How To Become The Boss Of Your Body
By Di Westaway | Chief Adventure Chick and Founding Director at Wild Women On Top
Mostly, I feel like I’m totally the boss of my body. It does everything I ask it to, gives me energy, clarity, pleasure and calm, doesn’t hurt or feel sluggish, stagnant or stale.
Sometimes, though, it’s the opposite. I feel like my body is the boss of me. It hurts, creaks and groans, it feels full or lethargic, I feel tired and run down, out of sorts.
At this time of year, it’s pretty normal to feel like your body has the upper hand. Healthy habits might have taken a backseat as the nights get colder you find yourself ditching your evening workout for a night on the couch with some yummy comfort foods.
So, what can we do? How can we cultivate more energy and vitality? How can we swing back into our good habits without deprivation or diets?
We need to become the boss of our bodies so we can get the most out of life. And we need to become the boss of our bodies so we can be role models for our daughters, sons, friends and families. Because let’s face it ladies, research shows that we are the main health influencers in the community and our country needs us.
To help you have a healthier, happier winter, we’ve selected our top ten scientifically backed tips for being boss of your body. Try these for the next 10 days and see how it makes you feel.
Move for at least 15 minutes a day
Most of us don’t realise just how much movement our techno lifestyle has taken away. Fifty years ago, the average woman walked 15km a day more than she does now. 15km! Now we struggle to get our 10,000 steps in. So girls, get outside every day and walk for at least 15 minutes so it becomes a habit. Consistency is king (or perhaps queen!).
Puff for just five minutes a day
Don’t groan. It’s not as hard as you think. All you have to do is five minutes a day of going up. That means walk up stairs every time you see them. Don’t take the lift, don’t take the escalator, don’t take the travellator, don’t take the detour because its flat. Just go up. Do it every day – just a little bit every day.
Lift heavy things for five minutes a day
Your body is a heavy thing so lifting it will strengthen your legs, lifting the shopping will strengthen your upper body and switching your core on will strengthen your tummy and torso at the same time. Don’t ask your partner, son or the nearest bloke to do it. You’ve got this, girl. Just lift a little every day. See lifting as an opportunity, not a chore.
Eat delicious nutritious food
The secret is to eat real food, mostly plants, not too much. Try shopping at the market, cooking at home and avoiding anything that comes in a packet. If you really listen to it, you’ll usually find your body knows what it needs (rather than what your brain – or tastebuds – want!)
Connect with your friends and family
Being social is a key to health and happiness so by combining friends with fun physical activity, you’ll find it easier to stick to this keystone habit. Diarise a walk or hike with your girlfriends twice a week.
Plan your week and get a routine
We’re all too busy to fit everything in, so plan your fitness on Sunday night. Write it down, invite friends to join you and book it in. If you like walking, Pilates, yoga, swimming, climbing, biking, hiking or dancing, schedule it regularly and make it happen.
Sleep deep for eight hours
There’s tons of research showing sleep helps us heal, rejuvenate and de-stress. The experts say that sleeping for eight hours is a must and napping is good so ditch the guilt and just do it.
Listen to your body
A downside of being active is that your muscles sometimes tighten, get out of whack or wear out. So when something hurts, don’t ignore it. Listen to your body and take action. The best remedy might be rest, cross training, massage or stretching. If that fails, consult an expert. It will cost you in cash but it’s one of the best investments you can make. And remember, you’re the boss of your body. You know its history, how it feels and how you want it to feel, so ask questions, learn from the experts and take responsibility for your healing.
Having something to look forward to is one of the cornerstones of happiness and when it involves a physical challenge, your body wins as well. Book in a mini adventure like a camping weekend, a maxi adventure like a week in the wild, or a mega adventure like a mountain climb or endurance challenge.
Chill out and recover
Your recovery might be meditation, yin yoga, watching Netflix, reading a book, cooking, strolling, going to the movies, theatre or concerts or maybe its just hanging out with friends watching the sunset. Chill time won’t happen unless you make time for it, so put it on your plan and squeeze it in, every week.