Actions That Dramatically Improve Your Health (II)


Last week I talked about healthy actions and really didn’t have the space to explore all my suggestions. So this week’s column picks up where I left of. This article is a testament to just how many healthy actions there are out there, and I’m barely scratching the surface.

Choose BIG BANG Exercises and Save Time
If your goals are to improve your fitness and lose fat then you shouldn’t waste your time with small exercises. Small exercises only target small muscle groups, like the biceps or triceps. To get a quicker response from your workout you need to focus on big exercises that hit large muscle groups.

Here’s a list of top 5 Big bang exercises:
1. The Lunge – a basic movement that not only works most muscles of the body but improves your balance and movement skills
2. The Row – pulling your hands towards you is excellent for recruiting most of the muscles in your back. Perform this exercise standing up and you will use the legs and core muscles too!
3. The Squat – uses most muscles in the body but in particular the buttocks and thighs
4. The Push Up – avoid the bench press and stick to the push up. The push up targets the chest, triceps and core muscles and you can do them anywhere.
5. The Deadlift – again uses most of your 600 muscles but heavily works the back of the body so great for posture
Put these exercises together in a circuit in the same order as above and you have a quick and highly effective workout.

Take a Walk in Nature
There is nothing more natural and uplifting than taking a walk in nature. If your mind is busy, you are feeling the pressures of the day, or you simply need a break from the office. Taking a quick stroll through a park, fields or woods, is great for the soul.
Walking in nature can offer you some active meditation. A time to let yourself go and re-assess your situation. Remember we all come from nature so get out there and reconnect.

Plan Out Your Meals for the Week
OK, don’t turn your nose up at this suggestion. A little planning can go a long way. There is nothing worse than opening the cupboards and finding them bare. Empty cupboards usually means eating and drinking things that you know you shouldn’t.
Take 5 minutes and write down a list of meals for the week. Once you have your meals jotted down, split each meal up into ingredients required. You then have your shopping list for the week. This is a simple technique that only has to be done once a week, but the time and aggravation it saves is well worth it. Also, once you have written down a few weekly lists you can combine them to save even more time.

Follow the Rainbow Diet
It’s a fact that different coloured vegetables contain different nutrients. Next time you are out grocery shopping try and choose as many variations of colours as you can find. The brighter and more colourful your shopping basket the better.
Dream about What You Really Want
Do you know what you really want out of life? Have you ever taken the time to think about it?
Setting goals and taking control of your life is important for your overall happiness. There is something very intrinsically rewarding about achieving a goal. Generally the harder and longer a goal takes to achieve the more rewarding it will be. The subconscious mind has a clever way of finding solutions for you but you have to set it a goal first. Dream big and don’t worry about how you will get there, just let your subconscious take care of it.

Here’s a proven goal setting technique
1. Close your eyes and dream about what you want your life to be like in 5 years. How will it look and feel?
2. Now ask yourself what skills you need to achieve your dream? List them down.
3. Next work backwards and plan out your pathway to your dream. Where will you need to be in 3 years, 2 years, 1 year, 6 months, 3 month, 1 month, 1 week?
4. Write out your road-map and stick it on the wall. Tick off each week as you progress towards your 5 year dream.
This technique is highly effective. Don’t sweat over the small stuff, it will sort itself out. Trust your subconscious to find a way. Take control of your life and you could be living your dream in only 5 years!

Spend More Time Standing
For some people the idea of standing more often terrifies them but the truth is sitting down is not very good for our backs. When we sit down huge amounts of pressure is transferred to the lower back, far more than when standing. It always amuses me when people say their back hurts and so they need to sit down. If you have a bad back you are better to either lie down or stand up.
I’m sure you know that we live in a sitting world. We sit going to work, at work, going home from work, and finally at home in the evening. Try to spend more time on your feet. One simply technique to prevent prolonged sitting at work is to set a stopwatch on your computer. Every 50 minutes take the time to get up, move around, drink some water and look at something other than the computer screen. You will be amazed at how much more productive you will become by using this simple method.

Turn the Lights Down and Chill Out in the Evening
Dig out those candles, dim the lights, and play some soft music. In the evening it’s time to relax and work with your hormones not against them.
I mentioned earlier how we are influenced hormonally by the sun and how these hormone levels change throughout the day. Well, in the evening we should be winding down and preparing to sleep. Bright lights and stimulating TV will activate the cortisol hormone. High cortisol levels should naturally occur in the morning when it’s time to wake up and get going, and not in the evenings. So in the evenings try to avoid all stimulants, relax and wind down the right way.

Limit Your Fruit Intake to 1 Piece Per Day
What? I know what you are thinking. Reduce fruit, I thought that was good for me? Fruit is good for you but only in small doses. Fruit contains high amounts of sugar. I know it’s the natural sugar Fructose but it’s still sugar.
Sugar is the largest cause of obesity today. No it’s not fat, it’s sugar. Sugar consumption has drastically risen over the last 50 years and fat consumption has drastically dropped, but we are all in worse shape than ever. We have more gyms, medical practitioners and health carers than ever before but we still can’t stop the obesity epidemic. Stop sugar and it all goes away!

Here’s a quick guide to Fruit and Sugar
1. Avoid all Sugars including syrups and artificial sweeteners (they are even worse than sugar).
2. All ingredients that end in “ose” are a sugar. For example: Sucrose, Glucose, Fructose, Maltose etc.
3. Limit fruit to one piece a day. Only eat seasonal fruit. Fruit is not a meal.
Fruit has changed a lot over the years. Our ancestors would have eaten fruit that was much smaller and more sour. They would have only eaten it when it was in season and usually to fatten up for the winter. Be very very careful with fruit and sugar!

Do Something Different
Remember the feeling you last had when you did something different? We are creatures of habit and although most habits keep us safe they don’t always challenge us. Have some fun by changing a habit and doing something you haven’t done before. It can be as simple as taking a different route to work or waking up in the middle of the night and looking at the stars. The challenge is to experience something new.
Spend 5 minutes looking through Google for something new. Try a new sport, join a new club, start a new business, try a new hobby, reconnect with an old friend, go to a play, book a weekend break.
Life is short. It’s amazing what happens when you try something new. With new experiences come more new experiences. Without change you get the same results so get out there and explore.