A Healthy Routine You Can Actually Do
It’s so easy to overlook or even dismiss the simplicity of a daily healthy routine:
Walk for 30 minutes
Eat mostly whole, plant-based foods: vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts and seeds
Get 7ish hours of sleep
Most of us can totally do all these things and even a bit more. If we did, we’d increase our quality of life and reduce our risk of chronic disease by up to 80%. So, why do we resist, ignore and downplay the value? Why do we each think we’re the special case that doesn’t need to make the investment?
Maybe the idea of an investment is the barrier. Building a healthy routine is a slow, consistent effort. And a healthy lifestyle covers an entire lifetime. That can feel overwhelming. Like a miserable sentence. So, many of us go for intense health plans that promise quick results instead. It’s easier to wrap our heads around gutting it out just long enough to reach our goals. Since we don’t think about what happens after that, we often return to our former habits, losing any health gains we’ve made. Some of us do this over and over and over again. We mix it up with new plans and promises to stay on track after we reach our goals but we often end up back where we started. Intense, quick-fixes aren’t sustainable, after all.
The beauty of this routine is that its small and adaptable actions can easily fit into our lives. We can choose which healthy things we want to add, go at our own pace and adjust as needed. If we make changes we know we can live with, chances are we’ll stick with them for the long haul.
There are tons of options for healthy eating, exercise, and better sleep out there. If something doesn’t fit, no worries. Just move on to the next thing. We’re literally out of excuses to write off any part of a healthy lifestyle. Explore, experiment and find something that works for you. I don’t care how packed your schedule is, how broke you are, how non-athletic you claim to be, which foods you can or cannot eat or how efficient you are on 5 hours of sleep. Each of us can build a healthy lifestyle wherever we’re at. At our own pace. Sustained effort adds up over time. Why not thrive for the rest of our lives? Let’s get started!
“Focus on foods, not nutrients. A diet may be higher or lower in total fat, or total carbohydrate, or total protein, and still be optimal. But a diet cannot be optimal if it is not made up mostly of some balanced combination of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and water. If you get the foods right, the nutrients sort themselves out. But if you focus on nutrients rather than foods, you quickly learn that there is more than one way to eat badly, and we Americans seem all too eager to try them all.”
Mark Bittman and David Katz - "The Last Conversation You’ll Ever Need to Have About Eating Right”
“The true Fountain of Youth lies in choosing a lifestyle of fitness and food that supports optimal functioning and significantly reduces the rate of chronic disease, frailty, injury and immobility. Physical exercise remains the single best remedy for delaying and preventing the negative consequences of aging.”
Lillie Rosenthal, DO - "Fitness is the Fountain of Youth"