We are in the midst of a series called “How do we thrive in this season of uncertainty?” If there is anything we can be certain of, it’s that we are in the midst of a season of uncertainty. We have spent the last couple weeks specifically talking about how we can thrive physically in this season. I started off this sub-series by talking about the importance of having a “why”; without a compelling “why” we are a lot less likely to follow up with our wellness goals. Last week I shared 10 healthy eating tips because, yes, we truly are what we eat. This week I’m going to wrap up this sub-series by giving you 10 more tips on how to thrive physically in seasons of uncertainty.
10 tips on how to thrive physically in seasons of uncertainty.
- You need to prioritize sleep. Sleep is my top priority when it comes to my health. To be honest, it comes with sacrifices. I need 9 hours of sleep per night. I have tried so hard to survive on less, but I can’t. If I go more than 2-3 days with less than 9 hours of sleep, I am crabby. I can’t think straight. I am unable to make good decisions and my workouts suffer. Did you know that it is more important that you get a good night’s sleep than it is that you exercise? (Don’t believe me? Read this article: https://www.verywellfit.com/sleep-or-exercise-the-answer-will-improve-both-85902)
Let me share a few reasons why sleep is so important.
- Researchers have found that people who sleep fewer hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese.
- Sleep is key to recovery. While we sleep, the body is hard at work repairing damage.
- Lack of sleep is linked to depression and anxiety.
- Sleep improves your immune function.
- Sleep improves your athletic and physical performance.
- Sleep gives us the energy to walk out God’s calling our life.
But Lisa, I am so busy, how can I get more sleep?
Do you watch TV? If you watch TV or use any electronics during the day, you have time for more sleep. If we have to choose between sleep and TV, we have to choose sleep whether we want to or not.
2. Drink water all day long. If you google “How much water should I drink?” you will find a ton of different answers. My suggestion is to have water with you at all times and consistently drink it throughout the day. Don’t chug it, it will go right through you and it won’t serve its purpose. Don’t aim for totally clear pee either, it should be a yellow tint (someone had to say it). The benefits of drinking enough water are endless, just google it.
3. Set realistic goals. DO NOT compare yourself to other people and what they are doing. Also, remember you aren’t a high school or college athlete anymore. When we compare ourselves to other people, we are comparing the entirety of our lives to a small piece of someone else’s life. We also can’t compare our current selves to our younger selves. One of the main reasons people stop exercising is because they do too much, too fast. They then either get injured or too discouraged to continue. Set realistic short term and long term goals.
4. PLEASE. PLEASE. If you are just starting to exercise, please do not start off by running. I feel like people look at running as the gold standard of exercise. I am a runner and there is nothing like it. But if you have not exercised recently and start off with running, you are going to feel discouraged and give up – especially if one of your goals is to lose weight. Each time your foot hits the ground you are bearing 5x’s your body weight. Get into an exercise routine and lose some weight first, then start running.
5. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy. Like I mentioned, people look at running as the gold standard for exercising. If you hate running, don’t run. Find some type of exercise you enjoy doing and do that. There are hundreds of different ways to get your body moving. If you hate doing something, you won’t keep doing it.
6. Remember that there is a difference between being active and exercising. Don’t get me wrong, being active is super important – but exercising is a different thing. When I go on walks with people I will often ask, is this an exercise walk or just a walk? An exercise walk is a walk where you intend on getting your heart rate up, a walk just to walk is a leisure activity. Different goals = different outcomes. Just because you went on a leisure walk doesn’t mean you don’t have to exercise.
7. Dress the part. Full disclosure, when I started working as a trainer I would snicker a little bit when people came into the gym for the first time with fancy new outfits. I would always think to myself “Well, they just spent a ton of money on clothes that they will use once.” I was wrong. I’ve learned over time that there is power in dressing the part. If you are dressed like you are going to exercise, there is a much higher chance that you will.
8. Get the right shoes. I know this seems like a silly tip, but getting the right shoes is key. If you don’t have the right shoes you will experience more soreness and you will be more prone to injury. If you are going to run, you need to get running shoes. If you are going to use the elliptical or do a class, get a good pair of cross trainers. If possible, only wear your running shoes for running. They are designed specifically for running.
9. Surround yourself with healthy people. We tend to become like the people we spend time with. Go out of your way to spend time with the people in your life that have healthy habits. Instead of meeting up for dinner or coffee, meet up for a walk or meet at the gym.
10. Tell everyone you know when you are starting a new healthy living habit. Post it all over social media and tell everyone you see. Just knowing other people know will help hold you accountable.
My hope and prayer is you can take a few of the tips I have shared over the last couple weeks and try them.
Friends, taking care of yourself physically is work. It comes with a cost of time, desire and comfort. You have to sacrifice time to sleep more. You have sacrifice comfort when you first start exercising, it can be messy and uncomfortable. You have die to your desires when you chose not to eat another cookie. But I promise the sacrifices are worth it. Trust me on this one. It may not feel worth it at first, but there is no better feeling than having the energy, stamina and strength to walk out the unique calling God has on your life.
Because there is more,