Heading from a busy social summer to a sleepier autumn (hello, comfort food!), it might be difficult to tick all the boxes to embracing a healthy lifestyle. However, renowned physiotherapist and author of Get Yourself Back In Motion Jason Smith, shares his top five holistic lifestyle tips which can help make a noticeable difference for the year ahead.
1. Get 8 hours sleep
Dedicating your lifestyle choices to health and wellness requires adequate rest.
About 75% of us experience sleep interruptions or difficulties at least two to three nights a week. Getting at least 8 hours sleep a night should be a priority but often when we do go to bed, our minds are consumed with thoughts preventing us from relaxation.
Sleep loss is accumulative. Every hour you miss each night places extra stress on your body, and your ability to function during the day will be compromised. To restore your sleep deficit, try to add an extra hour each night until you’re feeling replenished.
TIP: Sleep requires quantity as well as quality. Since we spend one third of our lives sleeping, consider all the options available to ensure you’re investing in the right mattress for your needs.
Innerspring: Constructed using coils, the more the better. Innersprings are a good choice for anyone who is overweight or obese due to a maximum load capacity.
Memory Foam: Made with layers of dense foam, these mattresses contour your body shape, which reduces pressure points. The foam absorbs movement so you won’t run the risk of waking your partner with a restless sleep.
Latex: Created using synthetic or natural rubber, this mattress is rather bouncy, yet firm with good support. It has a similar functionality to memory foam and contours your body but pushes back for additional support. If you’re suffering from chronic back pain this mattress is a good choice.
2. Healthy eating
Healthy eating should be incorporated into your daily life and not be seen as a short-term diet. Managing your weight is an essential component of long-term health.
Eating in Moderation: Eat small meals every 3-4 hours to keep your metabolism ticking over. Consuming a range of proteins, legumes, vegetables and fruits is the best way to achieve a balanced diet.
Don’t Skip Meals: Restricting your meals is counterproductive to losing weight. Chances are your hunger will catch up to you and you’ll risk binging on the closest food which may not be nutritious.
Be the Chef: Take control of your diet by cooking and preparing your own meals. Often when buying take-out we don’t see some of the nasties that go into the meal, i.e. the oils used, salt and sugar content. Start with some simple recipes to gain confidence as you get to know your ingredients.
Developing a positive relationship with exercise is key to living a life that is nourished by a natural promoter of endorphins. Commit to being life-fit and you can expect to feel and see the results. Back In Motion’s Results4Life® philosophy is about developing a tailored health and fitness pathway that is consistent and long term. The sooner you develop some sustainable healthy habits, the easier it will feel to stay committed. It becomes a new lifestyle with rich rewards.
* Walk or ride to work
* Join a yoga, Pilates, Zumba or dance class to mix it up
* Park your car further away from your destination
* Use lunchtime as a fitness break: stretch and walk
* Take the stairs not the escalators
Water is essential to maintaining your health, and even more so when you’re exercising. Drinking water before, during and even after exercise prevents muscle cramps.
Insufficient hydration reduces your ability to sweat, which is your body’s natural cooling process. Without enough water you can experience dehydration, dizziness and fatigue.
Purchase an aluminium water bottle to keep on your desk
After strenuous exercise, opt for coconut water over a sports drink. It’s high in natural electrolytes (potassium, sodium, magnesium and chloride) with no added sugar
Aim to drink at least 8 cups a day
5. Stress Managements
Your emotional well-being and mental health are critical to your overall wellness. Negative emotions trigger physical reactions that can have knock-on effects such as stress on your muscles, which lead to body pain.
Managing high stress levels means incorporating enough rest, healthy eating as well as exercising to release serotonin and thus emit endorphins.
Jason Smith is the founder of Back In Motion Health Group, Australia’s leading provider of physiotherapy and related services. Jason’s book Get Yourself Back In Motion is available at Back In Motion practices around Australia, major book retailers and online bookstores RRP $34.95.