Changing your lifestyle means emphasizing quality repetition, practice, and intention as key ingredients to successfully healing your mind and body. This means without restructuring your lifestyle to adopt to training goals, one will often suffer the consequences: burnout, over-training, sleep problems, injury, and nutritional deficiencies. By emphasizing specific areas in your life that often go overlooked you can drastically change your health and performance outcomes.
Adopt a whole-foods diet: Eat whole natural foods free from processing and artificial ingredients. Free your body from toxins, inflammation, and injury through changing what you eat. How can an injury fully recover if your body is already inflammed from food? We must stop thinking about food only affecting our digestion. Food affects immunity, brain function, myofascial integrity and hydration, nerve conduction, and recovery to name a few. Systemic inflammation beginning with the gut results in a cascade of effects throughout the rest of the body. Joint stiffness and pain, fatigue, poor athletic performance, and mental illness can all stem from nutritional imbalance. In general, consuming whole foods reduces inflammation and allows our bodies to heal from within. To learn specifics about how to eat a whole foods diet based upon our local environment and traditional food preparation, contact our nutritionist Renée.
Walk barefoot: Remove the casts that disable your feet from feeling, responding, and sensing the ground. There are approximately 7,000 nerve endings throughout the foot. Think about how these nerves are not being used when you wear shoes most of the day. And guess what? Walking barefoot at home for an hour or two on a flat surface is not enough to undo the time you’ve been wearing shoes during the day. It takes a variable, challenging environment to activate the foot muscles, stretch the myofascia, and create a strong natural foot. Walking in grass, sand, and soil will also introduce the earth’s electromagnetic field which can help rid your body of inflammation!
Limit chair time: One workout a day cannot fully reverse 8 hours of sitting at a 90-degree hip-flexed position. It’s frustrating when your work and travel revolves around the chair, but your body, mind, and spirit will thank you if you can limit your sitting time. Standing desks are becoming more accessible. Add in time throughout the day to walk (barefoot), sit in primal postures on the floor (check out my ebook here), and move your head and eyes away from your static screen.
Meditate: Taking the time for a mental break is one of the best activities you can do for your entire system. Get rid of the idea that you need to have absolutely no thoughts during meditation. Instead, draw your awareness inward by focusing on your breathing, count your inhales and exhales, or try to picture one idea in your mind’s eye. There are several forms of meditation, but I have found the best way to start is to get into a comfortable position, sitting or lying down, and to merely witness your breath. Resist the urge to control or alter it. You are a watching, listening, and becoming in-tune with your body, breathing, heart rate, and thought-life. This can be scary for a many of us! Taking the time to slow down and get to know yourself is not easy, but is worth every minute.
Rest: Quality rest time is an integral part of any training/health program. Rest days help our tissues heal, our minds focus on other aspects of our lives, and give us a chance to alter our training program if needed based upon our reaction; soreness, pain, energy levels, etc. Rest can be active. By rest I DO NOT mean be a couch potato all day long! Instead, try walking, tai chi, gentle yoga, sitting on the floor, or other hobbies that allow you to explore your creative nature. Meditation is also one of the best forms of rest.
Spend time in nature: The natural world offers healing powers beyond our own and can change our physiology, mental energy, and sense of purpose. Experiencing a larger force than yourself will transform you if you’re ready to receive it. Fresh air, the sounds, and smells of nature turn on our senses and provide a refuge from the human-made synthetic environment we are used to. Get outside regardless of the season. Invest in clothing and gear so you can get out in the snow, wind, water, sand, and mud.