I want to begin this post by proudly declaring that I do not always follow my own advice. I have days, today being one of them, that I lounge around watching television and eating anything I can get my hands on! This article is as much for me as for others.
That being said, I do not believe that there is any need to be perfect in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. Health is about more than sticking to a strict diet and exercise regimen. I try to look at health as something that engages me mentally, physically, and even spiritually. It isn't something that can be done in one "right" way, each person has to discover what works for them.
These tips are purposely open-ended so that, hopefully, everyone can find things within them that resonate with them.
1. Explore the Great Outdoors
In my opinion, this is the most important part of a healthy lifestyle! The science is clear, nature benefits our health in numerous ways. For me, spending time outdoors inspires me to be productive and healthy in other aspects of my life. Time outdoors also tends to be active time, which further contributes to a healthy life!
I tend to take outdoor time to the extreme. Working at the Tarpon Springs Aquarium, I get to spend a lot of time with wild animals in and out of the water. On most of my days off I go out kayaking, collecting for the aquarium, snorkeling, diving, hiking, or even playing outside! I am also fortunate that I can comfortably be in the outdoors year round due to Florida's climate.
You don't have to feed sharks for a living to get the benefits of time outside (although shark feeding can lead to some unforgettable experiences). It can be playing tennis, balcony gardening, or even taking the dog on a long walk through the park.
For more on how nature can help your health, check out this article from BBC Earth.
2. Move it, Move it!
This seems obvious, and in a way it is. It is necessary to be active to be fit. Yet it is unbelievably difficult for me to stay motivated, especially on days that I can't get outside. This is extremely open ended: there are nearly as many ways to stay active as there are people. Some people go to the gym or buy elliptical machines for their living rooms. I find that I cannot stay motivated to continue these types of activities more than a few months.
I have found that I have to be enjoying what I am doing! This ties in with being outdoors for me. If the weather is bad, I have found great success with indoor activities too! I have explored things like indoor rock climbing and aerial silks. You don't have to spend money to be active though! I am a huge yoga advocate, and often use fitness blender's free videos. I also am willing to admit I frequent free dance fitness videos on youtube.
For me, the key to motivation is variety and trying new things!
I completely understand how much of a struggle it can be to balance a busy life with creative projects. It is something I continue to struggle with every day. Yet I have found that if I make it a priority, suddenly time appears where there was none before. The benefits of creative expression are undeniable.
I love to express myself through acting and theatre (I have a BFA in Acting). Yet I have been known to dabble in song writing and music, a tiny bit of painting, and a pathetic attempt at dance (mostly dance fitness Youtube videos). Creative expression makes me feel fulfilled and inspired to tackle the rest of my day!
For more information on the benefits of Creative expression, check out this Huffington Post Blog.
In conclusion, the cheesy saying about health being a journey not a destination has been true in my experience. It is about finding balance and feeling good physically, mentally, and spiritually!