Is “get healthy” one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2022? If so, kudos!
Going into year three of the pandemic, health and wellness has taken an even more front-and-center role in daily life, and making changes—both big and small—to help you feel your best has never been more important.
If you’re determined to make 2022 your healthiest year yet but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got you. As a certified personal trainer and health and fitness enthusiast myself, I like to tell people this, first and foremost: Start small, and build habits from there.
First, address the basics: Are you sleeping enough?
Sleep is so important, not only to feel your best mentally but to achieve health and fitness goals as well. When you sleep you’re allowing your body to recover and restore itself, which is crucial for your energy levels and performance.
We know #stylistlife can be hectic, but a consistent lack of sleep has been shown to poorly affect your metabolism and stress levels, promote the tendency to make poor food choices, and an increased appetite overall. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep nightly. For many people, this target will require effort — in planning, in your schedule, and in self control when it comes to putting your phone down (night night, Instagram) or turning the TV off — but your body will thank you for those extra zzzz’s.
Next: Are you staying hydrated?
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that women drink at least 11.5 cups of water daily, while men should consume a minimum of 15.5 cups. Different factors can affect this — like where you live and how active you are — but this is a good rule of thumb to start.
While this may seem like a lot of liquid, the good news is that most 0-calorie fluid can count toward this goal, as your body knows no difference. This means sparkling water, tea, and even a stylist's BFF coffee can help you reach your daily target. Be aware, however, that caffeine is a diuretic, which means it likely negates many of the hydration benefits.
With sleep and hydration in check, then answer: Are you moving your body daily? No, working doesn’t count!
Getting your steps in each day is an easy, low-cost, foolproof way to improve your health. So, if you make a concerted effort to get out from behind the chair and hit the pavement or the treadmill, you should see a boost in your energy levels and mood, easier weight loss, improved heart health and joint health, plus more.
10,000 steps daily has been thrown around as a good goal. While it depends on many factors, like age and fitness level, this is considered a “reasonable target for healthy adults,” according to a research review published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
After daily steps, have you started strength training?
Strength training — even just using bodyweight — has plenty of benefits. It:
● Keeps bones strong and healthy: By stressing your bones, strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
● Boosts metabolism and fat loss: Lifting weights is one of the most effective exercise strategies for gaining muscle and increasing metabolic rate. Strength training helps you build muscle — muscle burns a much higher percentage of calories at rest. It also improves overall body composition.
● Improves sleep and energy levels: All exercise boosts mood because it increases endorphins. But for strength training, additional research that’s looked at neurochemical and neuromuscular responses to such workouts offers further evidence it has a positive effect on the brain. And there's evidence that strength training may help you sleep better, too, according to a study published in the January–February 2019 issue of the Brazilian Journal of Psychology.
● Improves balance: Adding muscle mass, specifically in your core, helps balance tremendously.
● Helps prevent aches and pains common in hairstylists: Many stylists complain of back and neck pain — specific strengthening exercises for these areas can help treat these complaints.
Aim for 2 sessions per week to get started. If you’re unsure of what to do, work with a personal trainer, or utilize free resources online from reputable sources.
And lastly, how’s your headspace?
These last two years have been draining, we know—have you checked in with yourself recently? How are you feeling, truly? Mental health plays a role in overall wellness, too, so don’t neglect it.
Even if you love your job, make sure that you’re taking time out to do other things you enjoy. Consider meditation or therapy as a way to help manage stress as well.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.