Here it is again. That time of year when thoughts turn to the changes we want to make for the next year. We may tell ourselves: “this year things are going to be different!”
You know what happens. Some changes are made which are gradually discontinued and we return to our old habits, using stress and lack of time as an excuse, feeling like a bit of a failure. Then we tell ourselves: “no more resolutions…I will just try to do better.”
As an anti-aging physician my focus is on health and wellness. So here are 3 DOABLE lifestyle changes that you can easily add for 2012 to improve your day-to-day quality of life, along with your long term health.
1. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier then you usually do and get out of bed in the morning 15 minutes earlier. After washing up, do a 15 minute stretching routine (see my blog on stretching). Stretching your flexors in the morning will help you feel more upright when standing, lets you take a deeper breath and helps shake off morning stiffness, if that is a problem. It will help your mental attitude and energy. Over time try shifting to an earlier wake-up time and add more stretches or a 20 minute interval training (1 min intense exercise routine (as hard as you can pedal, walk, jog, etc.)followed by 4 minutes of less intense, lower heart rate activity. Repeat this 3 times. If you are not a morning person do the interval training in the late aft’n before dinner. Shoot for stretching daily and aerobic at least 5 days a week. If you are in pretty good shape already, get a trainer for a few sessions to target problem areas or general fitness goals.
2. If you have weight concerns like most people, decide to limit your starches to one meal a day. If you have a sandwich for lunch, then have a starch free breakfast like a egg white omelet with vegetables sautéed in extra virgin coconut oil. If you have oatmeal for breakfast choose a salad with protein for lunch. Try to create dinners containing protein and vegetables and omit the starches.They are not necessary. Discover a new type of fruit (this year for me it was blood oranges) and add it to the list of your fruit options. Eat some fruit 2-3 times a day or more. My favorite is Fuji apples.
3. Work on creating a more spiritually satisfying life. One way is to nurture a relationship by giving a bit more of yourself and asking for a bit less. Making someone you care about happy will make you happier as well. Stress is so much easier to cope with when two people support each other.
These are not Herculean tasks. They are self sustaining, as things that make you feel better are often continued. What they will do is improve your structure, your chemistry and your spirit. These are the 3 key elements needed to achieve a healthy long life.
Happy holidays and may your new year be a healthy one!