One costs money, the other choices.
How many of you have a healthcare plan? How many people do you know that do? I’m not talking about the typical insurance your job gives you so you can go to the doctor and receive prescription meds – that’s sickcare. What I’m talking about is a routine of looking after one’s own health, where someone cares for their health – healthcare.
I think we not only define multiple words wrong in todays society but we’ve nearly completely forgotten what it means to take care of our own bodies, our own existence. What would a healthcare plan look like? Well I’m glad you asked.
Healthcare starts with what you eat
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates
2,500 years ago they knew that what we ate defined our health. What’s wild is they didn’t even have lab-made food yet. Or brands that pay psychologists millions of dollars to figure out how to make their item impossible to stop eating, but I digress. What’s important here is to note that what you eat is the primary indicator of your health. Exercise is important but in its own ways we will cover below. What you eat defines your health. You cannot our work a bad diet in the gym – or nowadays in the pharmacy. There are tons of arguments towards what diet is good or bad, what foods are food or bad, etc. There is an answer here- eat real foods. Real foods are animal products (meat, eggs, etc), veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. Before eating something ask yourself if you could go hunt, grow, or gather this food. If the answer is no it’s not something we should eat on a daily basis. Even those quick convenient “healthy” granola bars you’ve possibly been sold on aren’t making your life or health better.
How much should you eat you may ask. Make the transition to only eating real foods, give yourself a week to get used to it, and from that point on your body will tell you exactly what it wants and needs. You’ll know when you’re full and you’ll know what to eat by the newfound cravings you have. Instead of craving ice cream and cookies you’ll crave meat, fruit, even potatoes with butter on them. This is the state you want to achieve. You’ll see near boundless energy and have mental clarity that wasn’t there before. Food can and will change your life – I’d say it already is. Ask yourself if how you’re currently eating is changing your life for the better or the worse…
Exercise is movement disguised how you see fit
What about exercise, where does that come into play? Exercise is movement and movement is what the body needs. To a certain extent you should do whatever form of movement you will consistently do. The goal is to minimize our time being sedentary (sitting still). For most our work forces this so trying to maximize our movement outside of work is the goal. We can and should break up our workdays with a few walks. After every meal get you a 5-10 minute walk. After a tough phone call, a transition from a meeting to focused work, anytime you have to task-switch – these are great times to take a short walk to not only get the blood pumping but to free your mind from where it was to where it’s going. Productivity hack anyone?
Outside of work do what moves you, literally. This could be sport, dance, functional fitness, yoga, doesn’t matter! If you’ll do it 3-5x per week your body will thank you. However there are some items we need to include regardless. Resistance training, strength training, lifting weights – all names for the same thing. If you’ve never lifted weights spend the money on a good personal trainer. A few months of training on how to do them correctly could save you years of pain later in life. We want to lift weights in a way that helps us for life. Meaning it should be functional, a natural pattern, and a compound exercise. Functional would mean you’ll use it in life – like squatting. You squat everyday, let’s do it the right way and then add resistance. It should be natural, like lifting your arms overhead. Do that correctly and with weight so we can grab items off of the top shelf as we age. It should be a compound exercise meaning multiple joints and muscles get used. Instead of just training your arms to look good, do movements that include your arms, core, and hips. Your body appreciates having to coordinate muscle groups. Why is this important? We lose range of motion as we age. That’s why todays toilet seats are all way too tall, most people can’t squat… we also lose muscle mass at a accelerating rate as we age. Lean muscle mass solves most of todays societal sickness in a multitude of ways – build it and maintain it for as long as you can.
Exercise should also work your cardiovascular system. Specifically in two ways. We want to do the “extremes” here. Once a week you should perform something at high intensity, “getting the heart rate up very high”. Nothing over 4 minutes, preferably more along the line of sprint intervals. Work 10 to 60 seconds, rest 3-4x longer than that and repeat 3+ times. Then 2-3x a week you should work low intensity. Getting the heart rate slightly elevated (think being able to speak out loud in short sentences between breaths) for 20+ minutes. These two versions of cardio together will help your ability to uptake and use oxygen but more than that will build a resilient mind. Here’s the beauty of functional fitness and what we do in our gym – mixing this high/low intensity with a focus on resistance training. You don’t have to figure it out on your own!
It doesn’t have to be complicated, you don’t need to buy any products or supplements, and in the beginning you don’t even have to enjoy it. Give it 2-3 months and if your life isn’t completely different give me a call.
Sleep, water, and sunlight go a long way
We try to forget but at the end of the day we are still biological creatures roaming the Earth. Because of that, and much like a houseplant we require water and sunlight. We also require sleep and probably more than you’re currently getting. Regardless of how much you’re sleeping now I’d argue to do everything in your power to give yourself at least 8 hours of laying in bed. This doesn’t mean with the TV on this means giving your body the chance to get some as much sleep as possible, but while on the subject just take the TV out of your room. Adults need 6-8 hours of sleep per night to operate at their highest level. I’ve heard all of the arguments and I’ll address most of them as quickly as I can. Don’t have time because of work or children – try it and you’ll be more productive and may not need to work as long of hours. For kids, they need more like 9-10 hours per sleep which should give you a little time for yourselves at the beginning and end of the day. When it comes to sleep it usually comes down to what will you give up to sleep more, TV and scrolling on a phone are two great areas to start. If we begin exercising it will make us more tired, eating better can improve our quality of sleep, getting more sleep wires your brain to enjoy good foods more – it’s a fantastic cascading effect once everything gets into tune.
Hydration is also quite important as most people should be drinking more water. If you drink sodas or even diet sodas you can improve your health drastically and quickly by simply removing them and nothing else. If you are exercising you should also take some sort of electrolyte a few times a week if not daily. Don’t get suckered into one with tons of added sugar, LMNT is a great option. A good place to start with water consumption is match every other beverage you drink per ounce with water. If you have 12 ounces of coffee, also have 12 ounces of water. Apply this to everything you drink throughout the day and drink if you feel thirsty.
Sunlight is the last item to add in. Doesn’t take a lot, 10 minutes of sun on your bare arms per day is a good place to begin. Get this sunlight while walking for 10 minutes and boom two birds with one stone!
Next week we will cover Sickcare and how my life applies to this story. Stay tuned, follow here for updates!