Have you designed your home around supporting the healthy lifestyle you’ve chosen?
Long term health ultimately comes down to the choices we make each day and our homes can help or hinder us in making those choices. Does your home invite wholesome, mindful eating, daily activity, and restoration in your life? Here are some ways you can organize and arrange your home to directly support you in building healthy habits.
Create a space when you walk in the door to take your shoes off and switch to light slippers or even better, bare feet. By removing our shoes when we come into the house, we not only reduce the dirt and pollution that we bring into our homes, but we also send a message to our minds that it is time to relax and wind down. There is a reason that barefoot exercise, from running to yoga to barre has become so popular. Spending time without shoes each day helps us to rebuild and stimulate the muscles and nerves of our feet so that they can support us with better posture and strength.
Whether your backyard is limited to a small balcony or a parklike haven, you can use this space to extend your living area and further support your healthy habits. Time spent outdoors is valuable for children and adults, improving everything from physical fitness, to vision, to stress levels (not to mention Vitamin D). Consider planting a garden (or container garden). Incorporate a gathering place or place for quiet relaxation by including a hammock or seating area.
Finally, if space allows, find an activity that you and your family can enjoy together. Having a playground ball ready for a simple game of kickball or adding in a badminton net is a great way to draw your family into some recreational activity outdoors.
Once you’ve taken your shoes off, take a look at your major living spaces. Do they invite you to unplug, to be mindful in your time there? Do they reinforce the restrictive seated postures that you use each day at your desk, while driving, etc… or do they provide opportunities for recovery and mobility?
By using pillows and a soft rug to create floors that are comfortable to sit, you invite yourself and your family to get off of the furniture and revisit healthy natural postures, such as crossed legs, kneeling, or squatting. You can even provide mobility tools such as foam rollers, bolsters, or tennis balls in plain view to allow you to care for injured or tension prone areas.
If you’d like to increase creativity and mindfulness in your living spaces, try to incorporate light blue colors into your décor. If you’re not up for a new paint job, try some new throw pillows or a comfortable throw. And finally, before you flip on that television, consider pulling out a magazine and playing some music instead.
We know that what happens in the kitchen is pivotal to our success in a weight loss program, so it’s worth spending some time in this space to ensure that it supports you in being successful. Whether you place your home exercise equipment in view from this space or simply include schedule reminders on your kitchen calendar, be sure that your kitchen reinforces your exercise habits.
Try placing your running shoes near the back door and include a post-it note on the cupboard that reminds you to grab a 20 minute Sprint 8 workout while you wait for the oven to pre-heat.
Make sure your kitchen encourages healthy hydration. A pitcher of cold water in the front of the fridge flavored with berries or lemon can encourage you to drink more. An electric kettle and delicious herbal teas can encourage hydration as we enter the colder months.
You can also support healthy eating by taking the time to clean out your pantry and refrigerator and placing plenty of fresh produce in view. Make sure that when you head to the kitchen, the food you find is the food you want to be putting in your body.
Adequate sleep is vital in supporting your body’s ability to recover from workouts, maintain a healthy immune system, and remain capable of high levels of functioning and concentration in your daily work. Ensure that your bedroom supports this by limiting your use of electronics in that space, especially in the last hour before bed.
Invest in bedding of a reasonable quality and reduce ambient light from electronics, windows, or skylights. You may also want to include an air cleaner in that space, especially if you are prone to asthma or allergies. Lastly, if you’re a morning workout person, set yourself up for success by placing your workout clothes and shoes in plain view, making it easier to get started in the morning.
Enjoy incorporating these changes to make healthy choices as natural as coming home each day!
About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Joli.