There are many ways to adopt a routine and a few for failing to incorporate a health or fitness routine into one’s life. If you are like most people, you’ve likely begun and dropped countless health or fitness routines. For me, it’s been running, jogging, hiking, yoga, weight-lifting, etc. Two health and fitness practices that have stuck in my life are hiking and daily yoga practice.
In the pursuit of acquiring a healthier lifestyle and optimizing wellness, here are 7 Principles for Embedding a New Health or Fitness Routine.
A slowly tapering practiced habit sticks for life. This means start gently, slowly build, and persist in practicing.
One must not skip practice. If a daily practice is missed for any reason, just do it the next day and don’t get hung up over missing a session.
One must daily make a note of their practice. The Seinfeld Method of not breaking the “chain” of habit is a sound one. Either using a digital prompt – like a task app on a smart device or computer – or an old-fashioned calendar on which a simple note or checkmark is made, every day note one’s practice. A small notebook for logging practice works quite well.
One must share with others to socially contract the plan, progress, and outcome of practice. This emphasizes a commitment to actually doing the work of the practice and heightens the likelihood of practicing. This is an excellent use of social media and of personal networks of friends or family.
One must establish, then broaden, and then deepen one’s practice. First things first: just start doing it and keep doing it, then broaden aspects of the health and fitness routine, and then deepen the practice. An example here is performing the Warrior Pose II (Virabhadrasana II): first, carefully imitate the posture (called an asana in yoga) and establish it in one’s daily life, then slowly learn the technique from the feet upward and broaden the practice, and then deepen the practice by adding correct breathing (called pranayama in yoga).
One must be mindful during and about one’s practice. Mindfulness means being present in the practice or fully aware
and conscious of one’s thoughts and movements about the practice when not performing it. This means holding and practicing affirming or positive thoughts about it, as in mentally declaring that one will hike or walk or do yoga at such-and-such a time, and train one’s thoughts to focus on the practice while doing it. Although this sounds easy, some individuals in our hurry-hurry-hurry world find this challenging. The best counsel here is practice mindfulness, read about it, and practice more.
One must continue to acquire new knowledge and skills. It is well documented that fitness routines must be shaken up and changed, otherwise one’s mind becomes bored and tends to avoid practicing. After establishing, broadening, and deepening one’s practice, the next logical step is to continue enhancing the practice.
The idea here is to select a health or fitness method, learn about it, practice it, and embed it into one’s life. Persistence is key and these principles will aid in elevating one’s wellness and health.
As Virgil declared: Fortune sides with him who dares. So, dare to start and dare to embed a new health or fitness routine.
Everyone in the world of modern communication has heard about H1N1 influenza or the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1920. To protect one’s health in these circumstances and in everyday living, changes in personal hygienic behaviors will promote respiratory health.
Humans have reason to fear and prepare for influenza pandemics, especially given that an estimated 50 to 100 million people died in the Spanish Flu pandemic, a total equal to one third of the European population. Many deaths were from secondary illnesses, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis, which is instructive.
There are simple behaviors that can keep one from getting these illnesses or minimize one’s chances of getting them. If adopted these habits can effectively avoid or minimize community-acquired illnesses throughout the year. With practice, nearly all who do will see a significant drop in their colds and other respiratory illnesses. As well, these are highly effective methods for improving one’s general fitness and health.
HERE’S HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR RESPIRATORY HEALTH
For one day, pay attention to all of the surfaces your hands touch in public settings: bathrooms, buses or trains, workplace surfaces, etc. Remind yourself of the people who have also touched these surfaces and of the poor hand hygiene of many people.
Improve your hand hygiene, which consists of both handwashing and hand sanitizing. Hand SANITIZERS remove or kill bacteria, but not viruses: this is a common misunderstanding. HANDWASHING removes bacteria, viruses, and physical soiling from hands. Thorough handwashing is always the preferred method.
Sneeze or cough into your inner elbow, which covers and contains your coughed secretions and keeps material from your hands.
Minimize touching your face unless your hands have been recently washed.
Knuckle it: use your knuckles on keypads for ATMs or other access: do not use your fingertips.
If you must use a public pen for a signature, promptly sanitize your hands after using it.
Do not touch straps, poles, or any part of a bus or train when commuting. If you must steady or reposition yourself, on exiting the vehicle immediately sanitize your hands and then wash your hands at your next opportunity.
Always wash your hands when you return home (see handwashing technique below).
Proper use of hand sanitizers means that you cover your hands with enough solution to briskly rub over the hands, then allow them to air dry. Hand sanitizers are not meant to be a substitute for handwashing, but are used when handwashing is not convenient or unwarranted. Handwashing is a better method of hygiene than is hand sanitizing. Handwashing should always be used when one has soiled hands. The best practice is to WASH YOUR HANDS more often.
PROPER HANDWASHING includes:
turn on faucet and wet dirty hands with water first (soap is too harsh on your skin unless first diluted)
apply enough soap to adequately wash hands
wash all surfaces of hands briskly and thoroughly: palms, finger tips, back of hands, wrists, and between fingers
wash all hand surfaces by rubbing vigorously with soap and water for 15-20 seconds: sing “Happy Birthday” or “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” 3 times to yourself until you have learned the proper length of time
turn off faucet with paper towel or use your elbow if towels are unavailable
dry hands thoroughly
do not touch surfaces or door handles when you exit the bathroom: instead, use a paper towel, your coat, or your foot
if you handwash frequently, consider using a non-scented lotion after handwashing to maintain skin integrity, as frequent use of soaps can cause micro-breaks in the skin of the hands and these can provide access to bacteria or viruses. Once you begin to practice these simple methods, you may notice others’ lack of proper hand hygiene, especially when using public facilities. You may also be surprised by a drop in colds or other community-acquired infections and illnesses.
Simple practices support one’s general health – and the health of the community. Choose to improve your hand hygiene and elevate your wellness.