by CJ Hitz January 02, 2020 5 min read
In the nearly 8 years that my wife and I have lived in Colorado Springs, never have we seen the amount of road construction currently taking place. Whether it’s a main road or side street, there’s no part of town missing out on the “fun”. And it’s not just re-paving or patching potholes. Whole lanes are being ripped up with miles of digging in order to replace underground pipes of all varieties.
At first, I thought all the “weed” sales (pot is legal in Colorado) might be producing the influx of tax funds for all this construction. But a running buddy of mine made me aware of a bill that had passed in the last couple years which freed up an enormous amount of funds for these projects.
Turns out the city has a certain amount of time to spend the money. Based on the number of orange cones and “ROAD WORK AHEAD” signs, it looks as though no penny is being spared.
Let’s face it, nothing lasts forever right? Things are bound to break down, not least of which the roads we drive on and the pipes underneath those roads. Everything on this planet requires some level of maintenance. Cars need things like oil changes and new tires. Lawns need watered and mowed. The sawmill I worked at while in college would shut down for maintenance at various times each year. Hiking trails need to be maintained due to deterioration over time.
Our bodies are no different. They need constant attention and maintenance in order to thrive at the highest level. When we neglect things like sleep, hydration and nutrition, our bodies have numerous warning signals in order to get our attention. Even going a few days (ok, maybe 1 day) without showering or brushing our teeth can have less than desirable effects.
I’d like to suggest four ways we can perform body maintenance on a daily basis in order to truly thrive and not just survive in 2020 and beyond.
How about we commit to eating more whole foods as close to their natural form as possible. The less ingredients on the label the better. If we have trouble pronouncing an ingredient, it might be better to put that product back on the shelf. Rather than get too detailed in this brief section, I’d like to keep it simple and suggest one simple thing we can do in order to give our bodies a huge nutritional boost: Try eating a hearty salad once a day. If you can’t quite swing that, try for 5 days a week.
I don’t mean some iceberg lettuce drowned in ranch dressing. Variety is the spice of life. Here’s an example of what I mean by “hearty” salad…
In light of harmful pesticides, I highly recommend buying organic produce. You might pay a little more up front but your body will thank you for it over the course of time.
When it comes to salads, experiment to your heart’s content. Salads are a great opportunity to try new veggies and also introduce your body to different nutrients. I like making mine in a larger bowl where I can easily mix everything up without things flying out. Eat a salad like this daily and you’ll be giving your body plenty of fiber it needs to help bind up waste. This will also help keep the “plumbing” working regularly if you know what I mean.
If you have a desire to improve just about every area of your life from athletic performance and recovery to mental clarity and focus, make sure you’re putting sleep at the top of your priority list. Elite athletes in a wide variety of sports may vary on diet (i.e. vegan, carnivore, keto, vegetarian), training regime, and superstitious habits.
But the one ingredient they all agree on is quality sleep and lots of it. The more REM (rapid eye movement) sleep we can get, the more our bodies release things like human growth hormone (HGH). In the 1950s, Americans averaged 7.8 hours of sleep per night. Today that average is down to 6.8 hours.
That one hour may not seem very significant on the surface. But studies have shown the most quality, healing sleep occurs between the 7th and 9th hour of sleep. This is yet another reason to aim for that 8 hour mark we’ve had drilled into our heads for years.
I’m talking about good old-fashioned H2O. Most people are trying to function in a woefully dehydrated state. This creates brain fog, tight muscles, and joints like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. Hydration is lubrication.
At the minimum, we should be drinking half of our body weight in ounces each and every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking a minimum of 75 ounces of water each day. This number increases when you exercise.
If you’re not already practicing this hydration habit, I challenge you to try it for 3 days and then see how your body feels and responds. Yes, you’re going to pee more but that’s actually a good thing since you’ll be ridding your body of numerous toxins. Our bodies are 60% water. More specifically, our brains and hearts are 73% water and our lungs are 83% water. Drink enough water and your organs will function optimally.
I personally carry my 32oz Nalgene bottle around with me everywhere. If I don’t have it with me, I often forget to drink until I’m feeling really thirsty. At this point, I’m most likely a tad dehydrated. Speaking of water, there’s a fascinating book titled Blue Mind that delves into the science behind why we love being near, in, on, or under water.
We have a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee that we use on rougher mountain roads or during heavy periods of snow here in Colorado. Unfortunately, that poor Jeep tends to sit for longer periods of time in our garage between uses. On a couple occasions this past year, it wouldn’t start due to a drained battery. That’s when I thought it might be a good idea to set a reminder on my phone to take “Olive” (Jeep’s name) out for a quick spin once a week in order to keep her battery charged.
You and I are similar. Our bodies were made to move (more than once a week). I admit, I’ve been guilty of sitting for long periods of time, especially when getting into a nice work flow or simply becoming lost in a good book. Many of you have standing work desks which is a step up from sitting (no pun intended) but then you’re standing in one place for long periods of time. Whether standing or sitting, set an alarm to go off every 30 minutes in order to get your body moving.
This could be a quick walk to the bathroom or around the block. You could also do some pushups, sit-ups, or jumping jacks to get some movement and blood flow. As our chiropractor likes to say, “motion is the lotion!” I’m already assuming that you’re getting 30 minutes or more of regular intentional exercise daily which will help keep your own batteries charged.
If hindsight is 20/20, I’m hoping we look back on the year 2020 as one of our healthiest yet. We’ll be well on our way by putting this simple 4-step maintenance plan into practice.
Eat, Sleep, Drink, Move…and be Merry!
by Dr. David Minkoff
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