To end well, you must begin well. It’s time to focus on the healthy habits that will get you through the day – and the rest of your life, as healthy and happy as possible. Small daily habits can both motivate and boost benefits from your workout routine.
One of the most important things you can do for every aspect of your life is getting the right amount of sleep. If you are not waking naturally (not at 2 or 3:00 AM), then it’s time to focus on making some changes. The ability to wake naturally starts with going to bed when your body tells you you’re tired. Optimal hormone levels by day happen with the right nighttime sleep.
Within minutes of waking, get some sunshine! Direct sunlight is best, but if not possible, get as much indirect light as you can. This practice will enhance your melatonin production in the evening, which helps support sleep. Take your morning coffee or tea outside – or sit for some quiet meditation on your patio.
As tempting as it is to do that morning workout right away, wait an hour after you rise to exercise. That wait protects the disks in your back. Any exercise (including the stretching you may have been taught to do before you get out of bed) can be dangerous. Bending, lifting, and twisting movements (BLTs) can be devastating. Even doing gentler exercises like yoga, pilates, and vigorous walking puts you at risk. Core exercises? Don’t even let it cross your mind. If you feel stiff in the morning, simply tighten and release muscles throughout your body. After rising from bed, your discs are fully hydrated, so stresses on the spine are three times higher than they would be a few hours later. Within an hour of being upright, 90% of the extra fluid dissipates, and exercising is safer.
Start your day with a large glass of water with either fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, before you drink anything else. Overnight, your body gets dehydrated (especially if you avoid water before bed to save on nightly trips to the bathroom). Adding lemon to your water improves your pH level, gives your digestive system a boost, and supports your liver. By creating a more alkaline pH as opposed to acidic, you have a better chance to thrive. Diseases love an acidic environment. If you’re under stress (who isn’t?!), healthy habits like this can create a happy internal environment. Squeeze half a fresh lemon or add 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of pure, filtered water. Drink up!
While men can do intervals later in the day, for us women over 50, earlier is the better practice. It will boost your fat-burning potential, enhance rather than interfere with your ability to sleep, and offset your body’s newfound ability to store belly fat. A morning workout that includes intense intervals and or intense weight training boosts your energy, cognitive function, and fat burning all day long.
Make the first meal of the day high protein, it will improve the choices you make for your next meal. Add high fiber foods to that same meal and you’ll have energy and no growling stomach to distract you later – and less fat storage and greater fat burning. Smoothies are a great way to get that protein and one of the healthy habits that can change your outlook, and you can incorporate a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, or proteins into any smoothie to make it a burst of flavor and nutrition to start the day off right.
It’s been found that caffeine before a morning workout can boost your fat burning success. However, one rule of thumb to contemplate is no caffeine after 10:00 AM. Start off your day with a cup of joe, if you desire, but leaving it alone for the latter part of the day may improve your gut health and your sleep. Substitute soda? Nope. There is never a good time for soda. There is zero health benefit from soda and many health risks associated with soda consumption. Instead, wean off those pops with sparkling water, or infuse your water with fruit. Lemonade – made with fresh-squeezed lemon, water, and Stevia – is a great option as well.
Wait at least 60 minutes after an intense morning workout to eat a high-quality protein meal. There is a blunting effect for older adults immediately after exercise that prevents muscle protein synthesis from occurring. The best time to eat a high protein meal is 90 minutes after intense exercise. The most common mistakes women make around exercise are eating too little, eating the wrong thing, or timing it wrong.
Take a multi-vitamin delivered in at least two doses over the course of the day. It should be formulated for optimal absorption and low competition. Those micronutrients apparently fight for a spot to land and there are only so many receptor sites. All kinds of habits – even good ones like exercise – deplete our micronutrients. Prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs also deplete us of micronutrients. A liquid vitamin or a powdered variety that’s stirred into liquid could increase your ability to absorb all the goodness you need from your foods. Cravings, lack of sleep, and belly fat might be the result of missing micronutrients.
You have two chances every day to put positive messages in your head. Spend time in the first hour after waking, and the last hour before bed with positive thoughts, meditation, or journaling. You’re in a hypnotic state during those times and your creativity is highest. While too much light before bed, electronics, and unhealthy practices can be toxic, so can thoughts. Purge them. What a simple, affordable way to change your life and adopt healthy habits every day!
This post is an excerpt from Hot, Not Bothered: 99 Flips for Trimmer, Slimmer, Fitter, Faster.
It’s always more fun to start new habits (especially healthy habits) with some bright, shiny new equipment, so take a look below and see if anything seems especially “motivational or “inspiring.”
MAMI WATA Fruit Infuser Water Bottle, $21.97
Glacce Crystal Elixir Water Bottle, $80
Head to the gym or studio in these super soft and comfortable yoga pants and tops.
High-Waist Vapor Legging, $128
Swift Speed High-Rise Crop 21, $118
Women’s UA Knockout Mesh Back Tank, $35
Keep organized with your work outs with this Lilly lady notebook. The large agenda gives you the tools you need to stay on top of it all.
2020-2021 Large Agenda – 17 Month, $30
Or, give this inspiring title your attention each morning and you’ll be ready to face the world.
Morning Affirmations – by Jennifer Williamson (Hardcover), $13.49
Staying Fit After 50: 6 Things Healthy Women Consistently Do
9 Heart-Healthy Foods that Protect Against Heart Disease