5 Steps to a Healthier You
by Jennifer Jackson
Motion is Lotion
You’ve heard the saying, “Move it or Lose it”? It certainly stands true in terms of keeping our bodies fit, functional and mobile. Make it your goal to get at least 30 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise at least five times a week. Make exercise fun by joining a class, grabbing a walking buddy or hiring a trainer to show you the ropes safely. Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy body weight, combats many health conditions and diseases, elevates your mood by releasing endorphins, boosts energy, improves sleep, makes everyday tasks easier and can be a social opportunity.
Being completely on-track with your eating goals all of the time is almost impossible, and when we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves, we ultimately end up frustrated. Instead of dieting, consider implementing the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of the food you consume is clean, or on-track with your regime of choice and 20% is a touch less rigid. If you eat three meals a day, then on this plan, three meals every week can be a “cheat.” The idea of “everything in moderation” helps us feel like we have more freedom to have fun, but still maintain balance.
Get to bed
Who doesn’t love a solid night’s sleep? That amazing feeling you get upon waking from a long, undisturbed slumber is truly one of life’s most satisfying experiences. In studies of humans and other animals, it has been discovered that sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning and other vital functions. When we sleep well, our productivity increases, we are in a better mood and we have way more physical, mental and emotional energy. Work at establishing and maintaining a healthy bedtime routine by using aromatherapy, sleeping in a completely darkened room, and avoiding stimulants such as caffeine, sugar or electronics a few hours before bedtime.
In our super-busy, electronically-driven society, it is becoming increasingly easier to conduct our lives almost entirely indoors. We can shop on-line, commute through underground tunnels, park inside and exercise inside gyms. But, getting outside has so many amazing benefits that we must not ignore. Connecting to nature improves our mood; sunlight offers us vitamin D that helps prevent autoimmune conditions and builds muscle and bone mass; being outdoors helps lower our stress levels; it helps increase our vitality; and spending time with nature can be very healing and therapeutic.
In order to bring balance into our lives, it is crucial that we spend time engaged in pursuits that we find peaceful and relaxing. Whether it's yoga, meditation, time at the spa, travel, listening to music, creating art or reading, carving time out of your busy schedule to do the things you truly enjoy is the key to living a resentment-free and well-balanced life. Doing your best not to feel guilty is often the toughest part of this practice. Try blocking time out in your agenda, cutting down the time you spend on social media, or pre-booking your massages in advance so these opportunities to chill out do not get bumped.
Jennifer Jackson is a Wellness Instructor at Ste. Anne’s Spa—"Canada’s Favourite Destination Spa." She has over 12 years of experience in the health and fitness industry and is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and yoga teacher, specializing in Hatha, Vinyasa Flow and Gentle Yoga.