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10 Health & Wellness Strategies for 2020

I started this blog as a way to share resources with which I am discovering about again. In short, I want to live longer but also healthier! So, I am constantly in search of natural ways to minimize my body’s biological age (as opposed to chronological age). In other words, I want to feel 50 when I am 80! I am determined I can do it.

However, good intentions only go so far. I need to have goals and a plan. Within the context of that plan, I need specific strategies to adapt over time to solidifying good habits, developing healthy routines and mindset, or getting to know my body better. So, in this post, I share with you my top 10 strategies for 2020. Enjoy!

Water Intake

This one seems so obvious, right? It is shocking how far good old common sense gets us in life. Water is probably the easiest & most accessible way to maintain good health. If I had to choose one thing to optimize my health (hypothetically, of course, because there is no ONE thing), I would choose hydration and not just any hydration.

A middle aged woman drinking water

Think: filtered water, alkaline water, structured water, hydrogen-rich water. I will write up a post on our water system but in the meantime, in order to learn more check out Ben Greenfield’s podcast on the topic.

At a minimum, drink 64 ounces of filtered water a day. The best way to start the day is with a 16-ounce glass of room temperature water with a pinch of salt. I know, it sounds horrible but trust me. You get used to it and you feel amazing replacing what was lost during your sleep.

Below is the water filtration system we have on our countertop. Also, if you’re curious about the status of your drinking water, these water test strips will give loads of insight.

Strength-Based Exercise Regiment

Basically find an exercise routine based in strength and stick to it at least 3 times a week.

As I grew older, I turned away from endurance sports and focused more on balance, mobility, and strength. As a long time distance runner, this decision and turn of events pained me. It just wasn’t the same anymore. I’d go out for a 3-mile run and have to nurse my hips back.

I never had injuries as a runner EVER. I started competing at 12 and stopped in my mid-30s. I ran a 5K under 18 minutes, a 1:35 half marathon, and a 3:20 marathon. I trained hard and never had any issues.

A middle ages woman weight lifting
Keeping up with her healthy habits

So, I began exploring other approaches to exercise that would keep me strong and fit such as yoga and swimming. Most recently, I started a program called Starting Strength. Straight from their website, it reads,

The Starting Strength System makes use of the body’s most basic movement patterns – barbell exercises that involve all the body’s muscle mass – utilized over the longest effective range of motion and loaded progressively, to force the adaptations necessary for increased strength.

Unlike other popular exercise protocols, Starting Strength is a training system – a long-term process designed for getting stronger over time, not a random collection of exercises that just make you hot, sweaty, sore, confused, and tired today.

There are 4 lifts, 5 reps at max weight. It is phenomenal. I feel strong in my core and my balance. I highly recommend working with a coach. I have a virtual one and it works out great!

A group of middle aged friends exercising

Avoid Carbohydrates

Avoid carbs for a week and keep a diary about how you feel!

This one is pretty obvious, right. Now, don’t worry, what I am suggesting here and what I do myself is to minimize complex carbohydrates, especially processed foods. I live a low carb life but definitely allow for a cheat day or two during the week. However, that cheat day is not filled with junk food but instead a nice sandwich bread or pasta meal.

As always, talk with your doctor, maybe a functional doctor if there is one near your home, about what works for YOUR body.

Tubes of blood

Get a Baseline on Your Health

Get lab work done to identify deficiencies & test your gut biome. Personally, my bloodwork covers mood regulation mainly. So, I test iron, ferritin levels, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12, Zinc, Copper, and tests covering my hormonal levels. Remember that I am not a medical professional, so definite;y consult your doctor on which tests make the most sense for your body.

I like to do it once a year to see how I am doing year over year. I prefer to see how I am doing based on my own results rather than seeing where I fall within some normal “range”. My main concern with simply relying on blood tests is, for example, understanding that you’re deficient in iron but not being able to ascertain that your body actually isn’t absorbing iron efficiently, or at all for that matter.

In addition to blood work, I like to look at what is going on in my gut biome. There are ample connections between the gut and the brain affecting mental health, autoimmune issues, dementia, and so on.

Identifying disequilibria can pinpoint issues you might be having with mood regulation, for example. For me, I struggle with a B-12 deficiency. There are several companies that will run your stool and/or urine through a series of lab tests.

Onegenvity’s Gutbio test is the one I most recently used. [I am not an affiliate but took the recommendation of Dr. Rhonda Patrick.] My experience with this company was excellent. I sent in my stool sample via FedEx pick up and waited about 6 weeks for my results, which were eye-opening, not surprising but eye-opening. These tests combined with blood tests illuminate priorities.

An older woman writing a letter

Connect with Others

There is no question that social connections and longevity overlap. Many researchers study and report on the importance of friendship within the context of aging. Laughing and connecting is one of the most natural medicines after all!

Harvard Medical School writes, “Scientists are investigating the biological and behavioral factors that account for the health benefits of connecting with others. For example, they’ve found that it helps relieve harmful levels of stress, which can adversely affect coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and the immune system. Another line of research suggests that caring behaviors trigger the release of stress-reducing hormones.”

So, how do we maintain social connections as we grow older? My main approach this year is to write handwritten notes & letters. There is something about seeing someone’s handwriting and receiving a letter in the mail. Holding the letter in your hand and allowing your eyes to take in the words. It is powerful, albeit oft-forgotten in today’s fast-paced technology-driven world.

Neutralize EMFs

Find ways to neutralize EMF in your home & daily life. What are EMFs, you ask? Well, according to Blueshield USA, the EMF expert:

Wireless radiation or radiofrequency radiation is emitted from all wireless devices. From cell phones to Wi-Fi, computers, TV transmitters and cell phone towers. This is also known as EMF (electromagnetic fields)

Source: Blueshield USA

Blueshield USA goes on to explain that there are numerous ways EMFs’ negative effects manifest on the human body including nausea, headaches, fatigue, feeling dizzy, sleepiness, rashes, fatigued eyes, heart palpitations, and even vertigo.

You first might want to measure electromagnetic radiation in your home. You can measure EMFs with an EMF detector like this one.

Ways to neutralizing EMFs include:

Implement Grounding

Have you heard of earthing? If not, the best resource out there is The Earthing Movie. There is also a Beginner’s Guide to Earthing that you will likely find helpful. The benefits include better sleep, less joint pain, and decrease inflammation. Go ahead research grounding & give grounding products a try. Let me know what you think.

Try Detoxing

Detoxing is a phenomenal way to rid your body of excess waste that accumulates through exposure to toxins. Try an infrared sauna, a cold plunge, or a floatation tank. You could also do a really straightforward and inexpensive detox on your body such as eliminating sugar, caffeine, or alcohol.

Eliminate Artificial Light

I wrote all about how to achieve your best sleep in this article. I big part of optimizing sleep for our family is light filtering. So, one strategy to make happen this year to optimize your health and wellness:

Change the lightbulbs in your home to light filtering bulbs. We use Hoogalite brand bulbs on our home and are happy. They also have a light filtering booklight, which we love, too.

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