A Health Routine that Works
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
The past few months, I have been focusing on my own health improvement without directly realizing it. Mostly due to the pandemic shutdown, I was forced to transform my schedule into something that I controlled and managed. Pre-shutdown, I became pretty good at following my routine: work, gym, bed (essentially). As we all know, gyms being closed really funked out a dedicated gym schedule if you followed one.
If you know me, you know I have been a wearing my Fitbit (multiple versions) since 2012. Yes, almost 9 years. I can't get myself to even consider changing to anything newer because my Fitbit and the Fitbit app has been a part of my life, well most of my teenage/young adult life. This app 100% was a guide in helping me realize a few things I should focus on when I had no other structure in my life to rely on. There's a few things that I have put an emphasis on that have truthfully transformed my life.
Dedicated Fitness Days
I've always wanted to be a runner, but I never wanted to put in the work to get there. Running long distances and picking up your pace takes a LOT of time and energy. It doesn't happen overnight and requires dedication. With nothing help to do, I threw myself into becoming a runner. Following interval running programs, I used the Couch to 5K app, I hit my mark of running a 5k. I felt so accomplished!
To keep up with it, I branded my Wednesdays as "5K Wednesdays" to hold myself accountable to running at least 3.1 miles every week. As long as it feels good for my body, I try to run a 5K+ during the weekend. This is something I practice every week. What I like about it is that among the classes I am taking now, this is something that only takes myself that I can do on my time. Over time, I have been able to increase the amount of activity I do daily/weekly by designating a variety of activities on different days of the week, every week.
I highly encourage you to pick a challenging activity and set an intention to do it that day of the week, every week. Give yourself some structure with it. Don't overdo it... build it slowly into your routine so you don't get burnt out too quickly.
Making a Fitness Checklist
My weeks start on Mondays. On Sundays, I take time to make my upcoming fitness list. Listing Monday-Sunday with a fitness intention for each day. Once completed, I will fill in my doodling square with a fun color. I use a journal to keep my fitness intentions and weekly to-dos for the week, this is just a preview of my upcoming fitness intentions:
Daily Water Intake
Drink that water! Seriously. I love food: sweet, salty, savory, all of it. I have days where my nutrition is pretty darn good and other days where it is the worst. I understand staying hydrated is always important. Let me tell you, days where I feel sluggish, whether it is my generally energy or maybe I just ate heavy meals - as long as I have drank my water I wake up the next day feeling great.
How much water do you think you need to drink? I'm no expert, but I try to drink a gallon. I find myself drinking between 96-130 oz. of water daily. Days where I drink more are usually my more active days, which makes sense. If you struggle with anything in this post but consider focusing on one thing moving forward, it's this!
Make Sleep a Priority
You know the drill. Have a consistent bed time and wake up time, no electronics, yada yada yada. It doesn't seem like a lot but my target sleep time is between 5-6 hours and I'll be the first to tell you I wake up with my phone next to my face because I am on it before bed. It's hard... maybe I am the only person that doesn't make putting your phone away part of a desired bed time routine... but you do you. A few things I do to help me have a better night's sleep are keeping a checklist by my bed to get things off the brain that I need to do, having a clean room, wearing cozy pajamas or your favorite oversized shirt, and having some tea before bed. Also, change your sheets weekly! There is nothing better than crispy clean sheets. It makes me feel comfortable. Whatever you do, just have a winding down routine - and it will look different for everyone.
Similar but different to the checklist, write down your accomplishments. The amounts of water you drink, amount of days you were active, or anything you did that you are proud of. You don't need to keep track of things that did not go as planned, but take time to reflect and acknowledge the things that went right. It's tedious to build this into your routine, but I can't speak enough of it. It WORKS. If this is somewhat too expressive for you - it is hard for people to put down things like this. Get an app that helps you track your exercise, water, or sleep.