Posted February 14, 2018

Quick Fixes to Improve Your Health: Volume 2

Since the first volume of this series went over pretty well and had a good reaction overall from the people who checked it out, I figured I’d come back with another shot of goodness for you.

We’re still not putting butter in coffee, though. That’s just ridiculous.

 

#1: Leave 10 minutes earlier, show up on time

Aside from the social elements of being on time or late, being early for any appointment when possible can make for a significant reduction in stress about the appointment you’re trying to get to.

Consider how you feel when you’re a bit late for something. You’re likely frazzled, somewhat anxious about the other person’s opinion of you, and trying to get stuff ready or organized in a hurry. In some cases, this is unavoidable (unexpected traffic, family emergency, boss wants to “chat” for an hour, etc), but those are the exceptions.

If you know it will take 30 minutes to get somewhere, leave 40 minutes before the appointment. At best, you show up 10 minutes early and just flip through Instagram for a couple of minutes. At worst, those traffic delays become less impactful to you being on time, and gives you a nice buffer.

This can be a small but meaningful source of stress for people, and reducing it’s impact can have a huge effect on sleep, how you feel throughout the day, and overall health in the long run.

 

#2: 5 Minutes per Decade “rule”

Something that was brought to my attention by a long-term client who has worked with me for over a a decade a while ago as he was watching other members in my morning group class was that people tended to work for about 5 minutes on mobility or active control for each decade they were alive. He’s a statistician, so that’s right in his wheel house.

I thought about it and it kind of made sense that I would program more mobility for clients as they aged, since that was a bigger concern for them and also harder to get in general than someone who was 20. While it’s not a hard-fast 5 minutes for each decade always, the average seems to hold up well in many instances, and it’s something I think a lot of people could benefit from overall.

Hashtag goals

This doesn’t mean that if you’re 60 and only have an hour to train that 30 minutes should always be focused on mobility training, but you can sprinkle that into morning wake up routines or before bedtime unwinding, but in general accumulating 5 minutes per decade of life each day should be a reasonable goal to spend working on stretching, moving, and generally expanding the ranges of motion your body can move through and control.

In my own training, I’ve found my best times for mobility are before a dynamic workout, during a break between clients, and definitely when I get to a hotel room after any kind of flight, but each session doesn’t take very long. Mostly it’s just a general move around audit of what’s feeling good, spend a minute or two longer on anything that’s a bit more angry than others, and then move on to other stuff.

 

#3: Cook More of Your Own Meals

It’s far too easy to get food to go, head to a restaurant, or eat based on what looks good on a menu than to put in a few minutes of effort to prep some veggies or cook some chicken. The downside to eating off a menu all the time is you have almost no control over portion sizes, ingredients, what’s available at any given time.

Many of our choices to picking food off a menu come back to basic psychological elements: sensory perception, Pavlovian conditioning (when I eat this kind of food I feel good), and flavour perception seem to drive the majority of on-the-fly food choices when eating out, compared to nutritional value, whether you’re able to hit your macro target, or how that food will affect your training session tomorrow.

Many popular diets out there require people to prepare their own food in some form or another, as this gives more control over what you’re actually eating in terms of quality, size, and contents of that food. Restaurants tend to make people want to eat their foods, so they try to make it taste good, which may mean loading up on additional fasts, sugars and salt to improve flavour. Some restaurants are quite good at listing calories and contents, but you can still benefit a lot from simply cooking one large meal every few days at home, and disbursing that over the span of a few meals. It can also save you a lot of money over the long run, even if you only sub out one restaurant meal a week for a home cooked one.

There are likely thousands of great healthy cookbooks, tens of thousands of healthy cooking tutorials on Youtube, and dozens of high quality cooking classes likely within your area that can help you learn basic skills, more advanced techniques, and help bring some of the joy of cooking to your own life.