Alright, here’s the deal: your health is important. It’s super important. It’s so important that it affects all other areas of your life. And I think this is something we all know, but unfortunately, tend to ignore at times (guilty as charged).
Let me explain a little why it is that important. Having healthy habits (such as a balanced diet and regular exercise) has proven benefits on your mood (stress relief), energy, sleeping habits and mental performance. All of which will help you to be more productive and achieve your goals!
The importance of physical activity
Regarding regular exercise, studies show that the production of endorphins (feel good hormones) are stimulated by physical activity. Even more so, on a short term, it helps decrease stress and deal with its negative consequences by reducing adrenaline and cortisol in your body. Exercise also increases your energy levels as your cardiovascular system works more efficiently and oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your tissues easier. Lastly, falling asleep will become easier and the quality of your sleep will improve with regular workouts.
Nutrition and the blood sugar rollercoaster
A well balanced diet seems to have a very similar effect on your body. The biggest effect will be on your blood sugar levels as they have a considerable influence on your energy levels and your mental functions. Sugary and fatty foods tend to spike your blood sugar levels for a short amount of time, after which an inevitable crash will happen. The spike will give you a short energy boost, but once your blood sugar levels drop again, so will your energy. This will make you more susceptible to cravings, starting this cycle all over and causing a rollercoaster in your blood sugar levels and energy throughout the day.
Controlling your blood sugar levels by eating more complex foods with a low glycemic index (slow sugars) will stabilize your energy levels throughout the day. In the short term, balanced blood sugar levels will also increase your mental clarity and help you focus on your tasks. Our brains use 20% of our total energy resources and need very specific nutrient to function properly (such as Omega 3 fatty acids).
How a healthier lifestyle benefits me
Now all this scientific talk may sound as nonsense to you. However, I can say I have noticed many of these benefits already myself. Whenever I get back from work and feel mentally/physically exhausted but decide to still go inline skating or dancing, I feel much better afterwards. I can focus again and I always sleep much better. Regarding my eating habits, I notice a lot of difference when I eat healthy or not. When I eat a lot of sugary foods (like I have been doing recently with all the Easter chocolates), I tend to have much more swings in my energy levels. I wake up still feeling pretty tired and never really feel very fit throughout the day. However, when I start my day off with a healthy and nutritious breakfast, I generally have less issues with staying focused and don’t have many cravings for unhealthy food during the rest of the day.
The biggest problem for me is sugar. When I have these periods where I eat a lot of foods that are high on sugar, I tend to get a small sugar addiction, which then reinforces the bad habit and the rollercoaster effect like I explained above. I’m not saying you should never eat chocolate or other sugary foods, just make sure that at least 80% of your intake is healthy and balanced. If the “treats” are only occasionally and combined with a well balanced diet, the risk of getting addicted is much smaller. This is something I’m still working on too (not easy though when you’re working at a cookie/donut factor) 😉
I’m sure you already have experienced some of these things yourself and you know just how important it is to have this healthy lifestyle. Now seeing all of this, it’s time to get to the good part, how to easily improve your health! Unfortunately though, I still suck at this. But no worries, seeing how important it is, I’ve brought in the big guns. Be ready to get some help from experts!
How you can develop healthier habits
My next post will be written by Anton (Tigo) Bates, certified personal trainer and specialist in sports therapy. He will be happy to give you all the ins and outs on how to have a healthy exercise routine that will still allow you to have plenty of time to work on your other goals. As we all have busy lives, finding a workout routine that suits you and your busy schedule will help you in forming new, healthier habits! Stay tuned for more, and in the meantime, be sure to check out his website or his Instagram page (for the women who’d like to drool over his divine body)!
Now exercise alone won’t do the trick. As stated above, nutrition is another major part of improving your health. Do you want to find out how a balanced diet can help you with this? Then my dear friend Djasminca comes to the rescue! Having formed new habits herself for quite some time now, she’s the perfect person to share her experiences in becoming more body positive with the help of a healthy diet! Expect a blog post with many practical tips soon! Be sure to subscribe below if you want to stay updated.
Both will have a lot of information and might seem daunting at first. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is not easy (trust me, I know this), and it will require a change of mindset! However, as with anything, I recommend to focus on the progress, start with small steps and be consistent so that in time, these will become habits!
And of course, as always, don’t forget to make it happen!