We could probably all take better care of ourselves – in and out of the gym. Feeling good involves taking care of both your physical health and your emotional needs.
Think about how you might pay better attention to your overall well-being. Is it by eating a healthier diet? Making more time for fun in your life? Getting more exercise? Taking some more time to sleep? See how many of the points listed below you can incorporate into your life to help your body and mind feel better.
Get Those Endorphins Going
You’ve probably heard endorphins called the “feel-good hormones.” Endorphins are natural chemicals released by the brain that improve your mood, relieve pain, and reduce stress. They also help you sleep better. The easiest way to get your body to release endorphins is to exercise. Moderate time in the gym improves health; more vigorous exercise really gets those endorphins going. The positive effect of endorphins can last for several hours.
Get 150 Minutes of Exercise Per Week
Regular physical activity can help prevent health risks commonly associated with inactive lifestyles such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Based on the most recent scientific evidence, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology developed the new Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines to help Canadians understand the link between physical activity and compelling health benefits. These guidelines explain the amount and types of physical activity that we need to experience significant, positive changes to our health. Adults 18-64 years should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. It is beneficial to add strength-training activity using your major muscle groups at least two days per week.
Know How Much You’re Eating
North Americans eat larger portions than nearly any culture in the world. One key to losing weight and keeping it off is good nutrition and to eat sensible portions. For example, a typical four-ounce bagel is equal to two servings of grains on the Canada Food Guide. Most adults can eat a total of 6-8 servings a day of bread and other grain foods so that one bagel makes up nearly half of your daily intake. It is important to be aware of what, and how much, you’re eating.
Take a Nap
Almost half of Canadians go about their daily lives deprived of sleep, according to a report from Statistics Canada. A study conducted by the US National Institute of Mental Health suggests that a quick, refreshing power nap can do wonders for your mental and physical health. The study found that napping for 20-30 minutes can reduce stress and leave you feeling refreshed. Don’t over-do it! Napping for longer than that can spoil your regular sleep cycle and habits.
Vary Your Routine
Fitness experts recommend that you follow a periodized program to get the maximum benefits from exercise – alternate cardiovascular and strength training exercises to avoid boredom and muscle injury and increase results. It’s a good idea to vary your routine in other areas of your life as well. Try new foods, visit new places, and meet new people. Change everyday routines, or take on a new challenge at work.
Learn How to Recognize and Handle Stress
You need to take care of yourself when exhibiting signs of stress. They include irritability, withdrawing from family or friends, tearfulness or frequent crying, sleeping more than usual or having trouble sleeping, drinking, eating or smoking more than usual, and lower productivity at work. If you are exhibiting any of these signs, make changes in your life. Schedule time for relaxation every day, even if it’s just to take a short walk, play with a pet or visit a friend. Breath. One of the fastest ways to relax the body and calm the mind is to practice deep breathing.