Focusing on your health no longer just means diet and exercise. There’s a lot that falls under the health banner these days and incorporating all of these practices into your life allows you to approach your health from a holistic standpoint.
For men, being health-conscious doesn’t have to mean smashing out workouts at the gym seven days a week and actively chasing gains. Instead, implementing a few small daily activities is enough to make you feel the best you can.
“It is extremely important to prioritise health on a daily basis,” Todd Liubinskas, the Lead Trainer for 12WBT’s Blokes Only Program, told TheLatch—. “We are designed to move and designed to move functionally.”
Liubinskas recommends the following four practices, which you should ideally be doing every single day for optimal health.
- Breathing — Taking five minutes to just sit and breathe
- Drinking four to five litres of water
- Moving for at least 30 minutes
- Eating wholesome and nutritious food
“Happiness is the key. We can generate happiness by doing more of what we love, and more of what we are passionate about,” Liubinskas said.
“Prioritising health and wellbeing on a daily basis allows us to focus on the things that matter in life. What works for me is writing down each day what I am thankful for.”
If your health hasn’t been at the top of your priority list for a while (and it’s OK if that’s the case), there are some simple practices you can incorporate into your life. Making your health and wellbeing a priority is also an act of self-care, which we all need a little more of.
Creating a routine will make implementing these changes a little easier and eventually, they’ll just become second nature. Liubinskas recommends starting with these steps:
- Aim for consistent sleep patterns — seven to eight hours each night, and ensure the hours are consistent to create optimal rest
- Drink 400ml to 500ml of water as soon as you wake up. Our bodies are 80% water so we need to restock that water after sleeping for eight hours
- Check-in with your mind each day with meditation or breathing. I normally meditate twice daily for 20 minutes each time
- Reduce your tech talk by making some rules around your phone use. An easy one is no phones allowed during mealtime. Connect with yourself or with the person you’re eating with!
- Reduce your intake of sugar and fat. If you have sugar or fat all through your diet, make an effort to reduce this, daily. You will thank me. It could be as simple as dropping sugar from your coffee as a start, then eventually reducing it from snacks and meals
Simply focusing on diet or exercise isn’t enough to make big changes where your health is concerned. Focusing on all of the smaller sections of your health and wellbeing will have a much greater impact. Liubinskas uses the metaphor of spinning plates and the balance needed to achieve this.
“Have you ever seen a person busking in the street spinning plates? Now imagine someone spinning various plates, each plate representing the following: sleep, nutrition, hydration, family, friends, exercise, fun, breathing, work,” he said.
“There are a fair amount of plates, right? Now the trick is to keep spinning each plate so it doesn’t fall over and break. We can think of the ‘force’ that’s spinning the plates as the ‘time’ we put into each category.
“It’s all about how we balance time and prioritise energy into each area. Every so often, we need to step back and check that what we have spinning is what we want in our life. We will know when the balance is right because the plates will almost spin themselves.”
One of these plates is movement. Finding the time to exercise can be tough and if you haven’t moved your body in a while, it can also feel daunting. While committing yourself to exercise is an important part of the holistic approach to health, it doesn’t have to be a chore.
“Find a buddy that you can share the experience with,” Liubinskas said. “The main reason for this is so you can be accountable to someone else other than yourself. Give yourself a target of moving for 30 minutes, three days a week. For example, walking to the coffee shop and back with a mate.”
It also doesn’t have to be complicated either, says Liubinskas, you just need to find a way to make exercise work for you.
“Go for walking meetings. If you are on the phone a lot, walk the block while you take the phone meeting,” he said. “Opt to walk or run the block of your street before breakfast or just before a meal.
“Otherwise, if you are stuck for ideas, jump onto @12wbt Instagram or Facebook for free 25 minute workouts each week with Michelle [Bridges] and I. You can also check out our new 12WBT Blokes Only program which is ideal for males who haven’t exercised in a very long time (or ever).”
Todd Liubinskas is the Lead Trainer for 12WBT’s Blokes Only Program.