Welcome to The Healthy Habits Challenge
This week we talk about increasing our level of physical activity, practicing time-restricted eating and meditation. If you would like to boost your overall wellness pick any of the following healthy habits and gradually start to integrate it into your daily routine.
Healthy Habit #16
Did you know that The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 150 min of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week to help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancers?
That said, “even when individuals engage in 150 min/wk of physical activity, increasing evidence suggests that what happens in the remaining approximately 6500 minutes of the waking week is important for health” as well (Van Der Ploeg, et al., 2012).
Is your mind blown? 🤯🤯Mine is, especially since :
- I’ve not been able to achieve my 150 min of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week since the gyms closed,
- My work is mainly sedentary AND,
- I have many sedentary hobbies like reading and painting.
And you know what? That’s okay. My intention with this post is not to make you feel guilty or bad about not meeting the minimum recommendation for weekly physical activity. My goal is to give you baby steps so that physical movement and activity simply become part of your daily life.
The first baby step is to literally get off your butt (I say this with love)!
Set your alarm to go off every hour. Then take a 10 to 15 min Body Break!
(Anyone remembers Body Break with Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod?)
You can take a stroll in or outdoors. Walk up and downstairs. Do some standing stretches or yoga. Do some jumping jacks or crunches. You can even use your dusty old treadmill or exercise bike. Try finding something that you enjoy and maybe even look forward to.
Ideally we should not only be taking these body breaks during our workday but also during our sedentary leisure time e.g. watching t.v.
Healthy Habit #17
Time-restricted eating has gained some popularity over the past couple of years. The concept is pretty simple; eat all of your meals within a 10-hour window.
For example, if you have your first meal at 6 am, you should be done eating for the day by 4 pm. Personally, I start eating around noon; but that’s what works with my schedule.
You might be wondering what is the point of eating within a 10-hour window?
A study done by Wilkinson and Manoogian et al. (2020) found that time-restricted eating led to weight loss, healthier body composition, lower blood pressure, and decreased levels of heart disease-promoting fats compared to those who had eating windows greater than 14-hours.
Time-restricted eating encourages people to maintain healthy daily cycles of eating and fasting.
This is especially important for those who struggle with obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and/or diabetes.
You should always talk with your healthcare provider before making any big changes to your diet
Healthy Habit #18
Before skipping over this healthy habit I would like to invite you to let go of all your preconceived notions about meditation.
In my experience, there is no “one way” or “right way” to meditate. You can meditate sitting or lying down. You can meditate while walking or preparing your meal. You can meditate for 1 hour or 5 minutes.
For me, meditation is an attempt of letting go of my mental “to-do list” and bringing my focus to my physical senses and emotions without letting them overwhelm me. It’s about being mindful of my existence without judgment.
Personally, I enjoy guided meditations the most. They help refocus my busy mind to my current experience more easily. One of my most favourite free resources for guided meditations is Meditation Oasis created by Mary and Richard Maddux.
I would like to leave you with the following thought. Meditation is often refereed to as a “practice”. There is a a reason for this. The ability to meditate is a skill we develop over time. It is not an innate ability.
It is therefore normal to find mediation difficult when we start practicing. However, as we practice, our awareness begins to shift with a bit more ease towards the experience of simply being rather than doing.