I was having a conversation with a friend yesterday and he asked me to throw a few health conscious tips at him off the top of my head. In friendly conversation I just started rambling off the things that are easy to incorporate daily and have been successful for myself and clients. This list is very basic but can be extremely useful depending on the depth in which you choose to implement these things and make them habit. All these things should be started at a very basic point. Just start them! Then you can go more in depth to each subject with the sciences and so on. My goal with this post is to get people thinking about these things and starting to use them and then I will have a follow up post to each one of these every week that will explain each one a bit more in depth.
1. Be Mindful
This subject in general is the most important practice in achieving good health and a happy life. If you get your mind right,everything else will fall into place much better and much easier. What i mean by being mindful isn't sitting in lotus position on a mountain in Tibet until the mysteries of the universe come to you. Being mindful is as simple as looking around,listening,feeling,smelling,and tasting. Using your sense perceptions in the present moment without any mind chatter. Just try putting 10 minutes a day aside to take a walk and feel the sunlight on your skin and the breeze on your face. Feel the earth beneath every step and the smells in the air,good or bad do not label them just experience them while letting go of thought. Its as simple as enjoying a shower while taking in the water temperature on your skin and the smell of the soap. This is a very basic explanation but very effective and i will follow up much more on this subject soon.
We all know what its like to go without enough sleep for a few days. Not only do we feel physically tired but we also lose a lot of cognitive ability and a constant 'brain fog' so to speak. Quality sleep and good sleep habits are arguably the single most important thing you can sort out and feel like a new person. When i sleep well I recover much faster from training and my state of mind is great. I feel sharp and precise. So much goes on during sleep to repair your body that it cannot be something that you sacrifice because you think you are getting more done. When rested and sharp your work quality is much higher than when you are tired and just going through the motions.
Try unplugging from white light that comes from electronics like TV,cell phone,computers,and tablets 2 hours before bed. Go by candle light or blue light and try to unwind and get in bed same time every night and get up same time in every morning. Shoot for 7.5-8 hours of quality sleep a night. For example go to bed at 10pm and rise with the sun at 5:30-6am. Put this to practice and get on a good routine and I promise you 30 days from now you will feel much better and be by far more productive during the day.
Drink water sounds obvious but if you sit and think about it,how much of the liquid you drink every day is just good old clean water? Most people I have journal what they eat and drink every day come back after a week and show me that water comes out to be 25-40% of the liquids they take in. Soda,juice,coffee, and all the rest seem to take a precedence to water. It is simple as far as I'm concerned. Stop drinking soda because it is poison! You don't need all the high sugar sports drinks and juices either. Coffee and tea in the morning is fine but water should be the liquid of choice. It will hydrate you and keep every cell in your body healthy and happy.
Drink 20oz of water upon awaking to help jumpstart your organs and flush your system. Then eat 45 minutes to an hour later. I shoot for 1oz of water per pound I weigh a day. So I weigh 210lbs so i drink at least 200oz of water a day. At first this sounds like a lot so shoot for half of that per pound and work your way up. Especially in hot summer months and when your exercise routine has been kicked up a notch.
4. Implement A Morning And Evening Routine
I get up and the first 30-40 minutes is exactly the same every day. Sounds boring but I feel great once I'm done. I wake up and take a few deep breaths while genuinely being thankful for another day on this earth and for my health and family. Then I sit up and test me HRV(heart rate variability) while I journal results and my days training and some positive thoughts. I drink 30oz or water with some fresh squeezed lemon juice in it and my phytoplankton mixed in while I take down some herbs i use for inflammation control. Then I do some deep breathing for oxygenation and take a 10 min ice cold shower. When I get out I feel awesome. Then it's time for a my breakfast which consists of a fatty chai tea with grass fed butter and coconut oil and either Greek Yogurt with honey or a couple hard boiled free range eggs. Sounds like a lot but it has become second nature and I do it all mindfully and slowly. In the evening I start to unwind after sun down and try to keep to the light cycles as well as I can and unwind with blue light bulbs and a book. I usually sleep very well with a scoop of GABA in my casein protein before bed and I am out.
This is just an example. The point is to slowly implement a daily ritual for rising and unwinding and quieting the mind to go to bed. I find daily journaling in this daily routine very helpful and gives a lot of feedback to look back on to tweak things when they aren't going so well. It always helps to look back and see what was working when you were optimal.
5. Eat Consciously
Be mindful of what goes in your mouth. It is simple really,ask yourself if what you are about to eat is nutrient rich and will serve a purpose for your body and energy. Be honest with your self and if it is a NO then put it down and get something better. We are all different so I'm not here to give you a certain diet,thats comes down the road. To start just be conscious of what you are eating and be mindful when you eat. No smartphone or TV,just eat and taste the food slowly. Be thankful for the meal and don't rush through it while reading Facebook or some other bullshit. I always tell my son to be thankful for this healthy meal because there are plenty of kids in this world starving so don't take this for granted. I also recommend journaling your meals for a while and simply put a checkmark next to good meals and a X next to bad one and review it every day so you can make better choices the next day.
6. Watch Your Posture And Gait Movement
This is something most of us have an issue with,myself included. Proper posture is something we should be conscious of. Whenever you feel yourself slumping in the car or in a chair just make an effort to sit up straight. When walking stand up as tall as you can with shoulders back and pretend someone is pulling you up by the crown of your head stretching you out. Use proper gait movement. Walk straight and balanced with feet pouting forward and a smooth stride. Improper posture and gait movement will eventually lead to a structural breakdown. Move well now and you will move well for a very long time.
Gait Movement Definition;
Moving without exageration from any angle. Straight coming and going. Viewed from side, effortless, brisk action, retaining top-line.
7. Get Outdoors
Anyone that knows me has already heard me preach this subject to death. We all should incorporate time outdoors in a green environment for both body and mind. Again I will go into all these subjects much more one by one but for now shoot for two days a week outside. One day for exercise in an open space for anything from running or plyometrics yoga. The other day is just for a mindful walk or hike outside in a green relaxing environment. Try to change it up often and get to new spots. It will help with stress and your workouts will be better because we tend to move around more when we aren't strapped to a treadmill or bike watching TV and not paying attention to what we are doing.
8.Add Some Cold
I have had great success for myself and for my clients with CT(cold thermogenesis). It can help with weight loss and body composition. It is also a proven inflammation defense while helping with other things like sleep issues and even depression.
Start slow just by adding some cold to morning routine. Do your morning ritual and some breath work and then take your shower. At the end of shower turn the water as cold as it goes for just 30 seconds. That is very doable for anyone without serious health issues. Then after a week go to 1-2 minute at the end. Third week start with cold in shower for a minute and then warm to clean up and end with cold for a minute. After a few weeks of this shoot for a whole week of a 10 minute cold shower while breathing properly. By then you will be feeling good and will most likely just take cold showers every morning. Once you get there you will be ready for next step like cold exposure and ice baths,etc. I will cover that all in follow up to this subject.
9. Have A Weekly Adventure
Every weekend you should sit down and plan a weekly adventure to get out of the normal numbing routine. It can be hiking a place you have never been or just taking a good book to a new park. We can't always get away to do something wild but once a week get out for some fun and once a month make it a good one like rent a Harley Davidson and ride somewhere to see something new and have a beer in a dive bar. Get a good nights sleep and ride back next day. It is all about the experience. I have done this a couple of times and it sticks with me always because it was so out of the ordinary routine and such an adventure without having to go far. My best day riding was renting a bright yellow Ducati 1098S and putting 300 miles on it in a day just around Las Vegas. It was loud,nasty,uncomfortable,and scary fast but the experience is one I will never forget. Rode it from Red Rock to Mt. Charleston and to the lake and Hoover Dam. All your thoughts stop when you are on something like that. You are either fully present or you might die. I am not recommending this to everyone,just an example. The possibilities are endless. Just get out of routine. A little adventure alone every week can make a huge difference in your outlook and bring the fun factor up a notch in your life.
10. Add Activities That Give You A Creative Spark
Creativity is a big flow trigger. Meaning it can put you right into a flow state or into the NOW if you like. Find something you love doing like painting or writing or picking up an instrument. Whatever puts you into that creative mode. Start a blog to write about things that are interesting to you. Even if nobody ever reads it, who cares it is for your creativity and your well being. Nobody really reads my stuff but I feel great after publishing something on my blog that I know might help someone that might come across it.
11. Make Time For Quality Socialization
You are the average of the 5 people you hang out with the most. So get out with people you have fun with and also can learn from. I am really bad at this personally and it's something I am working on myself. I never socialize even though I know it is part of a healthy,quality life. In many studies of some of the earth longest living people a key factor was there community and socialization habits. I saw it in Greece in the villages my parents are from. People are poor and work hard but every evening they are at a tavern having a drink and dancing. Laughter everywhere and kids having fun. It is not the same here in Las Vegas at all. So get out and socialize with quality friends and have a little fun.
We need time away from electronics and the internet. We need to live our own life and not worry so much about everyone else's. Social media has become a big part of business and day to day life but we need to break away from it regularly. Just look around at a family eating out and most of them are on there phone instead of socializing with family and enjoying the food. This is also very unhealthy. White light throws off our melatonin production and our sleep cycles. EMF(electromagnetic field) exposure is another subject I will follow up with.
"Do nothing which is of no use"-SHINMEN MUSASHI
Unwind by unplugging every night 2 hours before bed. No phones,tablets,or TV. Try going by candle light or blue light bulbs. Read a book or write something. Then get some mindful time and go to bed in complete darkness. This is the only way to get the brain to relax and get ready for sleep. This is how we can get back to proper sleep cycles. Then try one day a week where you don't check email or get on social media at all. No internet or anything. Just have your phone on you for the day to day needs for family to get in touch,etc. Don't even use your phone if you have to. Try it and you will see how difficult it is for most of us, but in reality it is a necessity to unplug.
13. Become A Child Again
Try to not take yourself or the world too seriously. Do away with self consciousness and worrying what others think. Laugh a lot and be goofy! Go to the park and roll around with your dog or have a water gun fight with the neighborhood kids. If people around you are uptight or don't like it then FUCK EM!
Try seeing the world through a child"s eyes again. See how they are in such amazement over something simple like a butterfly on a flower. Things we have become desensitized to with our poor conditioning to not stop and smell the roses so to speak. Slow down and look around so you can see life for what it is. The difference in just changing how we see things can be as drastic as watching an old black and white film that changes into full IMAX HD right before your eyes. Life becomes a much richer experience. Also like a child you should try to put a smile on a strangers face at least once a day. Usually just smiling at someone can do the trick or helping them with groceries or whatever. You get the point. This has a 3 way positive effect-on the person you help,on you,and on anyone who witnesses.