Exercise & Diet:
While this aspect has been touched on in other parts of Healthy Buffalo its significance cannot be understated. You do not need to be a fitness or sports buff to reap the rewards of physical fitness. Everyone should get at least thirty minutes of physical fitness every day. For humanity’s entire time spent on Earth, with the exception of the past fifty to a hundred years, it was impossible to go a single day without physical activity. Whether it was hunting and gathering or farming the land, man could not go a single day without extensive physical activity. With the advent of the industrial revolution this all changed. For large swaths of the population there is no longer any aspect of their day that requires physical activity. Wake up from bed, drive to work, sit in an office, drive home, eat dinner, watch TV, and then go to bed. This kind of lifestyle is new to humanity and for whatever its benefits, one thing that is certainly lacking is physical activity. That is why it is more important then ever to make a conscious effort to supplement your lifestyle with at least a small amount of physical fitness every day, doing so will enhance your mood and increase your energy level throughout the day, leaving you a happier more satisfied individual.
Your diet is also very important to your mental well being, providing not just fuel for your body, but fuel for your mind as well. By implementing a healthy diet as described on the nutritional part of Healthy Buffalo you will be much more focused mentally than you would be otherwise. A diet high in refined sugars and carbohydrates will leave you feeling sleepy, tired, and lacking energy. By replacing those simple sugars and refined carbohydrates with a diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy protein sources, you will be much happier and motivated throughout the day.
Without taking time to step back and reflect on your life it is sometimes hard to put this aspect of your health into perspective. The natural tendency is to just go through the paces that life sets out for you. However there are many variables in life that you can control that will reduce the stress in your life. The three things we’ll focus on here are: keeping things in perspective by focusing on the big picture, simplifying your life, and putting yourself in a positive environment.
Without making a conscious effort it is easy to get caught up in the daily grind, stressing about the most insignificant of things. How many times have you gone to the grocery store and seen people flipping out in line because the line is moving to slow? Or how about the abundance of road rage in our society, as if arriving to your destination a minute or two earlier is going to make a fundamental impact on your life. The list could go on forever with people spending so much energy stressing out about the most insignificant things, most of which are beyond their control anyways. There are so many random, ancillary things going on around us all the time that it’s understandable to be consumed by all these things. But it is important not to be. Stay focused on the big picture. Spend your energy worrying not about the small insignificant things, but instead focus on the larger structural things in your life that you have more control over, and remember that it is a great time to be alive. More so now than ever we have the ability to make of our lives exactly what we wish. If you have your health, a decent job, and good friends and family there is really little else to worry about. Don’t sweat the small things and once you do stop focusing on the small things you will be in a better position to focus on the things that do matter.
One thing that will help you focus on the big picture is to simplify your life. Analyze your life and think about the things that are important to you. After you realize the things that are most important to you, focus on those things, while doing what you can to strip away the aspects of your life that either aren’t important to you or don’t contribute to your happiness. This should help you in all aspects of your life, with everything from your finances and leisure time, to your friends and your family. For example, financial stress is a huge factor in many people’s lives. If you laid out all of your expenses on paper and stripped away all the little things that were not important in your life, you could live a lot more comfortable than you realize, while substantially reducing the stress in your life. Look at each aspect of your life this way and focus your time and resources only on the things that are important to you.
The next thing to consider is to make sure you are putting yourself in a positive environment. Again, consider all aspects of your life from your job, your friends, your family, and everything in between. If you have friends that constantly bring you down either by making you feel bad about yourself or by putting you in bad situations, consider whether those are the people you want to surround yourself with. When it comes to employment, make sure you are working in a positive environment. No amount of money can justify working in a negative atmosphere. Make an effort to surround yourself with people and organizations that share your values and outlook on life, because otherwise you will find yourself in a daily struggle that you will never overcome.
This is the one aspect of your life that should be easy to implement, but for many people its significance is not fully appreciated. It takes 7-9 hours a night to fully refresh your body. This time is critical for your body to recover physically and your mind to recharge mentally. Cutting this time short for an extended period will leave you feeling weak and lethargic. In addition to getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night, do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time each night so that your body can develop a healthy sleep pattern and know when to turn off each night and wake up each morning. A sporadic sleep schedule can confuse your body, causing you to toss and turn in bed at night without being able to fall asleep, which will decrease the value of your down time.
A new study conducted at Stanford University found that athletes who had a couple extra hours sleep each night performed one-tenth of a second better in the 40-yard dash than when they performed without the extra sleep, a difference that on the professional level could be worth millions of dollars.
Another study conducted by SRI International, a nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, California found that children who adhered to a strict sleep schedule performed 6 percent higher on vocabulary tests and 7 percent higher on math tests than children that did not adhere to sleep schedules.
By giving your body the proper rest you will find yourself mentally sharper throughout the day, your recovery times will decrease and you will perform better in all athletic aspects of your life.