Two of life’s greatest gifts can be a sound mind and a sound body.
These characteristics typically go together — it’s hard to have one without the other.
When you deny yourself sleep, healthy foods, exercise and more, you not only make your body physically tired, your mind becomes filled with stress and exhaustion.
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For a brief moment, think of your body as an investment. If you put in your time (and sometimes your money) into caring for it, you will experience returns.
Imagine the prospect of waking up without feeling too tired to fill a day or ending each day with less stress and pressure than the day before. Those are the returns you are going for if you make these efforts to take better care of your body today.
1. Make Time for Sleep
Sleep is often one of the first things sacrificed in the face of stress. You’ll stay up a little later to finish a work- or school-related task, only to wake up the next day exhausted and dragging through your day. It’s time to see sleep as more than a luxury you give up, but instead as a necessity.
Missing sleep costs American workers an estimated $63.2 billion in lost productivity on a yearly basis, according to a 2011 study in the journal “Sleep.” If you need more convincing, a lack of sleep is linked with an increased risk for chronic conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, according to Harvard University.
Getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night is a healthy-body priority necessary for physical wellness. Take a look at your daily schedule and determine what roadblocks are keeping you from sleeping. Take steps to remove what is keeping you from sleeping. Sometimes this can be an overextended, unrealistic schedule. Realize that you may have to rearrange some priorities or even drop an activity. But in the long run, your body will thank you.
2. Drink More (Clean) Water
Many reasons for drinking water exist: not only does hydration help your body function at its best, it also can reduce hunger and improve your skin’s appearance. Just as your diet works better when clean, so does your water. Filtering pitchers or faucet attachments can typically be purchased at a lower than $20 price tag that allows you to enjoy cleaner, fresher water that’s free of potentially harmful toxins. While there’s a lot of debate out there as to what temperature is best for your water, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking water that is somewhere between 50 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is on the cold (but not too cold) side, and is intended to pass through your stomach faster, sending it to your intestines. Here, the water combines with your digested foods to help promote digestive regularity.
3. Exercise, Even If It’s a Little At a Time
To really carry this step out, you have to think about your attitude toward exercise. Is it something you enjoy? A necessary evil? Or maybe even something you hate and won’t do? Exercise is truly meant to be something you enjoy. So if you see it as anything but, it’s time to consider a new exercise and what you define as exercise. Activities that get your heart pumping are exercise. And that doesn’t have to happen for 30 minutes on a treadmill. If you love to dance, dance. If you’ve always wanted to take a kickboxing class, do it. Don’t let fear of learning something new or looking silly keeping you from finally finding the activity that makes you love exercising. Sleeping and exercising are two priorities you need in your life because they can extend your life. They can also enhance your quality of life. Whatever you enjoy doing, even if it’s aggressive cleaning or aerobic snow-shoveling, do more of that almost every day. Your body will thank you.