Regular exercise is one of the foundations of health and wellness. But as beneficial as physical activity can be, it is only part of the equation. Other lifestyle factors such as your diet, your sleep quality and quantity, and more all have an impact on the way you feel and how effective your exercise program can be. Let’s examine some of the other habits that can maximize the results you get from exercise.
1. Drink Water
Did you know that that two-thirds of the human body is water? In other words, we are more water than anything else. That should provide some perspective on the importance of staying hydrated.
Drinking enough water throughout the day supports metabolism, helps your body get the most out of your nutrition, flushes out waste, and keeps everything in your body working properly.
There is no way your body can repair and recover from a workout if you are dehydrated. Get yourself a bottle and keep it with you. Women need about three liters per day, men need four.
2. Track Your Progress
What was your workout today? What did you do and for how long? How does it compare to what you did two weeks ago?
If these questions make you nervous, is it because you do not really know? Hey, it happens. Exercising sans journal is better than not exercising.
But if you really want to get results, get a notebook, or keep track of your progress in a journal or on your phone. It will help promote forward momentum and it is a good way to keep yourself accountable.
3. Good Sleep Every Night
Do you sleep between seven and nine hours every night? That is what is recommended for adults. If you have heard that a lack of sleep is an indicator of grit and tenacity, do not believe it for a second.
Sleep is a necessity. Among the many (every) aspects of health that it supports, here is one — consistent, adequate sleep promotes hormone balance.
So, if you want to position yourself to not only have the energy to exercise but also give your body time to recover and with complementary body chemistry, put sleep high on your priority list.
4. Eat Healthy Food
It is hard to exercise your way out of the effects of a steady stream of unhealthy food. Consider this — you would need to do burpees for 40 minutes to work off an order of medium French fries.
And fad diets do not have a great record of accomplishment of success, either. In fact, a lot of research shows that they do not have anything to offer.
Make whole, healthy food a pillar of your life. All your vitamins, minerals, clean carbs, healthy fats, lean protein and low or no refined sugar or saturated fats. You can meet with a nutritionist for practical, personalized guidance.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is being present in the moment and paying attention to where you are. And practicing it can offer a world of benefits.
One study of 62 women found that those who used mindfulness meditation in their daily or weekly routine had a higher level of physical exercise and a greater reduction in BMI than women who did not.
Try these three easy steps to be mindful — turn off your mental autopilot and mentally engage, make yourself aware of your breathing and your physical body, and expand your awareness outward.
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