A few weeks ago The Fartlek was asked to contribute to an info graphic about the small, daily habits that lead to a healthier and better life. The instructions were pretty simple. They were looking for favorite personal wellness tips from several health conscious bloggers to use in the graphic – anything from a morning exercise routine to an afternoon meditation session, or even a favorite pre-bedtime smoothie.
The exercise resulted in an interesting thought process for me. What would you say are the most important daily habits that lead to a healthier life? Is it diet, a particular exercise routine? My dad could be granted a patent on the unique combination of ingredients for his morning smoothie. My husband would say that ‘healthy’ is a lifestyle; that an exercise routine has to become an integral part of your day.
My answer came from the perspective of my favorite sport of running, although I realized everyone’s answer would vary depending on their own personal goals.
The challenge seems to be the same for everyone: to find a routine/diet/exercise that works and somehow convince our minds to stick with it. Within that challenge are three things that help me stay on track from day-to-day which could be applied to health-conscious folks of every age:
1. follow an easy-day/hard-day schedule – for example, in my sport of running, a slow, easy run would follow a hard, speedwork session; this schedule can keep things from getting too monotonous as well.
2. respect the rest days – your body becomes stronger with rest, so the best way to continually improve and avoid injury is to give the body adequate recovery time; something that becomes even more important as we age.
3. eat fresh and be adventurous with ingredients – use fresh, not packaged ingredients and vary what you eat from day-to-day instead of getting stuck in a routine of the same meals. My favorite saying is “good in, good out” because it’s so true, but studies also show that athletes who eat the most variety of healthy foods perform the best.
The hardest thing seems to be simply getting started with a healthy routine, whether that’s exercising or eating right. We have to remember that most of us never reach our full potential because our minds won’t let us – our most difficult challenge is harnessing the mind.
One of the most effective ways to ‘override’ these negative thoughts is to establish a routine you can stick with, and remember that N=1. In other words, you are your own best test subject. What works for others, may or may not work for you. Experiment until you find your best solution.
What’s your #SmallChangeBigGain? (Elysium Health)