Monday, December 26, 2011

Too much or too little?

I want you to ask yourself if you are doing too much or too little of the following:
     1.  Multitasking
     2.  Drinking Water
     3.  Eating Salt
     4.  Exercising
     5.  Sleeping

I will break each category down making it easier for you to know if you are doing too much or too little of each.

1.  Multitasking- Is your phone or computer on all the time?  If so, you are doing too much multitasking.  Give yourself some silence by turning off email notifications, or turning your phone off for 15 minutes.  During this time, take some deep breaths, close your eyes, and just relax.

Set regular times each day where you check your email or voice-mail (this will be more difficult if you are a business owner or traveling sales rep, however, it can still be done).  You may need to let others know when you will be checking your mail so that they know when to expect a reply.
When speaking with someone in person, really engage in the conversation.  Be present and listen carefully.

2.  Drinking Water - We've all heard it, that we need to drink lots of water.  But how much?  You may not know this but water is the largest component of the human body, making up about 60% of our body weight.     Water helps circulate nutrients throughout our bloodstream, it helps control body temperature, helps protect vital organs, and also helps maintain a high blood volume needed for optimal athletic performance.

Each of us is unique in our needs, but as a rule of thumb, 64oz (8 glasses of 8oz) a day is the minimum.  The only exception is infants, those who are sick, and while exercising vigorously (which all may require more).  The easiest way to help make sure you are getting enough water is to fill up a canteen bottle (one that is 64oz is ideal) and keep it with you.  This way you will always know how much you still need to drink.  Try to spread it out throughout the day, rather than saving 40oz just before bed.  You will find that it really isn't that hard to do, and you will also become more conscious of just how much you can consume to feel your best.

3.  Eating Salt - Do you add salt to your meals?  If so, you are probably eating too much.  There is already plenty of salt (aka: sodium) in our foods; mainly in the processed foods that have become popular due to the cost and availability.  Excess amounts of sodium can cause hypertension (high blood pressure), and osteoporosis by increasing calcium excretion.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three US adults has chronically elevated blood pressure, or is taking anti-hypertensive medication.  So next time you reach for the salt container, think twice. Odds are you don't need to add any

Exercise has been proven to help control hypertension. This leads me to my next category.

4.  Exercising - How many minutes per day or per week do you exercise?  Most of us live busy lives, so that is not an excuse for not getting in the necessary amount of exercise.  Did you know as little as 30 minutes per day, 3 times per week at a moderate intensity is all that is needed to help reduce coronary artery disease (CAD) as well as other cardiovascular diseases.  Exercise should be fun, don't look at it as another chore that needs to be done.

Try to be creative with your routine; whether it's dancing, running, cycling, walking, or swimming, make it fun.  If you travel regularly for work and have to stay in hotels, take a TRX with you.  If you sit at a desk for work, get up and go for a walk or run on your lunch break (just remember to change clothes :-).  Exercise helps reduce stress as well.

5.  Sleep - Are you getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night?  According to the CDC, adults should get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night.  You may say to yourself that you can function just fine on only 5 hours of sleep, however, the lack of sleep (and quality sleep) can alter your blood sugar enough to increase your chances of developing type-2 diabetes.  A lack of sleep can also increase cortisol levels (causing your body to store stubborn abdominal fat), increase stress levels, and even cause some serious heart-health issues.  Your body and mind need rest.  Wouldn't you rather sleep like a baby?

So if you are now aware that you are lacking in one area or are doing too much of another area, simply make a few changes to your lifestyle and you will soon feel much better.  It starts with baby steps.

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