Today, we’re going back to basics.
There are some things within your health and fitness journey that no matter who you are or what your goal is, you should always be doing.
Whether you’re an athlete whose goal is to win trophies.
An elderly lady who just wants to be a little healthier.
Or someone in their early 20s who’s relying on their youth.
They’re simple, yet highly effective.
They serve as an insurance policy for your health and will pay off immensely in the long run.
Let’s dive in...
1. Drink some water.
There’s no need to go through the benefits of this one, we all know we should be staying adequately hydrated.
What I’d like to do instead is give you some actionable tips on how you can stay hydrated.
The first is one I use every day, drink some water immediately upon waking.
Make it one of the first things you do, maybe use the bathroom and make your bed first if you need to, but within 5-10 mins of waking aim to drink a couple of glasses.
Once that’s done, however the rest of your day goes, at least you know you started your day on a positive note.
On that note, try and drink the majority of your fluids early in the day.
Especially if you’re exercising early, always have a full bottle with you wherever you go in the morning.
Keep it at your desk, in your bag, wherever you go and taper off as the day continues.
If you find yourself forgetting, set prompts on your phone, every hour set a reminder that keeps this top of mind.
Elliot, how much should I be drinking?
The best place to start is to add 500ml to what you’re already drinking.
3-4 litres might be the optimal amount but if you’re only having 1 litre at the moment, it’s not going to be feasible.
Start with 500ml, once that becomes a habit, try another 500ml, if that’s too hard, try 100ml-250ml, make the steps incremental and achievable.
2. Aim to get 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
If you want to read more about how you can do this, read the ‘Top 10 Ways To Get Better Quality Sleep’ article.
My ability to reach my full potential as a human is dramatically minimised when I’m not getting enough quality sleep.
When we sleep better we’re not only healthier but we have better emotional regulation, we’re less prone to cravings & hunger, we’re more energetic, we’re simply better humans.
Here’s a couple of quick fire tips for now…
Create an evening routine.
Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet.
Avoid your screens up to 60 mins before bed.
3. Get daylight exposure.
Get yourself outdoors in the early hours of the day and get some much needed daylight on your skin and your eyes.
I touched on Vitamin D and the importance of this in a previous blog, you can read that here.
To ensure you’re sleeping well and you’re energetic throughout the day, your body needs to know what time of day it is.
If you’re not seeing any sunlight and your home or office is brightly lit during the evening, your body isn’t going to have an easy time.
Make it part of your routine to get out in the early hours of the day and no, sitting at a window doesn’t count!
4. Go for a walk, preferably outdoors.
It’s so easy to be sedentary in the world we live in.
Working from home, food delivery services, Uber’s etc make it so easy for us to barely move our bodies.
Our bodies are built to move.
Our lymphatic system relies on movement, our heart, lungs, bones, muscles, essentially our entire system needs movement.
We’re also built to spend time outdoors so combine the two together for a winning combo.
It’s one of the easiest and simplest forms of exercise we have available to us.
Get outdoors and move and your body will thank you.
5. Learn to manage your stress effectively.
If there's one thing that us humans have in common, it’s that we all experience stress.
Sometimes it's in the small forms of spilling a little bit of coffee on your shirt.
Sometimes it's in the bigger forms of potentially real challenging situations that we go through in life.
But the one thing we don't have in common is we don't all have ways to handle the stress we experience.
If you went out and asked 10 random people if they’re experiencing stress on a day to day basis, I’d expect 7-8 of those to say yes.
So if that many of us experience regular stress, why don’t that many of us have practical and effective ways to handle our stress?
If you don’t have a stress management technique you go to in challenging times, it’s time to start thinking about one.
It could be going for a walk, speaking to a friend, or exercising.
I'm a big fan of meditation. I'm a big fan of journaling. I find those both to be really effective for me.
Find what works for you and implement it regularly.
It’s always going to be better to be proactive than reactive, especially if we’re in jobs or circumstances where we have to be reactive most of the time.
If you put in the work ahead of time, you’ll be much better equipped for when the natural stressors of life come around.
Everyone can do these and you can get started today.
Pick the lowest hanging fruit or the one you feel needs the most attention, get started and live a healthier and happier life.