At a glance
Why is a daily routine really important?
Growing up, you were probably told to make your bed, eat your fruits and vegetables, and get plenty of exercise. Sure — you probably grew tired of hearing the same set of instructions every single day, but the truth it that establishing a daily routine is a great way to enhance your life. Not only can repetitive actions support your physical health, but they can also support your mental health as well. In short, a daily routine can act as your “anchor” — or the stabilizing presence — that will always be there for you.
According to Northwestern Medicine, a daily routine offers a way to promote health and wellness through structure and organization. Though some people prefer to eat dinner at 6 pm sharp in the evening, others may prefer to delay the final meal of the day to exercise instead. And though not everyone will follow the exact same schedule, the key takeaway here is to establish a routine that works for you.
On the other hand, there are quite a few downsides to not having a routine, including stress, sleep trouble, poor eating habits, poor physical condition, and an ineffective use of time. Without having that “anchor” for stabilization in even the most chaotic of days, you may find it difficult to complete tasks as efficiently as you would with a daily routine.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the top actions to incorporate into your daily routine for overall wellness.
Boost Your Brain Health
We all know that the brain is the most complex part of the body. But did you know that your brain changes with age? According to the Medical School at Harvard University, it is not uncommon for the brain to go through mental functional changes as it ages. Therefore, it is important to find time in your daily routine to support your brain.
Use These Brain-Boosting Tips:
- There’s a reason why regular endurance exercise is considered one of the 6 pillars of brain health. Over the last decade, science has made great strides in discovering the cognitive benefits of exercise.
- Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center found that exercise improves memory and boosts blood flow to the brain in this 2020 study. They tracked the changes in long-term memory and cerebral blood flow in 30 participants with memory issues aged 60 or older. Half of the participants were assigned 12 months of an aerobic exercise training program; the remaining only did stretching.
- At the conclusion of the year-long study, the exercise group experienced a 47% improvement in memory scores, while the group that was assigned to stretch only saw a minimal change in score.
- There isn’t one vitamin or mineral that is considered the “king of brain support.” Rather, medical professionals say that we should nourish our brains with a combination of nutrients that includes omega-3 fatty acids, various B-vitamins, and magnesium.
- Notable omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA, DPA, and DHA have all been examined in studies involving cognitive function. According to this article published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, DHA is measured as the most important omega-3 fatty acid in the brain and has consistently demonstrated its roles in the health of neural membranes in studies.
Think Outside The Box
- Sure, it is important to remain active and eat healthy, but there are other brain-boosting ways that complement those tips as well.
- Studies have shown that you can help prevent cognitive decline with basic health habits such as having good social connections, not smoking, and consuming no more than 1 alcoholic beverage a day.
As you read on, you’ll discover that these tips become intertwined with the other steps. That’s because healthy habits such as exercise, a healthy diet, good sleep, and eating plenty of nutrient-rich foods all support multiple functions of your health!
Nutritionally Support Your Body
The World Health Organization states that a healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition. Although this statement may come as no surprise, the truth is that most Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. And while there are multiple driving forces behind this statistic, it seems that family-related and work-related responsibilities are among the reasons to blame.
- Karen Ensle, the Family & Community Health Sciences Educator at Rutgers University, proclaimed that fewer families have time to eat together due to work, sports, and school schedules. On top of this, working parents eat less meals at home and rely on convenience foods such as take out and fast food to provide for their family.
So, how do we buck this trend? Granted, there isn’t one grand solution to this, but there are steps we can take that allow us the time to prepare healthy meals at home.
Incorporate These Healthy Tips Into Your Daily Routine:
- Maintain a healthy diet. We all know the feeling of being pressed for time. And we also know that it isn’t exactly easy to prepare multiple meals a day that are both well-balanced and delicious. But as we age, our bodies require the right nutrients to stay active and independent. You do not need to spend hours in the kitchen nor spend a fortune to make this work.
- According to the American Heart Association, there are plenty of ways to eat healthy without cutting into the time you need to accomplish the other tasks in your daily routine. So, be sure to prioritize a healthy diet every day.
- Don’t forget to hydrate! Getting enough water every day is vital for your health and wellness. Sure, it helps you stay hydrated, but did you know that water also helps keep your body at a normal temperature? It also lubricates your joints, helps with bowel movements, and even protects your spinal cord and other tissue.
Engage In Physical Activity
Perhaps one of the more important activities in your daily routine is exercise. There are multiple effective modes of physical activity, so you don’t necessarily have to drop everything and flee to the gym in order gym to check this box on your daily routine list.
Stay In Shape With These Quick And Easy Workouts:
- If you’re looking to challenge your cardiovascular system, then be sure to split up your daily routine with a walk. Although this is one of the easiest exercises, it is recommended to walk at a certain level of intensity.
- Research shows that walking has wide-ranging health benefits. This includes significant reductions in systolic blood pressure (how much pressure your blood exerts against the artery walls when your heart beats) and diastolic blood pressure (how much pressure your blood exerts against the artery walls when your heart is between beats), as well as resting heart rate and body mass index.
- If you’re looking to add “build muscle” to your daily routine, then consider the simple push-up. This classic workout packs a punch without having to sacrifice too much time out of your daily routine. In fact, the Medical School at Harvard University labels the push-up as the “perfect exercise” because it works your body from top to bottom — and serval muscle groups all at once.
- A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science examined the effects of the push-up at varying palmar widths, or, in other words, the position in which your hands are placed. The purpose of this study was to determine which variation of a push-up is most effective: a narrow, neutral, or wide position.
- The results found that pectoralis major activity — or the muscle that extends across your chest — was greater during push-ups performed at the narrow and neutral widths, as compared to the wide position. The wide position was found to work your serratus anterior muscle — the muscle located on your back that extends throughout your ribs.
Leave Time To Unwind
You may wonder why something like this should be included in your daily routine. After all, it isn’t easy to fit “relaxation” into a busy schedule; isn’t that what the weekends are for? But this is not the case. And while this particular segment of your daily routine may be overlooked by many, it is important to give yourself a break each day, no matter how hectic things are.
Try These Simple Relaxation Techniques:
- Modes of meditation such as yoga can promote relaxation. According to Mayo Clinic, this mind-body practice can help reduce stress, improve balance and flexibility, and even reduce risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure, and more.
- Other relaxation techniques include reading, writing, and deep breathing. While these tips are self-explanatory, it is good to know how to properly perform a deep-breathing exercise.
- Guided imagery is one “outside the box” method of relaxation. This particular technique Is designed to teach people to focus on pleasant images and replace negativity. This action is either self-directed or assisted by music, video, or other pre-recorded resources.
Establish A Sleep Cycle
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, sleep is an important part of a daily routine. In fact, you spend nearly one-third of your time doing it! Everyone needs sleep, as it affects nearly every function in the body, including your brain, heart, metabolism, immune function, and mood.
How To Establish A Healthy Sleep Cycle:
- The Sleep Foundation says that adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, and that it is important to stay within this range at all times. A daily routine is a good way to structure your schedule and avoid having your tasks cut into these 7 to 9 valuable hours per night.
- One important factor that helps establish a sleep cycle is your circadian rhythm. Often referred to as your body’s “internal clock,” your circadian rhythm is a crucial component in managing your balance between sleep and wakefulness. This balance helps us be alert during the day and drowsy when it’s time to snooze. When misaligned, the risk of insomnia and daytime sleepiness is increased. Be sure to expose yourself to natural light, avoid caffeine in the afternoon, and limit artificial light exposure as you prepare for bed.
Anchor Your Busy Life With A Daily Routine!
As stated, it is important to establish a daily routine because it enhances your life and supports your physical and mental health. But be sure to ease yourself into these new habits, as routines take time to establish. Too many changes in life could be difficult to juggle; the sudden deviation in your schedule may become counterproductive if you don’t allow yourself enough time to become accustomed to your new routine.
Developing a daily routine puts you in control of your busy schedule and it helps leave room for all that is important in life. So, be sure to start your day off right and structure your schedule in a way that works for you!