Building a Healthier You

Building a healthier you does not take millions of dollars. What it takes is a positive attitude and a willingness to start. You can begin today by just going for a walk.

For ten years I was a classroom teacher.  I would come home from work and sit.  Sometimes, in my first few years, I would just sit and stare.  I was that tired.  

When I moved to Myanmar, I was given a house across from school that was furnished with a TV, cable and a couch.  I would leave work, walk up the stairs, sit down and watch TV.  There was never anything interesting on and I would settle for WWE wrestling.  A soap opera made for men.

I would also snack.  Chips.  Chocolate.  Processed foods.  I trained my body and mind to think it deserved these rewards.  Snacks and the couch.  At 8pm I would realize I had wasted my afternoon.  After two months I came to realize, I was also wasting my health. I had a spare tire around my waste for the second time in my life.

I didn’t like it. I opted for change.  

First was to unplug the TV from the cable and move it.  I set it up in the bedroom and elected only to watch movies on it.  Next to the couch, I placed my ukulele, my language books and reading books.  My purpose was to break the routine.  I succeeded.

Our daily routines, unless we create them, have been created and designed for us.  We work hard, come home tired and want comfort.  We set up our living spaces to achieve maximum comfort. We have lazy chairs and big screen TVs.  We become the kings and queens of our environment sacrificing our health for comfort.

Here are some tips to getting off the couch and building an active healthy lifestyle:

  1. Wear comfortable quality shoes designed to walk and move in.  When the moods, you are ready to go
  2. Park away from your destination and walk.  Walking builds fitness
  3. Plan your snacks – when hunger hits, have a healthier option than a sugary snack bought at a convenience store.  Unused sugar gets turned into stored fat
  4. Drink water and stay hydrated – apps can help
  5. If you sit at work, sit on a yoga ball part of the day.  It activates your core
  6. Stretch when you wake up or if you have a minute during the day
  7. Move – if you have minute – walk to the bathroom and back
  8. Use the stairs not the lift
  9. Eat lunch while you work and walk briskly during your break 
  10. Invest in a raincoat – don’t let weather  be your excuse
  11. Parents – kick a ball or throw a frisbee with your kids
  12. Commute to work by walking, cycling or mixture of both
  13. Walk to the restaurant or coffee shop and walk home
  14. At home, set a limit on couch screen time – set up a standing screen
  15. Cook your own meals – you’ll stand while you do
  16. Jungle gyms can be for adults and calisthenics are for all ages too

Most of these ideas are simple tips that anyone can do to change how they interact with their day and be proactive with their health.

There are many resources online if you need more guidance.  A gym membership is great, but building an active lifestyle builds a healthier you. It builds health and activity into your daily routine like cycling or walking to and from work.

Beyond this, if you are interested in learning more and having some personalized guidance, you reach me at horizoncoaching.org.  I can coach you to picking the right gear and shoes or preparing you for your first marathon and anything in between.

My personal philosophy is this.  We need goals to maintain health.  For me it’s racing, for others, it is a summer beach body.  But I also believe that life is short and about being happy.  If you want a Snickers or a piece of cake or a beer, go for it.  Just limit yourself to five of these a month.  If you want a night or complete day of sitting on the couch,, do it.  Let your brain and body recover.  

We need days like this like we need rewards.  Sometimes we just need a break.  We call that rest, and like any athlete would tell you, work hard on your hard days and rest on your rest days.  So what are you waiting for, get off the couch, put down the screen and go for a walk, run down the block or do five push ups to actuate change.

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