Ladies! We all want to feel, look, glow, and have energy as much as we can, right? However, many of us neglect some very elemental daily habits and put these things off, telling ourselves we are too busy, too stressed, or there’s not enough hours in the day to do them. Let’s look at some science supported practices, many of them free, that can help you be your best!
1. Make a beeline for sunlight:
The best thing you can do for sleep, energy, mood, wakefulness, and metabolism is at least 10-15 min of outside exposure to sunlight especially first thing in the morning. Your eyes have receptors that help you set your circadian rhythm. Get outside while you’re having your coffee, take a short walk at lunch and enjoy a sunset (Without your sunglasses on!). Looking out your window doesn’t count unfortunately. It even works on a cloudy or rainy day.
2. Don’t rush your coffee in the morning:
Oh no! This is a tough one for most of us who need a jolt to get going in the morning but hear me out. When you down your coffee when you first wake up it can sabotage your body’s own natural waking process and you may not get your natural surge of adrenaline. This can cause an energy “crash:” later in the afternoon, making you even more tired. You can counter this by waiting at least an hour, ideally 2 hours after waking to have your coffee to level out your energy through the day.
3. 180-200 minutes total of moderate cardio exercise a week:
We all struggle to make it to the gym and find that hour or two to dedicate to it, so, sometimes we just don’t do it. However, studies show that a total of 180 minutes a week (about 15-20 minutes a day) of getting your heart rate up in a moderated zone (just enough to breathe a little harder that an easy walk) can have significant health benefits. I recommend taking mini exercise “snacks” like getting up from your work desk and doing some air squats, lunges, jumping jacks, running up and down a flight of stairs, dancing, or jumping on your exercise bike for 5-10 minutes etc. throughout your day and you’ll be amazed how fast it adds up and how good it feels to get that heart pumping.
4. Sleep Hygiene - prioritizing sleep:
Put your hand up if this is what you sacrifice the most! Yes, we all do. Who hasn’t sat on the couch after a long day and binge watch your favorite show till you look at the clock and its already 11 pm and you haven’t even brushed your teeth? Sleep is the foundation of our physical health, mental health, physical performance, hormone augmentation and emotional stabilizer. Yet this is the one habit most of us cut corners on. You’ve heard this one before repeatedly, and here it is …. again. Some better ways to quiet a busy mind for sleep are a scripted meditation like yoga Nidra, Non-Sleep Deep Relaxation which you can find for free on your favorite music app, or YouTube. Also, a nice 10–15-minute simple stretching or yoga routine will help prepare you for getting nice and relaxed.
5. Resistance Training 3-4x a week:
There she goes bringing up the gym again! Again, hear me out. Muscle is your engine. However, as we age, we naturally loose strength. If you don’t do anything about it expect to lose 8 percent of your strength for each decade after your 30th birthday and that decline accelerates after 60. So, by the time you are 55 you may be 20 percent weaker. This is not a good thing since in general, we are living longer and want to be independent if we can. Resistance training results in increased metabolic rate (still need to get into that dress for that dinner party), improved posture and balance, stronger bones, better blood pressure, etc.
It’s not as tough as it seems. I mostly exercise at home and have a set of weights, or community centers that have gyms are close to free. The workout session doesn’t take long if you lift the right amount of weight. The number of repetitions is 4-6 per exercise repeated 4-5x. A well-trained women focused therapist or trainer can help you set up the exercises and there are multiple free programs on YouTube that you can follow.
6. Are you Eating Enough? :
How many of you have been on multiple diets or cut down the amount you are eating because you think you’re not active enough or are trying to get rid of that belly fat? However, when we cut our food intake too low, our bodies may think it is in survival mode (think fight or flight) and will go into conservation mode. This means it will be much harder to lose weight. You may also feel tired all the time, stressed, have trouble sleeping, harder time recovering from physical activity. This is called low energy availability (LEA). If you’re not fueling your body properly, you might even see, irregular periods, dysregulated thyroid, headaches, body aches etc. Intermittent fasting has become a current trend however, most of the studies done, have been done on men, not women. We have a much different combination of hormones and if you are active can lower your insulin levels, burn stored fat for fuel and could very much become a form of stress for the body. Eating 3 main meals that contain protein, vegetables, and a healthy starch with 2 healthy snacks like fruit or jerky can help to restore your mojo you’ve been missing.
Source: Hubermanlab, Dr. Stacy Sims
The best thing you can do for sleep, energy, mood, wakefulness, and metabolism is at least 10-15 min of outside exposure to sunlight especially first thing in the morning