What to Prioritize
No matter where we are in age, there are always things we can tweak in order to feel better. To improve or simply maintain our health and energy levels as we get older, there are numerous things we need to work on. Once you start digging, it can look like a never-ending list of strategies to implement and it can be overwhelming. Maybe you don’t know where to start or maybe you are not sure at times that you can keep the goals you have set for yourself.
It’s important to keep in mind that only three things are at the foundation of feeling better: adequate sleep, nutrient-dense foods (which implies doing away with processed foods), and enough exercise/movement throughout the day. These are the pillars needed to build a stronger you. There is more to add to that, of course, but if you don’t prioritize these three things first, whatever else you implement will fall short.
In How to Be Well, Dr. Frank Lipman said, “Some reasons to make sleep a priority: it’s when your body repairs, restores, maintains, and detoxifies itself. How you sleep is as important as how you live during waking hours.” Dr. Lipman recommends, for instance, to:
- Go to bed when you’re tired.
- Don’t eat your evening meals too late.
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime.
- Leave technology (and TV) out of the bedroom.
- Sleep in a very dark room.
- Stay comfortably cool at night (in a room that is around 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit) as it has been demonstrated that one sleeps better that way.
- Don’t go to sleep angry.
I had mentioned in a previous post about The Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid which types of foods someone should consider eating (according to the primal/paleo template). The bulk of any meal is vegetables. In smaller quantities then comes meat, fish, fowl, and eggs. The middle of the pyramid highlights the importance of consuming healthy fats, followed by certain foods you can eat in small amounts. Lastly, herbs, spices, extracts, and supplements top the pyramid of primal-approved foods.
Keep in mind that even these primal-approved foods may not work well for everyone. It is up to you to experiment and see how your body responds to each food you consume. To be more attuned to your body and how foods make you feel on a daily basis is part of becoming more knowledgeable about your health and overall wellness.
Exercise/Movement Throughout the Day
In a previous post about The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid, I had explained how moving and exercising enough shouldn’t feel like yet another challenging goal to put on your to-do-list. Our ancestors were doing basic functional movements (squat, crawl, walk, run, jump, climb, carry, throw, etc.) when going about their daily activities.
Our lifestyle has changed tremendously over the centuries, especially in the last 100 years, but this doesn’t mean that we cannot throw in a few stretches and bodyweight exercises (for instance) as simple 1-2-minute-breaks throughout the day every day. Moving frequently, exercising your muscles and getting your heart rate up occasionally is all you have to do.
Adequate sleep, better-quality foods, and exercise/movement throughout the day are the necessary first steps on your quest to feeling better before implementing other strategies. The same goes if you want to address daily stress. When we feel rested and with a nice flow of energy, we feel grounded and able to deal with each day’s ups and downs.
Until next time!
Gottfried, Sara. Younger : A Breakthrough Program to Reset Your Reset Your Genes, Reverse Aging, and Turn Back the Clock 10 Years. New York, Ny, Harperone, 2017, pp. 68–69.
Lipman, Frank M D. How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life. Houghton Mifflin, 2019, pp. 108-9.
You can also find me on Instagram.