Most of us have an idea of what it takes to thrive, but many of us lead busy lives that sometimes interfere with habits we know to be of great importance for our health and well being. Of all the habits that one can engage in order to become the healthiest version of themselves, we’ve selected the top 7 that anybody can focus on to improve their health in as little as 1 week.
Improve Your Water Intake
As a healthy and active adult, I personally lose up to 2-2.5 litres of water each day and with my body being roughly 60% water, maintaining adequate hydration in order to consistently perform at optimum levels is crucial.
According to recent studies done at University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory, even mild dehydration (approx. 1.5 % loss in normal water volume in the body) can alter a person’s mood, energy level, and ability to think clearly.
Here are several tips to help you stay hydrated and making informed decisions when choosing water.
- Drink water before your thirsty – Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to begin drinking water. The thirst sensation we acknowledge doesn’t appear until we’re already 1 or 2 % dehydrated. A good rule of thumb is to keep your urine clear or very slightly yellow tinged at all times. This was an easily digestible article on the importance of adequate hydration! http://www.googobits.com/articles/1128-drink-up-the-importance…
- Chronic dehydration is not uncommon – There have been times recently while we were working on our superhuman diet that we were actually sodium deficient and repeatedly experienced cramps. Over time this can lead to a long list of medical conditions from respiratory and circulation problems to headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure and kidney disease. New research even suggests that up to as much as 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration is on of the easiest conditions to reverse but it’s also one of the most commonly overlooked.
- Use glass over plastic bottles – Plastic is porous and will absorb chemicals and colours over time. Glass is non permeable and will not. This article grabbed out attention and cleared some things up in regard to potential dangers lurking in plastic. http://chriskresser.com/how-plastic-food-containers…
- Create a water card – I know it can be difficult to keep track of how much water we get with life’s constant go. By creating a water card/log you help take away the stress of trying to remember the last time or how much you drank. This has worked very well for me in the past.
- Water regulates internal body temperature – Also known as thermoregulation. During all types of exercise the body’s ability to cool itself is challenged. Heat is produced as a bi-product of our metabolism. During exercise, heat is produced mainly from working muscle contractions and it’s not uncommon for ones core temperature to rise above 40 °C (104 °F). We came across this informative article about staying cool when your body is hot. http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/thermoregulation…
- Carry water with you – this may seem silly, but it’s often the most effective approach to consuming more water – convenience. Check out safe water bottles 101 and find the water bottles that is best for:
- Set reminders on your phone – Fairly straight forward. You might consider setting an alarm every 2-3hours to remind you to drink.
- Make water your primary beverage – Give up all other drinks and it’s very likely that you wont get dehydrated in the first place. If water is the only beverage that you make available to yourself, you will inevitably start consuming more of this vital liquid.
- Dink at least 8-10 tall glasses a day – Preferably more. I will personally consume 1 gallon of water per day. The average adult male ages 18-35 will lose about 1.5 litres of water per day by way of urine alone, which is roughly 6.5 cups. When you factor in sweating and bowel movements the amount of fluid lost rises to about 10 cups. We found this hydration calculator most useful; http://nutrition.about.com/library/blwatercalculator.htm
- Add natural flavour to your water. I enjoy fresh lemons and cucumber in my water. This keeps me from getting sick of plain water and is a nice wake up call to the senses throughout my day. You may also consider using limes, fresh fruit and berries.
- Stop drinking tap water. Unfortunately, tap water in most regions of the world is not of the greatest quality. For instance in the United States alone, over 70% of the population receives fluoridated water. This is very unhealthy despite the “teeth argument.” Fluoride causes pineal gland calcification and forces heavy metals to remain in the body. With that said, allow me to introduce various brands of portable and home use water filter systems.
- Purchase an efficient water filter. There are several to choose from. We’ve used reverse osmosis and carbon filtration with pros and cons noted with each. This website will help you figure out which type of filtration system is best for you. http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/five-best-in-home-water-filters.html
Improve Your Exercise Habits
It takes only 30 minutes a day – Something as simple as walking at a brisk pace for 30 or more minutes each day can cut your risk of falling victim to many illnesses, including dementia and cancer. Over the last decade, researchers have suggested that utilizing at least 30 minutes of your time for a brisk daily walk could also have other major health benefits by slowing down the rate at which our bodies age.
- Do something active each day. Not only will this assist your metabolism, but it helps us to de-stress as we produce endorphin when we exercise. Could be as simple as hiking, cycling, tennis, walking the dog, playing catch, swimming etc.
- Walk at least 30 minutes each day. A mere 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen your bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. According to this study done by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia, even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions.
- Consistent exercise will delay & counteract the effects of aging. As the CNS(central nervous system) displays a capacity for plasticity throughout one’s lifespan, exercise may be a powerful lifestyle implementation that could be used to augment synaptic plasticity, promote behavioral rehabilitation, and counteract the deleterious effects of aging.
- Park your car farther from the entrance. Park farther away at the supermarket, gym, etc. Simply adding parking further away at the supermarket forces us to burn a few more calories and get the blood flowing that much more.
- Don’t make exercise a chore. Once exercise is perceived as a chore, we can quickly find ourselves justifying any reason not to exercise. Exercising, especially lifting weights, is about the opportunity to challenge yourself and see what you’re capable of doing.
- Consistency. There’s not 1 universal style of exercise that perfectly blankets the needs of each man and woman on earth. However, there is one approach to exercise that successfully blankets each man and woman on earth – consistency!
Improve Your Sleep
As an entrepreneur, I go to bed most nights, excited to find out what tomorrow brings. The more I think, the more I toss and turn and the longer it takes me to fall asleep. I figure, we have to sleep every day, for the rest of our lives, we might as well do a good job at it. Here’s what is working for me.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday (typically 11pm-8am) – Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day sets the body’s “internal clock” to expect sleep at a certain time each night. Waking up at the same time each day is a great if not the best way to set your clock. Even if you didn’t sleep well the night before, the extra sleep drive will help you get the most out of your sleep the following night. This article further explains the benefits of remaining with wake times. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/Hands-snooze-button-Wake-tired…
- Sleep in complete darkness, be sure to black out your windows – It has been shown through scientific research that the release of melatonin is light sensitive. Light inhibits melatonin release whenever it touches skin but the eyes are especially important. Even the light emitted from a birthday candle has an effect on melatonin secretion.
- Sleep in complete silence – With similar neurological and hormonal responses to the light situation mentioned above, even the slightest noises can stimulate us.
- Reduce blue light in the evening – Blue light tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Dim your lights, burn beeswax candles, and turn off electronics. We were very pleased upon discovering this article on the subject; http://www.naturalnews.com/033413_melatonin_sleep_….
- Get an adequate amount of sleep – Sleeping less than 7 hours per night can double the chance of coming down with an infection as during deep sleep your body increases production of natural killer cells. It much more important to get the sleep you need.
- Wake up to sunlight – I use a wake up light alarm clock, at 7:30, it will begin brightening up the room until 8am then the bird noises begin.
- Eat 2 kiwi fruit before bed – A recent study shows that eating two kiwi fruit every day will improve the quality of one’s sleep by 40% and to fall asleep 35% quicker. Kiwi’s are high in serotonin which is a precursor to melatonin.
- Drink a chamomile tea before you sleep – Chamomile has been clinically proven to ease anxiety and because it has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties it is great for treating stomach ailments among the many other health benefits which are broken down here; http://www.totallytamryn.com/2013/04/chamomile-benefits…
- Don’t eat for at least 2-3 hours before bed – Late night eating may lead to insulin irregularities and upset you natural day/night cycle.
Improve The Way You Eat & Drink
- Eat soon after waking up – Keep you metabolism going strong. The longer you wait to eat after waking up the slower your metabolism will be.
- Eat often (9,12,5 &8) – Keep the metabolism going strong and provide your body with constant nourishment and replenishment.
- Chew Your Food, 36 times, once for each tooth – This helps prevent overeating as well as aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. I understand that it’s difficult to imagine happily sitting over your food mentally saying, one, two, three, and so on. Relax and enjoy, just don’t chew a couple of times and swallow, and if you haven’t time to sit and make your food experience a good one, try to wait until you can find that time.
- Hydrate yourself (water, herbal teas, stock, broths & fresh homemade juice) – Stay hydrated! we can’t stress this enough. We are made majoritively of fluids.
- Do not drink during and for a half hour after a meal – It slows digestion. Your stomach acids (which are responsible for breaking down your food) are diluted with water and thus not as effective. This means you lose out on nutrient intake.
Improve Your Air
We, as human are meant to live outside, breathing lovely fresh air.
- Learn to breathe properly. According to yoga and Ayurveda, breath is a carrier of Prana, the Energy, that gives life to the body. No breath, no life and no energy! Slow deep breaths help to activate parasympathetic nervous system which is when the body gets the chance to recuperate, regenerate, and heal. Deep breathing has also been shown to reduce acidity in the body thus restoring a more alkaline state which can prevent cancer from thriving. Breathe!
- Open a window. This keeps the air circulating and fresh. www.mindbodygreen.com/why-you-need-to-open-a-window…
- Buy some houseplants. House plants act as natural air filters and keep the air circulating and clean. Here’s a great article describing some of the various benefits of having houseplants: www.onegoodthingbyjillee.comthe-breathtaking-benefits-of-houseplants
- Use natural cleaning products. This is significantly healthier for our planet as well as our bodies. Many of the synthetic components of unnatural cleaning products emit toxic fumes and should be used with caution.
- Burn beeswax candles to purify air. This one is fairly self explanatory but not well known. Burning beeswax candles is said to clean the air by emmitting negative ions. This increases the ratio of negative ions to positive ions which is the ideal and necessary scenario for clean air. Basically, charged gunk (dust, pollen, odors, toxins, etc.) falls from the air onto the floor via static electricity.
Improve Your Attitude
Is your glass full, empty, half full or half empty?:
- Improve core beliefs – What we believe about ourselves determines how we feel. Identify your negative core beliefs. Your negative core beliefs reflect the negative, broad, and generalized judgements you have made about yourself, based on some negative experiences you might have had during your earlier years. This is important. The following websites help you identify and replace any negative core beliefs that you may have and be using to hold yourself back from truly thriving.
http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/SE_… & http://www.pathwaytohappiness.com/writings_falsebeliefs…
- Be aware – Be aware of food labels, eating habits, exercise habits, thoughts, comments and the effort that you put into even the perceivably smallest of tasks.
- Assume the best – You can’t always feel good. But you can choose to feel good more often, starting with the way you interpret the things people do. When you feel more positive emotions, you form closer bonds with people, increase your resilience, and become more satisfied with life.
- Self Discipline – Self-discipline is the ability to get yourself to take action regardless of your emotional state. Self-discipline is like a muscle. The more you train it, the stronger you become. The less you train it, the weaker you become. Without instilling consistent self discipline in our lives how can we expect
- Laugh more – Laughter reduces certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Increase memory and learning; in a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, humor during instruction led to increased test scores Improve alertness, creativity, and memory. Here’s an interesting study on the power of laughter http://www.the-aps.org/mm/hp/Audiences/Public-Press…
- Be outdoors – Nature has a way of calming the mind and relaxing the body. Take a walk at your local park or just sit and relax in your back yard. After a long day of chores and work at the office or in the house, some quality time outdoors will significantly improve your mood.
Kombucha or the tea of immortality as it’s known in certain Asian cultures, is tea that has been fermented with sugar and live culture. Sugar you say?! Don’t worry, the culture used to make kombucha digests the sugar and produces a range of organic acids like glucuronic acid, gluconic acid, acetic acid, butyric acid, lactic acid, malic acid and usnic acid. This wonder drink is also said to produce vitamins, particularly B vitamins and vitamin C; as well as amino acids and enzymes. http://www.happyherbalist.com/analysis_of_kombucha.htm
We’re not sure where Kombucha originated as many claim it has been brewed in China and Russia for centuries and we found this classic recipe that will have you sipping this wonder drink by dinner http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Brew-Kombucha-Tea