequate.

For those concerned about more frequent trips to the bathroom, this won’t be a long-term inconvenience, but allow for an adjustment period. Try adding herb or fruit (lemon is popular) infusions. Tea counts as intake as well, but coffee and other sugary drinks not so much.

3. The 80 per cent rule

There are many things I could tell you about why you should stick to whole foods and a variable diet full of things we all know are good for us, but instead, here’s a simple guideline. Eat slowly and mindfully, and stop putting things in your mouth when you feel 80 per cent full. Get the distractions (like your phone) away from your eating area, and enjoy what you’re eating. Being 80 per cent should feel satisfied — not hungry, not stuffed. Pay attention to what your stomach is telling you, and then listen to it!

About the author

Contributor

Kathlyn Hossack runs a clinical practice, Integrative Movement in Winnipeg, Manitoba and consults clients throughout Alberta on a regular basis. For questions or consultations email her at [email protected].

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