Over the years of working at Drake I have been interviewed by several students in journalism and mass communication classes. Many times they are interviewing me for an assignment, sometimes it’s for practice, and occasionally something I say is so profound they put it in the Times Delphic. Actually, now that I think about it, the times I’ve been in the TD might just coincide with a slow news week around campus. Nevertheless, I believe a lot of advice I give college students for these interviews about healthy living or in one-on-one consultations can be applied across the board regardless of occupation, age, or sex. Here are my eight simple rules for leading a healthier lifestyle!
Sleep Matters – You know how toddlers and small children turn into monsters when they don’t get enough sleep? Adults become crabby, short, and emotional when running on few zzz’s too. No matter your age, getting into a regular sleep pattern will help with your attitude, your eating habits, and overall energy levels.
Liquid Calories Count – When I first started talking to young adults about their eating habits and desires to lose weight I never really addressed alcohol but it always felt like the elephant in the room. After a while I decided that if I were honest with them they could be honest with me. Are you drinking away your best efforts to lose or maintain a healthy weight? Liquid calories count as much as the ones you chew! Be it a Coke, Bud Light, glass of wine, or some fancy sugar laden coffee with whipped cream, watch it. I mean really watch it!
Plan Ahead – Planning ahead doesn’t only mean you know when you’re working out today or what you’re having for dinner tonight. Planning ahead means making a grocery list, maybe portioning out your lunches for the week, scheduling all your workouts for the next 10 days, knowing when you can relax with your friends and when you need to focus on studies or your occupation. So many people plan out big and important events in their lives but neglect the little things. Your health is about the most precious and fragile aspect of life so you should make plans to keep it a priority.
Eat Breakfast – It’s as simple as that. When you wake up your body is on empty. How far can your car run on empty? Not very far at all. You might think you are someone who doesn’t need to eat a lot or can’t stomach breakfast but in reality, you do need to eat something, preferably not a Pop Tart, to get your metabolism started for the day.
Stretch – A lot of people are consumed by how many minutes of cardio they need per workout session or how many sets of squats they should build up to but I rarely get any questions about stretching. It’s important to stretch and this is one aspect of physical well-being I can get lazy with myself. Stretching can be done almost anywhere, from a standing, seated, or lying position. Spend a few minutes each day getting into this habit and you’ll see results!
Reconsider Dieting – While low-carb, no-sugar, gluten-free, and 30 days of cleansing sound like the path to wellness success the truth is that it’s really difficult to stick to those diets. Diets aren’t typically processes you can adopt and stick with. Diets are events – short periods of time where you really discipline yourself and feel great but over time find difficult to maintain. My advice: eat healthy 80% of the time. Have a few treats here and there. Don’t let dieting get in the way of having a healthy social life.
Run Because You Love Running – I hear a lot of “well I don’t like to run but I know I should” comments. Guess what, if you don’t love running or even like running you probably won’t find success in that type of program. I’m not sure how this came to be but people are programmed to assume cardio workouts must entail running. This is not true! Cardio can be dancing (Zumba), Tabata, HIIT, walking, biking, swimming, water jogging, playing sports, and well that’s just the start of it. If you don’t love running find something you love and do it. You’ll be more successful and satisfied at the end of the day.
Rest – You should find one, if not two days a week to rest. If you’re on the end of the spectrum where you need to find one or two days to get moving then you’re resting plenty but I’m talking to the other end of the spectrum. Yeah you, the people who are so dedicated they can’t imagine a day of rest. I’m serious on this one, you need to rest. Injuries happen due to overuse (guilty as charged) and one day of rest is better than a six-week or more mandatory rest due to a strain, tear, or sprain.
Alright, I’m off my wellness soap box for now. I hope you found at least one of my somewhat simple rules helpful in finding a little more wellness in your life! What would you add to this list?