Are you stuck in a health rut?
The repetition of everyday life can make it easy to slip into some rather bad habits, even without being aware of it.
How you carry out ordinary routines, from the way you sit to the way you eat, can hinder your health if you’re not careful.
Here are the four essential healthy habits to add to your routine that could have a great and lasting impact on your overall well-being.
Habits You Should Adopt Today
1. You snooze, you lose!
Admit it: we all hit the snooze button now and then. Sometimes more than once! But regularly relying on that button means you awaken from deep sleep earlier than you need to.
Instead, set your alarm two or three minutes before you actually need to get out of bed (not 10, 20 or 30 more!), then place it out of arm’s reach—but somewhere you can still hear it. Getting up to stop the ‘real’ alarm sets your body in motion, helps wake you up, and gives you at least 30 minutes of deeper sleep per week.
Also, try an alarm sound that wakes you gradually. Emerging from deep sleep should be gentle, not a jolt into consciousness by the jarring sound of a foghorn or nuclear meltdown siren.
Try downloading a sleep app, such as Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock, that helps regulate your sleeping and waking routines.
2. Maintain good posture
You probably rolled your eyes every time your mother told you to, “Sit up straight! Don’t slouch!” Well, turns out she was right.
Whenever you drop your shoulders forward and hunch over—a common practice when sitting at the computer all day—you put excess strain on your entire spine and lower back muscles.
To correct this, sit up tall with your chest up and shoulders back. This puts you in a more solid position to alleviate pain/strain on the spine and lower back. Plus, better posture makes you look and feel more confident.
It can be difficult to remember to sit up straight, but try this: put a post-it note on each side of your computer. On one note write “POSTURE” and the other write “CHEST UP SHOULDERS BACK.” These will serve as a reminder not to slip back into bad habits every time you’re at your desk.
3. Get moving
One of the most important healthy habits: get yourself moving!
Spending a lot of time in front of your home or work computer screen strains and dries the eyes (we blink 33% less!) and also places stress on your hands, wrists, forearms, shoulders and back.
To ensure that your body gets the pause it deserves, take regular breaks: stand up, walk to a different area, do a few air squats (if your work attire allows), focus on objects far away, blink a few extra times, and stretch.
Choose your favorite minute of the hour and take a break every time it comes around. I prefer 1:07, 2:07, etc. If you miss it, then take a break as soon as you’ve noticed. Your desk will still be there when you get back.
4. Be attentive
Most people only take 20-30 minutes for lunch, a relatively short amount of time compared to the entire workday.
Take this time to disconnect! A study done by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that groups distracted during eating vs. those not distracted ate faster, couldn’t remember what they ate, snacked more during the day, and reported feeling significantly less full. The result: overeating later on in the day.
Related: 5 Ways To Avoid Overeating
If you have a hard time paying attention to what you eat, it’s time to put your smartphone to good use. Download nutrition and dieting apps that will help you become more conscious and cautious of how you pick your next meal.
These steps may sound easy (and they are!), but they key to breaking out of the familiar is to make a new routine easy on yourself. And, when those healthy habits become the norm, the less stressed, happier person you’ve become will thank you.
As Owner and Head Coach of CrossFit Sunset in Los Angeles, Ty Vincent is widely recognized for his expertise in functional training and a commitment to developing and implementing innovative fitness techniques. With more than 12 years of experience in the industry, Ty’s emphasis on strength-training modalities that can be transferred from the gym to daily life have successfully earned him a diverse client list that includes celebrities and professional athletes to business executives and stay-at-home parents.
Photo by Eternos Indicadores