The phrases “living healthy” or “healthy choices” often are associated with deprivation or denial. We know that we should make choices in our lives that strengthen our bodies, improve our health and increase our potential for longevity. Unfortunately, we often think of living healthy as giving up all the “fun stuff” to do things that are “good for us”. Blah!
Yes, any healthy lifestyle includes moderation in certain aspects. Having said that, there are plenty of health-supporting options that we could actually see ourselves looking forward to. That’s right, there are downright awesome and fun filled things you could do every day that will improve detoxification, help you lose weight and even build a stronger brain. Don’t believe me? Well keep reading.
1. Get together with a friend or a loved one and give each other a massage. Yes, massage is good for relaxation, but that isn’t the only health benefit! Everyday we are exposed to viruses and toxins in the air, in our food, on the printers and copy machines at work and even in our carpets and mattresses at home. To maintain good health, our bodies need to properly detoxify all these contaminants via our lymphatic system. Our lymph system circulates through our body to pick off toxins to be disposed. There isn’t a pump to keep the lymph system working like with the heart. That is where massage can be oh so beneficial. Massage can stimulate the lymph system and really rev it up and keep it moving. What does this mean? The toxins in your body will be quaking in their boots, keeping our bodies working and maintaining our health longer!
2. Take a warm bath with Epsom salts. Ok, so most people know that Epsom salt baths are good to take after strenuous exercise. Did you also know that an Epsom salt bath can help lull you to sleep? The salts are made from magnesium, and magnesium is one of your body’s main tools to support relaxation throughout. Feeling really wound up at the end of the day? An Epsom salt bath might be just what your body needs to help you drift into a long, peaceful slumber. Sleep isn’t just needed to make you feel good in the morning. Sleep is the main opportunity that your body has to repair the damages of your day. Improve your sleep quality and you won’t just need less caffeine. You will also have a stronger body supporting vibrant health. Just make sure the bath isn’t too hot or you might just wake yourself up more!
3. Eat healthy fat. For years, fat got a really unfair bad rap. Now Time magazine has come forward to announce to the world that it is time to start eating butter again. Eating healthy fats is one of the tastiest, best things we can do to support our health. Did you know that your brain is predominately made of fat? Well, when you eat the wrong kinds of fats like from hydrogenated oil, you are building misshapen cells in your brain. Ouch! But if you don’t eat fat, your brain can’t carry out many of its functions. No wonder you feel so blah. When you eat the good kind of fat, you keep your brain the brilliant powerhouse that it is. So grab a handful of nuts, scoop on some avocado and pour a little coconut oil. These foods taste great and including them in your diet is a wonderful, health-strengthening choice for your body and brain!
4. Paint a picture, play an instrument or go to a museum. Keeping with the topic of the brain, studies have shown that participating in the arts can strengthen other pathways in your brain. For instance, when kids participate in the arts, their math scores also tend to improve. Not only that, but the arts can send “feel good” signals to your brain. By relaxing the body, we reduce the amount of stress hormones present. Stress hormones disrupt digestion, keep you up in the middle of the night and can throw off your hormones that control food intake. Want to lose weight? Incorporating any enjoyable, stress-relieving activity into your routine will help regulate all your hormones, including the ones you need to cooperate to lose weight!
5. Spend time outdoors. This could mean riding your bike, playing a sport or walking along the beach. The trick is timing. One of the best times to go outside is in the morning, before the damaging rays of midday arrive. First of all, bright light at the beginning of the day helps set our internal clock and regulates your sleep/wake cycle. It tells our bodies that it is daytime, helps wake us up which will also help us fall asleep at a proper time at night. Just leave the sunglasses at home because the sun must come through the eyes to reap the benefits. Sun is also great for vitamin D. We all know we need vitamin D for good health, yet we also know that if we spend too much time outdoors without sunscreen, we can help bring on skin cancer. A morning walk is a great time to soak in the rays and give you the half-hour of sun exposure you need without the damaging rays!
6. Catch up on conversation with your pet. Have you felt like you and your dog or cat just haven’t had a good chance to talk lately? Studies show that spending time with a pet can actually boost your self esteem which is a huge plus for your health. There is also some research that indicates spending time with a pet can actually protect you against heart disease. Pet owners are shown to have lower cholesterol, lower triglycerides and are more likely to survive a heart attack if it does happen. Not only that, but you can spill all your secrets to your pet, and it will still love you unconditionally. (Ok, I know your cat looks like she is judging you, but trust me…she secretly thinks you’re ay ok!)
See, being health conscious isn’t all drudgery. Fancy that! There are plenty of healthy habits that you will actually look forward to. What are your favorite healthy habits?