My 7 Top Health Practices
Happy Monday! I was listening to a sermon the other day, and the preacher shared that it’s in the small, dedicated practices that create long-term change. So, what better way to start the week than to share some of my favorite day-to-day health practices that cumulatively make a big impact on our overall wellness!
7 Healthy Living Practices for a Healthy Life
1. Start off Day with Water and Fats
After multiple hours (hopefully!) of sleeping without water, the body becomes slightly dehydrated. Think about that first glass of water as the power turning on the lights inside. You know when you see that scene in a movie when a dark room suddenly glows with the brightest of lights with the flick of a switch? That is what water does–it energizes your cells, boots up your metabolism and flushes out toxins.
Furthermore, sometimes when we are awake and feel hungry, we are actually thirsty, so the water helps us determine how much food to eat without overeating. A glass of room temperature water is a great start to the day, and adding fresh lemon juice and/ or 1-2 tbs of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is even. better!
As far as the fats, our body’s engines crave this nutrient for so many functions. By consuming fats first thing in the morning, it sends a message to your brain to stimulate your metabolism and utilize fats for fuel (instead of carbs). We need plenty of healthy fats, friends.
Some of my favorite options include:
- Grass-fed meats and eggs
- Wild-caught fish
- Almond butter with a piece of fruit
- Eggs + sweet potato
- Avocado, chia seed pudding
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Smoothie with coconut milk or flakes
- Check out my morning fuel recipes smoothies for more ideas!
2. Sleep at least 7 hours, ideally 2 hours before midnight
The research is in! Sleep trumps so many of the healthy practices we work into our daily lives. Do not get me wrong, exercise, healthy eating, showering … they are all necessary and good habits. However, the need for adequate and good quality rest of absolutely utterly essential to good health.
So much happens during our zzz’s like body detoxification, cell regeneration, hormone balance (hey, weight loss!), and a brain reboot, to name a few.
Adults need 7-9 hours of good sleep to experience health benefits. However, there are quite a few health detriments for a lack of sleep, too. Did you know that a chronic (long-term) lack of good sleep is the main instigator of many diseases and reactions (like a stroke)?
Here is a list of health hazards made by Dr. Mercola in his article Nobel Prize-Winning Science Highlights Importance of Good Sleep for Health”. So prioritize your rest, friends!
Effects of Lack of Sleep to Our body and Productivity:
- Reduced ability to learn or remember
- Reduced athletic performance
- Increased risk of neurological problems, ranging from depression to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- Reduced regulation of emotions and emotional perception
- Reduced productivity at work and poor grades in school
- Reduced creativity at work or in other activities
- Increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease
- Increased susceptibility to stomach ulcers
- Reduced ability to perform tasks
- Slowed reaction time
- Decreased immune function
- Contributes to premature aging by interfering with growth hormone production, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep
3. Read a book or journal before bed
Speaking of sleep–the kind of light from our technologies drastically affects the quality of our sleep, so if we are staring into the abyss of the internet or emails 30 seconds before bed, your brain is confused if it is daytime or night-time.
The best way to calm down the mind and shift into rest mode (especially if you struggle with good quality sleep) is to read a book or journal for at least 30 min in bed. This is one of my favorite parts of the day because I get to be in a calm and quiet place, reading a book or my bible, journaling some thoughts.
Whether I am reflecting, goal setting, or fully enjoying a good beach read about a cheesy love story, my body is settling down and understanding that rest is soon. Taking this time can help you sleep more soundly and wake up more refreshed.
4. Pictures around my home
I love my people, and seeing them every day around my house makes my soul happy. Surrounding ourselves with people who bring us joy and makes us better are those who I call AV (added value) people. I need my AV folks with me all the time, and because most do not live in Atlanta with me, photos are the next best thing.
5. Move my body 4-5 x a week, mix-up workouts
Movement is life for the body. God designed us to stand, to move, to squat. Our muscles should be worked and moved. Moving every day is important, and intentionally exercising 4-5 x a week is a positive thing, not only for the cardio system but also for the mind.
Research shows that decreased incidents of depression and digestive issues are related to regular exercising. Moving your body helps circulate blood flow, flushes out toxins, gets into those stubborn fat cells for weight loss, improves skin, and supports mood balance.
So much goodness comes from exercising! Now, make sure you enjoy your workouts–sometimes they push you beyond your limits, while other times they are meant to be rejuvenating. They are always meant to be fun, though!
6. Create a vision board
When we are clear on what we want to achieve, accomplish, purchase, and enjoy, the path to these things becomes easier to navigate. One is able to see an end goal and make the effort to work her or his way to that point.
For the first time last year, I created a vision board with various pictures and quotes describing things on which I wanted to focus in 2017 (work, health, and personal goals). I keep the collage in my bathroom, so I see it every morning. This helps me always remember my purpose and the things I set to accomplish on a daily basis.
7. Eliminate sugars
Do our bodies need sugar? Just a slightly teeny tiny amount, yes. From whole foods like blueberries and sweet potatoes. However, most everything else can be tossed out of the window. Sugar in excess is inflammatory, and inflammation is what triggers various diseases.
One of the best health practices we can make is to eliminate all process sugars from our diets and limit even the natural sugars (so not having a massive bowl of fruit at each meal). Simply because the body can only handle so much sugar at one time.