5 Habits to Ditch If You Want to Be Healthy & Fit

happiness health wellness
5 Habits to Ditch If You Want to be Healthy & Fit at the Blog at YogiAlicia.com

“If you don’t make time for your health today, health may not make time for you tomorrow.” 

~ Alicia Saldenha, PhD


Hi OMie,

How are you feeling these days? What grade would you give your health or your fitness? An A? An A+? Or would you give yourself a D, E, or F?

We’d all like to award ourselves an A or higher, right? But that grade often seems out of reach, and worse yet during a pandemic.

Yet, it’s easier to attain than you think. The difficulty comes only from not knowing the right steps to take. Once you’ve got that down, the rest is a breeze.

Before getting into the right steps, however, we need to talk about the wrong ones. 🙅🏽‍♀️

The biggest obstacles to your health and fitness tend to be the bad habits you employ every day. You might even believe some of them to be good for you. But they’re not. And without getting rid of them, you’ll dilute or undo the positive effects of any healthy practices you adopt.

So let’s get rid of these pesky problems once and for all. Shall we?😊(>‿◠)✌



* Spending Too Much Time Indoors

Think of yourself as a plant. 🌱🌺

What do you need to thrive? Water, nutrients, and sunlight. The final factor is just as crucial for the plant as for you.

Staying in the shadows all day, tied to our desks or our sofas, diminishes our mental, emotional, and physical health. It could even be life-threatening.

During the recent pandemic, doctors observed a correlation between mortality and a lack of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, produced in the body in response to exposure to sunlight. ☀️ 

Spending time in nature and exploring the world around you bestows a surprising range of benefits, from improving self-esteem in people with mental illness, boosting physical health, promoting healthy weight-loss, and even reducing the arrest rate of some criminals. Who knew?

Well, the Japanese did, with their cultural reverence for nature and their healing practice of forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. Not only does immersing yourself in nature improve your fitness by giving you an enjoyable physical activity, but studies show significant decreases in blood pressure and stress hormones.

Do you have a balcony or a garden? Stand there for a minute or take a short stroll, drinking in the sunlight, and observing nature around you. Take a short walk after lunch in your neighborhood or at a park. You don’t have to go far or make an immense effort. Just get outdoors more.



* Sitting Too Much

Did you know there is little to no mention of chairs in ancient texts such as the Bible or the works of Homer? It’s not until the 16th century that they appear with more frequency. Our modern sedentary lifestyle is not only a stark contrast to the active lives of our ancestors — but it is actively killing us.

Research suggests we spend about 9.5 hours per day seated. That’s about 75% of our time. Inactive. Inert. Study after study link this inactivity to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and premature death.

Extended sitting weakens our muscle and bone tissue, leading to poor posture and spinal issues. Small wonder that back pain is the leading cause of disability around the globe. What can we do?

Stand up! Stretch for a minute. Stroll around your apartment, office, or garden. According to one recent study, adding just two minutes of light activity every hour decreased mortality by 33%. That’s incredible news.

Without joining a gym or enrolling in an expensive fitness program, you can increase your health and longevity with a simple two-minute stroll every hour.

Try it today.



* Relying on Unverified Information & Doctor Google

With information literally at our fingertips, it’s easy to turn to Google and other search engines when medical concerns arise. The ability to look up disquieting symptoms as they occur is one of the comforting wonders of the modern world.

While we can gain helpful preliminary information online, we shouldn’t fall into the trap of taking these offerings as a diagnosis. Nor should we be attempting to diagnose ourselves. The best course of action is still to consult your medical professional.

Today, the situation is even worse, with the explosion of blogs, YouTube celebrities, conspiracy theorists with their own podcasts or their own press conferences, disseminating unsubstantiated, unreliable information everywhere.

Relying on the advice of friends or influencers is a sure way to wind up in a world of trouble. Take the 2020 case of dozens of Americans ingesting bleach on the foolhardy, unscientific advice of a noted idiot.

In a global pandemic, access to verified, trustworthy data is crucial to our health and survival. Please speak to your doctor about your health concerns.

Visit reliable medical sites linked to reputable medical schools, such as Harvard Health Publications, Johns Hopkins Health Alerts, or a similar site in your country.



* Keeping Stress Bottled Up

Unless you live in a magical bubble, you can’t avoid stress. The good news is that stress itself is not a bad thing. We need that little kick in the butt, to give us extra energy and adrenalin when faced with an emergency or a challenge, and to alert us to a situation that requires our attention.

Prolonged stress, however, becomes a danger. Left untreated, it leads to a host of health issues and illness, including heart disease, hypertension, a compromised immune system, and unhealthy weight gain. Yes, untreated stress could well be the culprit behind your expanding waistline. And amid a global health crisis, anything that weakens your immunity is a no-no.

The worst move you can make is to keep your stress bottled up. Let it out. Find fun, empowering, positive ways to release your tension, worries, and nervous energy. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Take up a sport.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Buy a hula-hoop and shake your hips.
  • Make some art.
  • Doodle.
  • Sing.
  • Dance.
  • Enjoy yoga.
  • Meditate.
  • Watch a funny movie and laugh.
  • Bake a cake.
  • Play a game.

Whatever you do, make it enjoyable and easy. Watch the tension melt away as your sense of well-being rises.


* Consuming Instead of Creating

Are you an active participant in your life, or a passive taker — a parasite? Parasites consume the life force of other organisms to survive. Look at the way we’ve been treating our planet, sucking out the oil, the forests, the plants, destroying ecosystems, and causing giant icebergs to melt.

The same is true at home. With the rise of tech and social media, it’s become the norm to sit and consume, endlessly scrolling, binge-watching, sometimes being armchair critics on current events, but never standing up, taking action, or making a difference.

A happy, healthy life is one that has meaning. Research into health, happiness, and longevity highlights the overwhelming need for a sense of self-worth and purpose. Those who live the longest are the ones who engage with others, develop relationships, make a difference in the lives of the people around them.

Whether it be having a simple conversation, helping someone, making art, planting a garden, singing, writing a poem, or a daily journal, playing an actual role adds value to your existence.

And this value not only enhances your life but lengthens it.

Instead of reaching for the television remote, how about writing your own story? The next time you feel for a cake, skip the store and bake one yourself. Call a friend or family member and have a genuine conversation. 

Sing a song instead of watching others do it online. It’s not about the size of the action you take. It’s about taking it at all.

Don’t be a parasite. Contribute. Make a difference. Be someone — an artist, an adventurer, a lover, an entrepreneur.

Carpe diem.




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