1. Get outside every day.
Fresh air is crucial to our well-being. Getting outside has been scientifically proven to improve moods, decrease stress-levels, improve sleep patterns and even enhance immune function. It also enables us to connect with our amazing natural world. All you have to is dress accordingly and head out your front door. Try just walking ten minutes away from your house and ten minutes back. Chances are, you will return feeling refreshed, happy and more alive.
Read more: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/
2. Remember to breathe.
Did you know that you are able to calm your entire nervous system down by taking deep breaths? A deep rhythmic breath supports a switch from your sympathetic system (the flight or flight response) to the more relaxed parasympathetic system (the rest and digest system). Deep breaths also help us release muscular tension, especially in our shoulders, necks and jaws.
3. Make sleep a priority.
Sleep is vital in maintaining your health. Without it, you become more susceptible to health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and depression. Growth hormone released by the pituitary gland during non-REM deep stage sleep stimulates tissue growth and repair. Lack of sleep and changes in sleep quality cause a sharp decline in growth hormone secretion. Growth hormone deficiency is associated with increased obesity, loss of muscle mass, and reduced exercise capacity. Adequate sleep also improves cognitive function and enhances creativity.
We’ve all heard that 8 hours seems to be the magic number. Yet many of us think we can get by just fine on 6. An experiment by Dr. David Dinges in which he shortened a number of adults’ sleep to 6 hours per night for two weeks had many of the subjects stating that they felt just fine. After a battery of tests however, they proved to be just as impaired as someone who had stayed awake for 24 hours straight.
Too much sleep can also be detrimental. Most experts agree that averaging somewhere between 7-9 hours per night is optimal for adults.
4. Eat breakfast.
Taking the time for breakfast is a great way to set a positive, nourishing intention for your day. It gets your metabolism going and provides you with the mental and physical energy you need. By starting your system up early, you will consume fewer calories later in the day. It also gives you a great excuse to enjoy many delicious breakfast type foods like oatmeal, eggs, and smoothies.
5. Move that body.
Exercise is not just for losing weight. Movement is important to help lubricate the joints and to help keep the muscles from getting fatigued from holding your posture all day. Not to mention, all the endorphins (those happy hormones) that get released during exercise, will keep you positive during these cold, rainy months.
6. Strengthen your core.
This does not mean doing endless crunches to achieve six pack abs. Superficial abdominals are one part of the core muscles, but this group also includes the deeper abdominals like the transversus abdominus and obliques, pelvic floor muscles, iliopsoas, diaphragm, and deep back muscles. These are the muscles that support your thorax and pelvis.
Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, back, hips, and abdomen to work in harmony. This leads to better balance and stability in everything you do, whether it’s riding a bike or carrying groceries. Strong core muscles improve posture, help support digestion, and make you stronger overall. Moving through your core protects your spine from injury and puts less pressure through the joints of your extremities.
Pilates and yoga are great for core strengthening. See this month’s Synergy Strengthen for a core exercise.
7. Connect with others everyday.
Humans are social creatures. We crave feeling supported, valued and connected. Numerous studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.
8. Eat a diet rich in whole foods.
Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed. Whole foods do not contain added ingredients, such as sugar, salt, or fat.
Treat your body like the amazing machine that it is. Be diligent about the food you put into your body. This doesn’t mean that you should deprive yourself of things you like or special treats. Just choose your foods wisely and read ingredients if you do choose packaged foods on occasion.
The foods that you eat affect the pH of your digestive system. Eating the wrong foods can cause inflammation in the gut, which can affect all organs and their ability to function normally. Diets rich in colourful vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds are associated with a reduced risk of certain types of cancers, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
9. Challenge yourself to learn new things.
Learning new skills keeps life interesting. New experiences are a great opportunity for personal growth. You might make new friends, discover a hidden talent, or just have fun. Setting goals for yourself and following through with new tasks can also do wonders for your self-esteem and pride.
10. Slow down. Enjoy life.
Life moves so fast. Great experiences can sometimes only last moments, so savour them.