|

Year of Wellness: Finding Balance in Physical Wellness

Top 5 Tips for Enhanced Physical Wellness

Chat GPT to me today: “Are you tired of feeling like a wilted lettuce leaf in a world full of vibrant veggies?”

Yes, Chat GPT, yes I am. 🤣

If you also resonate with this, you are in the right place! Today we are covering my top tips about physical wellness from morning hikes to getting a good night’s rest. So, grab your water bottles, and let’s get started.

As a note: The content of this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet, exercise, medication, or other health-related routines.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

1. Regular Movement

Notice I said Movement and not exercise? There is a reason why. Although exercise can be very beneficial, studies show that regular movement in your day is actually more important than an hour at the gym, if the rest of your time is spent sedentary1. In one recent study, reducing sedentary time by one hour per day was linked to a 26% lower risk of heart disease. I am not suggesting that you cut out that gym time. But, let’s discuss movement in a way that is going to work best for you!

So, what do I mean by regular movement? This can include anything that is more than sitting in one place. And, should be done multiple times a day. The beauty of regular movement lies in its versatility. You can tailor it to suit your preferences and lifestyle. If you have a desk job, try setting a timer to walk around or stretch at your desk for a few minutes every hour. 

When looking at exercise specifically, what should that look like? This will be different for everyone. However, a good goal is to try to aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity cardio and at least 2 days a week of strength training2. Not a fan of the gym? Take a hike. No, literally take a hike. What I mean is that you can incorporate anything you would do for regular movement and level it up to get the additional cardiovascular or strength training benefits. 

Want more insight into what this may look like for you? Check out my recommendations to help you get more movement in your day.

2. Restful Sleep

“You can sleep when you are dead.” This is the actual motto I used to live by. Throughout college and a few years following, I operated on about 4 hours of sleep nightly. I made up for the lack of sleep with gallons of coffee, working multiple jobs and spending two or more hours in the gym daily. I had goals and wasn’t going to let the lack of sleep stop me…..until it did. My body said hard stop. There are many things that led to my chronic illnesses that I manage today, but this lifestyle was definitely at the top of this list.

When we think about sleep, a lot of us may realize that we become more grouchy and less alert if we don’t have a good night’s sleep. However, it impacts so much more than that. Unfortunately for those of us that like to keep a busy schedule, adequate sleep is non-negotiable when it comes to physical wellness. It’s during those precious hours of shut-eye that our bodies repair and recharge, setting the stage for optimal performance. Check out the graphic below on more of the impacts of adequate sleep!

So how do I make sure I get enough sleep? One of the biggest tips is to create a good morning and evening routine. Want more on how to craft your perfect AM and PM routine? Follow me on Instagram where I will be sharing tips all month long on this! I will also be sharing tips on how else to set yourself up for the perfect night’s rest.

3

3. Adequate Hydration

We all know we should be, but how many of us actually drink enough water? Raise your hand if you’re guilty of forgetting to hydrate throughout the day! Raises hand sheepishly.

How did I change that for myself? Say hello to my current emotional support water bottle. There seems to be a new viral water bottle a few times a year. Queue the Stanley Tumbler. Although I am not a fan of buying into all the trends, I do think it is important to find a water bottle that is sustainable and a best fit for you. Try to find something that is easy to transport and carry with you throughout the day.

But, let’s take a step back. We know we should drink water, but why? Keeping your body adequately hydrated is actually a crucial piece of optimal physical wellness. On top of just avoiding headaches and everything else that dehydration brings, water helps to get rid of wastes, aids in digestion and regulation of body temperature, lubricates your joints, and helps protect your skin, among other benefits4. So, if you didn’t have a water bottle to grab, get one ordered, and drink up!

4. Proper Oral Hygiene

We are taught from an early age to brush our teeth to avoid cavities. But, did you know that oral health impacts so much more than just the health and look of our teeth?

Proper oral hygiene can help reduce your risk of pneumonia, heart-related issues and disease, certain complications in pregnancy, and poor gut health5. Certain bacteria increase our risk of cancer which is more readily found in those that do not practice proper oral hygiene6. Along with that, good gut health is essential for our immune system, digestion, and mental and physical health. There are even some studies that seem to show the link between good oral health and physical fitness and mobility as we age7!

And all we have to do is brush our teeth? At least that is a great start, yes. Here are my recommendations for an ideal oral hygiene routine: 

  1. Brush Morning and Night for two minutes – bonus if you have an electric toothbrush!
  2. Oil Pull in the morning before brushing – I do this daily with unrefined organic coconut oil as it is known to have many potential health benefits.
  3. Floss before brushing 
  4. Tongue scrape after brushing – This will help with bad breath and promote more positive gut bacteria.
  5. Eat a nutrient-dense diet and limit foods that are high in sugar or acidity. Learn more about nutrition here!
  6. Get regular teeth cleanings

5. Stress Management

“Just calm down.” Yep, this is definitely on my list of things not to tell someone when they are upset or stressed about anything. But, hey, here I am essentially telling you the same thing. However, I promise that you will walk away from this feeling prepared and not annoyed. 

First, what does stress have to do with physical wellness? Stress has negative impacts on all aspects of our health. Stress can impair cognition and memory, negatively impact gut health, cause pain and inflammation, disrupt the endocrine system, impact the immune system, and increase fatigue, among others8 9. As stress causes inflammation and disrupts the endocrine system, this opens the body up to an increased risk of chronic ailments and a potential decrease in your body’s ability to be resilient to physical, emotional, or environmental stressors.

Unfortunately for most of us, we cannot just eliminate stress altogether. And, small amounts of stress can still be good for us when not too high or prolonged. So how do we work on reducing and becoming more resilient to stress?

  1. Create a Morning and Evening Routine as addressed above
  2. Reflect on what truly brings you joy or provides benefit in your life. Try to increase those things and reduce the things that don’t fit into this.
  3. Practice Gratitude. The more we practice seeing the good, the more we notice
  4. Take time to pause. Rest, meditate, and use deep breathing exercises.
  5. Spend time in nature and prioritize regular movement.
  6. Ask for help. Whether it be needing help or support from family or friends, or seeking out professional help in a therapeutic setting, allowing help from others is a key to stress reduction

We will go more in-depth on this during May when we cover Emotional Wellness. In the meantime, I provide daily insights on Instagram to help aid in the reduction of stress.

Bonus: Hot and Cold Therapy

Okay, so as much as this is a non-negotiable in my life, I understand there may be some limitations based on location, income, and other factors. So, let me tell you why this falls towards the top of my list and how to incorporate this or alternative options into your routine.

When I refer to hot and cold therapy, my go-to’s are infrared saunas and cold showers. This seems to be the easiest combination that packs the biggest punch. I go to Hotworx as part of my gym routine. They offer different types of isometric and HIIT workouts in infrared saunas so I can do my hot yoga or a quick HIIT session while also getting the benefits of the sauna. Then, I follow it up with a cold shower. I am way more excited about a cold shower after heating up in the sauna.

Infrared saunas have been linked to positive cardiovascular health, better sleep, more relaxation, pain relief, quicker muscle recovery, and immune support, among other benefits10. There is even research that supports the use of infrared saunas to help with endocrine and similar disorders. I linked an article about it here if you want additional on this. When I began to go to Hotworx regularly, many of these benefits were present from day one and it has aided in the acceleration of my progression in my wellness journey. With a monthly bill of under $60, this made the most sense to me as I have unlimited access and it is multi-use. 

Cold Showers also have an array of benefits, including immune support, positive mental health benefits, reduction in inflammation and soreness, pain reduction, and metabolic support. When comparing this to cold plunges, cryotherapy, and other cold therapies, cold showers are the most affordable and most convenient for the benefits!

If something like Hotworx is not financially accessible or available in your location, something as simple as a hot bath with some plain Epsom Salt will still have some of the same benefits on a lesser scale. I also suggest something like a heated rice pack for local pain or stiffness. On the other hand, Cold showers are going to be your cheapest and most accessible option for cold therapy. An ice pack is great to pair with a heating pad to help reduce inflammation and pain as well.

Just like anything, before you make a change or start a new activity, consult your trusted medical professional. Although something like hot and cold therapies have potentially great benefits, they may not be advisable for everyone and your unique situation must be taken into account before trying something new!

Conclusion

After reading this, I hope you feel your potential to be a vibrant veggie rather than a wilted lettuce leaf! In all seriousness, we unpacked a lot of information today. Take a moment to digest and reflect on what you learned and make a plan for what you want to implement to add more balance to your physical wellness. 

What questions do you still have? Let me know what you are excited to try! What do you want me to dive deeper into or would like to see me cover on Instagram? Thank you for dropping by and I hope you have a beautiful rest of your day!

  1. “Why You Should Move — Even Just a Little — throughout the Day.” Harvard Health, 1 Nov. 2020, www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/why-you-should-move-even-just-a-little-throughout-the-day#:~:text=Even%20if%20you%20dedicate%20at%20least%2030%20minutes. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024. ↩︎
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Physical Activity Recommendations by Age Group.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 Mar. 2020, www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/age-chart.html. ↩︎
  3. Summer, Jay. “Eight Health Benefits of Sleep.” Sleep Foundation, Sleep Foundation, 14 Apr. 2022, www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/benefits-of-sleep. ↩︎
  4. Mayo Clinic. “Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic, 14 Oct. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256. ↩︎
  5. “How Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health.” Cleveland Clinic, health.clevelandclinic.org/oral-health-body-connection. ↩︎
  6. Olsen, Ingar, and Kazuhisa Yamazaki. “Can Oral Bacteria Affect the Microbiome of the Gut?” Journal of Oral Microbiology, vol. 11, no. 1, Jan. 2019, p. 1586422, https://doi.org/10.1080/20002297.2019.1586422. ↩︎
  7. Bramantoro, Taufan, et al. “The Impact of Oral Health on Physical Fitness: A Systematic Review.” Heliyon, vol. 6, no. 4, Apr. 2020, p. e03774, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7182722/pdf/main.pdf, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e03774. ↩︎
  8. Yaribeygi, Habib, et al. “The Impact of Stress on Body Function: A Review.” EXCLI Journal, vol. 16, no. 1, 21 July 2017, pp. 1057–1072, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579396/, https://doi.org/10.17179/excli2017-480. ↩︎
  9. Mayo Clinic. “Stress Management.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic, 10 Aug. 2023, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987. ↩︎
  10. “Why Infrared Saunas Are “Cooler” than Traditional Saunas.” Cleveland Clinic, 14 Apr. 2022, health.clevelandclinic.org/infrared-sauna-benefits. ↩︎

Similar Posts

6 Comments

    1. Absolutely! Getting enough rest is so underrated so I am glad that it is one of your non-negotiables! So important! Thank you for stopping by and have a beautiful rest of your week!

    1. Yes! Thank you! I think sometimes we can get so caught up with wording or so focused on the exercise piece of movement that we can forget the rest. ❤️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *