I’ve been physically very active from a young age, and I only realized the importance of daily movement once I graduated from college and got a desk job sitting 8+ hours a day. If I sit too much and bail on my movement practice for the day, the next day my body actually aches – weird, but a good reminder. Since I’ve been a runner from 10 years old, I still love doing that, but I’ve also found that I need to complement that with something that moves my body in a variety of ways and in a variety of planes (not just straight forward.) Over the past three years, I’ve been practicing the LYT™ Method (www.movementbylara.com) of yoga developed by Physical Therapist and International Yoga Leader Lara Heimann. I can’t rave about it enough and love it so much so that I have been trained to teach her style of yoga. It really makes me feel powerful and strong in my body. Regardless of what your particular movement preference is, do it. Move your body every damn day, even if it is something as “simple” as a walk.
Get 7-8 Hours of Sleep Every Night
I probably struggle with getting enough sleep more than anything else that affects my well-being…and Netflix binges haven’t helped in this arena. Not only does research show that the optimal amount of sleep is 7-8 hours per night, but also my body definitively proves this to be true for me. I function and feel my best when I’m getting at least 7.5 hours a night. There are plenty of scientific studies that go into why you need 7-8 hours of nightly sleep and the effects on your body of continuously getting less sleep. However, I don’t need to read these to know that I’m less cranky, more energetic, and happier with the “right” amount of sleep. And, quite frankly, feeling like I can be the nicest version of myself is enough to sell me on the importance of sleep. Now I just need to cancel my Netflix subscription…
Eat More Veggies
Look, I love pizza, french fries, and cookies as much as the next person. But, I crave veggies in a way that my four year old self would be pissed at me for. Ever since moving towards a plant-based diet, I’ve realized the power of vegetables in helping me feel vibrant and stay regular (if I’m being honest.) There is plenty of research out there to support eating more fruits and vegetables including combatting or reducing your risk for such diseases as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, etc. In fact, switching to a plant-based diet helped me lower my “bad” cholesterol out of the high risk range. While all of these reasons bolster my decision to eat more veggies, I’m putting this in my top 5 for wellness picks because of how good I feel when I eat them. And who can argue with feeling good?!
Drink More Water
I don’t know exactly how much water I drink every day, but I do know that when I’m well-hydrated, I feel my best. And I know I’m well-hydrated when I pee often, and my pee is a pale yellow. Not super sexy or complicated, but drinking a couple extra glasses of water has helped me fight off headaches and sleepiness. Plus, you can get those extra steps in with all the extra bathroom breaks you need to take. It’s not a cure-all, but it’s an easy thing to adjust in your daily life that can have significant impact on feeling better.
Take a Vitamin D Supplement
*Before starting a new supplement, please speak with your doctor.*
I started taking a daily vitamin D supplement after three years of blood tests showing that I had significantly low vitamin D levels. Once I got my vitamin D levels up, I noticed that a low grade level of fatigue that I thought was my body telling me to sleep more was really due to my vitamin D deficiency. What’s more, I found out that vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the body so we all, but especially women, need to make sure to stay on top of our vitamin D levels to help keep our bones strong and be part of the prevention of osteoporosis as we age.