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The Health Trifecta: Sleep, Nutrition, Exercise

We’ve made it through another winter (at least that’s what the calendar tells us). How did you fare? What’s become of those New Year’s resolutions from three months ago?

It never hurts to occasionally remind ourselves of what it takes to enjoy a happy, healthy, and productive life. It starts with the trifecta: Sleep, Nutrition, Exercise.

About sleep

You need it. According to the National Sleep Foundation, if you don’t get enough sleep, your body can’t complete all the phases needed for muscle repair from physical activity, consolidate memories for easy recall, and release hormones that regulate growth and appetite.
Too little sleep leaves you less capable of concentrating, making decisions, and generally getting things done. It leaves you grumpy and more prone to reach for those high-carbohydrate, high-fat foods that pack on the pounds.

Read more about how much sleep you need, how to get enough, and signs you may have a sleep disorder, like sleep apnea.

Another important factor is sleep position and choosing the right pillow. Our Dr. Paradis helps you select the right pillow in this video.

Heart healthy food in shape of heart

About nutrition

We know it’s likely been a rough few weeks: March break with trips to sunny destinations with rich buffets. Easter with those big family dinners and all those treats.
A little indulgence once in a while is good for the soul, but now it’s time to get back on track. The goal should always be to:

  • Eat as little packaged and processed food as possible
  • Get your protein from lean meats, eggs, nuts and seeds, and legumes
  • Eat fresh or flash frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Cut back on the carbohydrates and choose the healthy ones, like whole grains and root vegetables
  • Eat natural fats that haven’t been engineered by man, like olive and coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and from nuts.

Check out our past post on sugar, its evils and all the ways in which it hides in what you eat. Here’s more on fats.

But how much should you eat?

It’s an old joke that you can eat your way through any amount of exercise. The key is to understand how many calories your body burns at rest, your basal metabolic rate (BMR), and have an easy and reliable means to track them. Check out this post on BMR and the benefits of calorie counters like MyFitnessPal.

About exercise

Almost any exercise is good exercise. It’s as simple as that. Moving instead of sitting does a body good. What kind of exercise is best for your condition, goals, and schedule?
Perhaps HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training – is the way for you to go. There are many forms, but the general idea is to do 30-40-second intervals of hard effort, alternating with 15-20 seconds of less intense exercise. For example, combining sprinting with jogging or walking. A workout might range from four to 30 minutes. HIIT is proven to yield big benefits in a relatively short workout.

If HIIT is not for you, maybe the better bet is a less intense class that combines cardio and strength training. We often recommend engaging with a personal trainer (and we can refer you to ones we trust in the Kanata area), at least for a little while, to help you find your groove.
Particularly for those of us approaching middle age, the value of weight training versus cardio alone can’t be overstated. We all naturally lose muscle mass as we age.

Check out Hazeldean Family Chiropractic’s Ultimate Guide to Fitness and Nutrition.

And don’t forget to stretch!

Tight hips? Lower back pain? Sitting all day at work? If you are feeling pain and stiffness, try incorporating these lower body stretches into your daily routine.

Stiff lower neck? Upper back pain? Sitting all day at work with rounded shoulders? Take a look at our upper body stretch guide.

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