There are no quick fixes, right? No such thing as a free lunch?
Wrong! Well, sort of. There are some pretty minor lifestyle tweaks that everybody can apply to their daily lives which will translate into some major health benefits. By no means an exhaustive list, these are the hacks that have worked most effectively for me.
1. Workout To Sweating 5 Days Per Week
We know the Super Fit Dad minimum standards for working out – the sessions you can’t miss. But if you have any wiggle room, move more than that: move every goddamn day.
It could be a single 4 minute ‘Tabata’ every day: squats and push-ups. Since you managed to slope off for 4 minutes, why not push the envelope and do a couple of Tabatas? Benefits abound: mind, body, soul, love-life.
[Tabata: The formula for a Tabata workout is simple: 20 seconds of all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest x 8 (so 4 minutes all up). Again, just because it sounds simple and short, don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s easy. After each 4 minute Tabata, rest for 1 minute and go again. So 12 minutes will give you 3 Tabatas, a sheen of proud perspiration and some heavy breathing.]
The intent of this routine is to pack as many repetitions as possible into your 8 sets of 20-second work periods. As a result, when the sixth effort rolls around, your muscles will be filled with lactic acid, making a simple exercise like lunges more difficult that you could’ve imagined.
Start by alternating squats and push-ups. Then add whatever you exercises you like. Mountain climbers, sit-ups, burpees, jumping squats work well.
2. Walk Everywhere
This is obvious, right? Well then do it. Take the stairs rather than the lift, walk rather than drive. Even better, run. Walk the dog until he can’t walk any more and you have to carry him up the hill or put him in the pram with the baby. Your body will thank you for it, especially your back who just loves being mobile and dynamic.
3. Green Smoothie For Breakfast
For me this is the big one. Every morning I throw a bunch of stuff into my jug and stick-blend it for a minute or two. I drink half and pop the other half in the fridge or take it to work. By doing this I’ve alkalised my body, made inroads into my daily fruit and vegetable consumption, fuelled my body with nutrients and given myself a psychological kick-start into the day.
My go-to recipe is a 10 ingredient extravaganza:
banana, avocado, celery, apple,
spinach, chia seeds, frozen berries,
almond milk, Sun Warrior protein, ice
But the beauty of this is that you can use any combination of ingredients to kick-start the day full of goodness. Possible substitutes include: oats, cucumber, pear, kale, coconut oil, coconut water, super greens powder, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice…the list could go on and on.
4. Take Magnesium Before Bed
They say that magnesium relaxes muscles and chills you out. I’m sure there’s some kind of scientific explanation behind all of this. But, to be honest, I don’t really care. I sleep tons better if I’ve taken my daily “maggers”. That’s all I need to know.
5. 5-10 Minutes Of Mobility / Stretching Per Day
If you’re a desk-jockey like me, chances are your back doesn’t like it very much. Your shoulders will be the same. Ditto your hips and your neck.
A little stretching routine during the day or before bed can work wonders in undoing knots and tension all over your body. Pay particular attention to opening up your hips, groin, and thoracic spine.
Another thing you should absolutely consider is investing in a foam roller. These cylinders of terror are the next best thing to a sports massage when it comes to delving into sore spots.
I’ll post a routine of my favourite stretches soon.
6. Avoid Sitting Wherever Possible
I forget where I read this, it may have come from Supple Leopard, but in countries where they don’t sit down to work, eat, take a crap, there is virtually zero incidence of hip degeneration and much lower rates of lower back problems. Seems like Tim Cook was right.
I just got a new desk at work that comes with hydraulics and I can crank that baby up to standing position.
If you don’t have one of these gizmos, be creative in findings ways to stand up more.
That’s it. I reckon if you’re not doing these already, you could be doing at least 3 of them within 24 hours.
That’s 3 new habits started in less than 24 hours. It’s up to you.