Enjoy the Journey!
The journey to feeling and actually being healthy inside and out has many paths. Lifestyle choices, what you eat, your values and beliefs, all play a part of how you look and feel. We’ve compiled a few tips to set you on the right path.
1. Gut-Brain Connection
You’ve heard “You are what you eat”? Well don’t dismiss it. It’s true. According to the American Psychological Association, 95% of our serotonin, the hormone that regulates anxiety, happiness and mood, is made in the gut, your “2nd brain”. Dr. Mark Hyman, in his Broken Brain podcast, discusses the direct correlation of what we put in our bodies and the effects food has on our brains.
How can you make your gut and brain have a more meaningful connection?
a. Limit intake of antibiotics which affects the necessary bacteria in our guts.
b. Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, beans, and fish.
c. Be aware of your sugar intake (24 grams - that’s only 6 teaspoons!) per day and limit the processed foods you eat.
2. Move Your Body
Walk, Run, Dance, Cardio, Yoga, Exercise classes in the gym or virtual.
There’s no denying the benefits of even moderate exercise which is why the most effective “diets” involve actual lifestyle changes to eat healthy and exercise.
a. You’ll sleep better
b. You’ll FEEL better overall
c. You’ll be in a better mood thanks to the endorphins from exercise
3. Get Outside
Sit in the sun, take a run, walk the dog, or go to the park. Increase your Vitamin D intake and get it from the sun. 5-15 minutes a few times a week is all it takes. (If you’ll be out longer, be sure to wear sunscreen.) The National Institute of Health says that sunshine increases Vitamin D production that is necessary for our:
a. Bone health
b. Immune system
c. Serotonin production that positively affects our mood
We have a LOT of sunny days in our Atlanta climate, so make a point to get outside…for your mood, your bones, your immune system and all the other benefits sunshine provides.
4. Screen Your Screen Time
We’ve heard this over and over, yet many of us have our phones next to us every minute of the day, even when we sleep. Our kids have greatly increased their screen time this last year by being quarantined, in school virtually, and by playing more video games as fewer sports and social activities fill their days. We work from home, or work on the go taking our screens with us. These relatively new habits are having serious implications on our health:
a. Headaches and Eye Strain from the blue light on our screens
b. Carpal Tunnel syndrome (communicating by using only our thumbs!)
c. Inconsistent sleep patterns by using the phone too close to bedtime or in the middle of the night can extend awake time and also affect productivity and mood the next day.
d. Neck and shoulder pain from craning our necks and looking down at our phone screens.
e. Smart phones carry bacteria which can make us sick and also cause acne breakouts.
Fox News reports that “Mobile Phones (are)
18 Times Dirtier Than Toilet Handles”. Eeewww!
5. Make Your Heart Happy
a. It’s okay to say no. Do you feel yourself being stretched too thin? Will the activity cause more stress or be good for your soul? Be honest as you ask yourself these questions and pass on the things that aren’t good for your well-being.
b. Don’t compare your life to other people’s posts. A filtered photo isn’t always worth 1000 words.
c. Zero in on WHO and WHAT is most important in your life and nurture those people and those values.
d. Set goals and break them down to attainable steps. Nothing feels better than to reach your goals, especially those lofty ones!
Here’s to your health, inside and out.
By: Tracie Morse
North Atlanta FitLife