Alaska Sleep Education Center

5 Fun and Unconventional Ways To Get Healthy

Posted by Paisley Hansen on Aug 13, 2020 8:42:00 AM

Happy women getting ready for skating outdoors

Everyone’s heard the usual advice about what you need to do to live a long, healthy life: eat less sugar, get more sleep, exercise more, and relax. What’s not as clear for many people is how to actually get there. Changing your habits can feel like an impossible task, especially when many of the healthier choices you know you need to make are less than enjoyable.

Luckily, an active lifestyle doesn’t have to be all green smoothies, early morning runs, and no fun! Try one of these five surprising ideas to get fit painlessly.

Pick a Different Workout

If knowing you have a workout scheduled for tomorrow morning fills you with dread, it’s probably not that you loathe all exercise; rather, you might have chosen an activity you don’t really enjoy. When exercise creates feelings of anxiety and misery, it’s natural that you’ll end up avoiding it, especially if there’s nothing to look forward to about your workout other than scratching it off your to-do list.

Think back to childhood, when you likely spent more time engaged in active, physical play. What was your favorite thing to do? Especially in hot weather, many people will have fond memories of spending long days at the pool. Sure, you’ll have to spend more time swimming laps and less time half-submerged on your favorite floatie, but swimming is both an efficient form of cardio and excellent for minimizing joint strain. Plus, the typical inground pool cost is less than you think. If you’d rather not get your hair wet, dance workouts or virtual group classes with a scoreboard are creative, competitive options that you’ll be excited to attend.

 

De-clutter for a Healthier Diet

Living in a house where there isn’t a single flat surface that doesn’t have five or six miscellaneous items piled on top isn’t just annoying, particularly if you’re the one who does most of the cleaning; it’s also bad for your health. The more frustrated you are with the profusion of stuff in your home, the more likely clutter is to make you angry and anxious. This happens because behind the scenes, your body is dumping cortisol, the stress hormone, into your bloodstream, kicking off the fight-or-flight response.

Emotional discomfort isn’t the only side effect of excess cortisol; it’s also linked to weight gain. High cortisol levels keep your blood sugar low, making you more likely to reach for the junk food you’ve been trying to avoid. Worse yet, if your fridge and pantry are stuffed to the brim with not-so-nutritious choices, you won’t be able to find the foods you need to support your new lifestyle.

De-cluttering your kitchen in particular is an opportunity to purge your shelves of the foods you wish you’d stop eating, so start your tidying efforts there. When you’re ready to expand to the rest of the house, try some of these ideas for making decluttering effortless.

 

Write Down Your Goals

Keeping a written record of the things you want to accomplish is one of the best ways to achieve them; the simple act of writing down your goals makes success 42% more likely, even if you don’t do anything else differently. Why?

Researchers have discovered that the process of putting your dreams on paper makes you spend extra time refining them and inspires you to get specific. “Lose weight” is vague and open-ended, but “lose fifteen pounds in the next three months” is clearly articulated; you can imagine what weekly progress would look like, and you’d know if you were on your way to success.

Productivity experts would describe the second, better-expressed objective as a SMART goal; the acronym is short for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. You’re more likely to meet targets that follow these criteria because their structure encourages you to think critically about what you can achieve and generate a plan for getting across the finish line. For an extra boost of motivation, spend some time reflecting on your efforts each night before bed with a progress journal, in which you’ll write down what you did that day to achieve your long-term goals; strive to have at least one thing to record every day.

 

Don’t Do It Alone

Enlisting friends and family to cheer you on as you work towards your health goals is a great way to build support into your daily life. A 2013 study found that when people were told that their peers had chosen high-calorie meals or foods, they were more likely to follow suit. The effect persisted even when people didn’t feel consciously that they were being influenced and when they ate alone.

Your entire family doesn’t have to follow the same diet as you do, but it can be helpful to get them on board with not shopping for foods you know you don’t want in the house. When you know that everyone around you has the same outlook on making wholesome food choices, it’ll allow you to harness the power of peer pressure for good. If your family is already committed to eating healthy together, but exercise is still a struggle, enlist a friend or family member to work out with you.

Being aware that someone whose opinion you value is expecting you to show up and put in the work is a powerful motivator, and if you can find an activity that both of you enjoy, it’s a great way to spend some quality time with the people you care about.

 

Adopt a Furry Friend

Have you always wanted to bring home a pet? Your doctor probably thinks it’s a good idea—as long as it’s a dog. Years of data shows a strong correlation between better health outcomes, like lower blood pressure and resting heart rate, and dog ownership. That’s likely because just taking your pup for a daily walk is enough exercise to meet your recommended activity levels.

For people who are new to fitness, a dog can be a strong motivator to at least start walking, and their presence can stave off loneliness; dogs and humans have a remarkable talent for developing strong social bonds without exchanging a single word. If you don’t feel like you can take on a new family member right now, consider volunteering to walk dogs at a shelter or borrowing a friend’s dog a few days a week. You’ll still get some of the benefits without the responsibility of caring for a dog.

Too often, sticking to a nutritious diet and workout schedule feels like a life sentence of drudgery, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Try one of these creative options to encourage yourself to internalize healthy lifestyle choices and commit for good.

Improving your sleep schedule easily

Going to sleep early and enjoying a rested night might be difficult for some people, but there are a few different things you can try in order to improve it. All of the mistakes mentioned in the article can easily be turned around and improved.

The main thing you can aim for is waking up around the same time every day, no matter how tired you are. This will help you feel tired enough to go to sleep early and it can allow you to start fixing your sleeping schedule once again.

Alaska Sleep Clinic is the premiere, independent diagnostic sleep clinic in Alaska.

 Alaska Sleep Clinic has the most experience with sleep Telemedicine than any other sleep lab in the state.

Call Alaska Sleep Clinic today @ 907-770-9104 for your free sleep assessment.

 

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Topics: health, getting better sleep, staying healthy

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