When discussing long-term wellness, it's common for patient's to comment about a 'super-healthy' friend that doesn't have to diet or work to be fit.
They wonder what that friend does to be so 'lucky'.
The truth is that 'luck' is often grounded in a lifetime of simple habits.
If I had to pick one habit that my healthiest patients have in common, it is routine. They focus on making sleep a priority, enjoy daily physical activity, make water their primary beverage, eat regularly and cook most meals at home, limit screen (TV, phone, etc) time, make self-care a priority, occasionally miss a workout and they focus on keeping life simple.
Of course that demands of work and kids make holding to a routine tough. That's why keeping your routine simple is key to lifelong wellness. Here are a few tips to help you simplify your routine and stick to it despite the demands life throws at you:
1.) Go to bed earlier than you think you should. First, turn off your screens (TV, computer, phone, etc,) at least an hour before bed time. This will help que your body that it's time to rest and reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep. Have a target bed-time and try to be in bed at least 15-minutes ahead of that. Going to bed at a regular time has broad benefits beyond helping to ensure that we get enough sleep each night.
2.) Wake-up, warm-up and eat. You don't have to wake and 5am and workout like a madman to be healthy. My healthiest patients wake-up about the same time every day. Then they warm-up. Some stretch, some walk and others have a more intense workout. All of them get moving first thing. Then they have good breakfast every day.
3.) Drink plenty of water. Healthy people make water their drink of choice. For them, it's not about avoiding coffee, tea or sugary drinks, they simply chose to drink water more often. You should too.
4.) Plan your meals and avoid processed foods. This can be tough - particularly for those with kids and demanding work schedules. You'll have to work ahead by planning your meals and maybe even preparing them ahead of time. Once you develop this habit, you'll feel the difference every day.
5.) Limit your screen time. Our digital gadgets have a big impact on our wellness. Healthy people simply spend less time in front of a screen at night. They understand that it's not realistic to eliminate TV, social media and checking email - they simple choose to limit their exposure after dark.
6.) Prioritize self-care. Whether it's work or social, healthy people make self-care a priority. They understand that it's important to say 'no' so that they can avoid being overscheduled and maintain their routine.
7.) It's okay to miss a workout now and then. Patients are often shocked to hear this. Healthy people listen to their body. They know that a workout should make you feel better, not worse. If you're not 100% it's okay to take a rest day, exchange your workout for a massage, or go to yoga instead of a HITT class.
8.) Keep it simple. Hopefully you recognize that what steps 1-7 have in common is simplicity. My patients that enjoy consistent wellness all share a sense of simplicity in their daily routines. They understand that life may disrupt their routine today and it's okay - tomorrow is a new day.
A consultation and wellness exam from Dr. Dukes can help you find what works best for you to feel your best and stick to it - for life.
Make health your top priority, call Dr. Dukes at (813) 752-2524 and schedule your wellness consultation today.
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