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A Surprisingly Easy Way to Boost Your Overall Health

Routine_400It’s simple: just put yourself on a schedule. Here’s why your body will thrive if you stick to a regular, consistent routine for sleeping, eating, exercising, and pill-taking. From A Short Guide to a Long Life.

Your body loves predictability. Did you get up today at the same time as yesterday? Will you eat your next meal at roughly the same time you ate that meal yesterday? One of the best ways of reducing stress on your body and keeping its preferred, balanced state of being (homeostasis) is to maintain a regular, consistent routine on a daily basis, 365 days a year, to the best of your ability. Yes, regardless of weekends, holidays, social demands, late nights at the office, and other body-busting, schedule-disrupting events.

The four chief areas where you can make great strides in honoring your body’s homeostasis are your sleep-wake cycles, eating times, periods of physical activity, and schedule for taking any prescribed medications. Just as your body aches for a consistent sleep schedule, it also craves a regular eating routine. If you were to step into a body that’s been deprived of its expectation of eating lunch at noon, for example, you’d witness biological activities going on that would likely surprise you. Your body won’t just show signs of hunger; it will also experience a surge in cortisol, the stress hormone that tells your body to hold tightly to fat and to conserve energy. In other words, if you don’t eat when your body anticipates food, it will sabotage your efforts to lose or maintain an ideal weight.

By the same token, don’t throw a wrench into that finely tuned body of yours by sporadic snacking or eating randomly when you’re not hungry just to counteract an emotional state such as boredom, loneliness, or depression. If you don’t normally snack at 3:00 p.m. every single day, then don’t reach for that apple fritter to lift your late-afternoon lull. But if you need an afternoon snack, have it at a regular time. And go for a handful of nuts, a piece of whole fruit, veggies dipped in hummus, or some cheese and crackers rather than the processed fried dough.

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