LB’s Suggestions for Healthy, Geeky Living
LB’s Suggestions for Healthy, Geeky Living
By: LB Chambers
Activity and health-wise.
I have zero drive to compete athletically (I’m that annoying person who, when everyone else is yelling at the referee, is busy reminding everyone that he’s just doing his best at his job).
I tried sports in high school, and like to think I was fairly decent. Efforts in tennis, softball, and on the swim team were mostly because I was desperate for some after-school friends. It wasn’ t until I found my true calling in Academic Decathalon and volunteer work that I actually made those friends…but moving on.
So staying healthy is always kind of on the back burner for me.
For me, a great night is staying up until 3am playing The Sly Cooper Trilogy with a few fingers of scotch, a sugar-free rock star (that’s right, an artifically sweetened upper and a downer- woot woot!) alongside a bag of Luau BBQ chips or a Paseo Carribbean roast sandwich.
Basically sitting on my butt all night playing games I’ve played a dozen times eating and drinking the worst things ever.
But luckily I found a way to be geeky about health, which is how I can go to the doctor these days with my head held high and have an overall good feeling about the care of myself and my body.
Hence this article.
Below you will find my five keys (or steps, or lessons, whatever you feel makes sense) to fairly good health for those of us who keep busy, love relaxing, and want the benefits of good health without putting in a ton of effort.
(And as a disclaimer I am not a doctor. I did consult my dentist, doctor, and my physical trainer friend on all of these suggestions and they come highly recommended. I also did a ridiculous amount of research over the last several years about some key ways to stay healthy so have no fear trying these things out!)
1.) Be your Geeky Hero!
Think of that character and some of the things they do physically, and channel that into a new physical project. Every time you do that project, think of that character and what you like about them and use that as your inspiration.
I believe some of our greatest heroes do, and should, come from fiction. Remember when you were a kid and doing the monkey bars was no problem because you were Wonder Woman and you had to save Prince Eric from Jabba the Hutt? (I took a lot of license with my fantasy worlds).
Be that person again!
I bet when you were a kid having those fantasies made you kick-butt when any obstacle came your way, and you can do it again!
Feeling powerful is a huge part of trying new things, and doing physical exercise. I was a terrible runner, always was, and made it a goal last year to be able to run a mile. It doesn’t sound like a lot to most people, but being a terrible runner was a huge shame in my life and prevented me from doing a lot things with friends and family that I would have enjoyed otherwise.
So every time I went running, I wrote down a different video game character on my wrist; someone I thought was powerful, strong, and could overcome anything. Anytime I felt like I couldn’t take another step- I’d look down at that name on my wrist and remember how much I wanted to be like that person, and it would move be forward.
2.) Chug! Chug! Chug!
Drink something! Anything!
Ok, not anything- booze and soda are out.
Studies show that a couple cups of coffee a day decrease a person’s risk for dozens of potential health issues down the road. Seriously, from alzheimers to diabetes to cancer. So take a pause and drink it in, that coffee is doing your body good!
And while coffee helps, your body NEEDS water. Try having a glass of water before every meal; I’m not one of those who believes there is a set amount of water every person needs. For example, my family calls me the camel because I can go days without needing a glass (probably not good for me but I do it without thinking). So don’t push your water intake, just drink whenever you remember.
More water means less hunger cravings, less headaches, and less body cramps all over.
Basically water is our life tonic, just drink it whenever you can!
Which leads into juice…
Yes, I am one of those people who watched the Netflix documentaries about juicing and jumped on that bandwagon.
But it works! I bought a juicer several months ago and during a recent visit my doctor commented on how much healthier and alert I seemed (especially for an 8:30 am appointment- normally my dead tired time).
Juicing fruits and vegetables can be annoying (composting + summer height = way too many flies) but once you work it into your schedule it really makes you feel better and, I’m just going to say it, lessens the guilt about not eating enough vegetables.
Now everyday before lunch I’ve already had my full days need of fruits and vegetables (usually a cucumber, apple, spinach, ginger, celery and carrots) and I can spend the rest of the day eating whatever I basically feel like (within reason).
My recommendations with juicing? Just do it! Juicers are fairly inexpensive (mine was only eighty dollars) and health-wise it is just a smart move.
But remember it’s not a weight-loss regimen. Juicing for weight loss is a bad idea, as even cleanses don’t actually help you lose weight long term (once you get back into eating the weight will come right back). It’s just not healthy. Consider juicing as a way to supplement your diet and make it easier to get the vitamins and minierals your body really needs!
3.) Get Appy…
I recently found out my super athletic sister used no apps to document her healthy and active lifestyle.
And I was like, “whaaaaaaa….”
So after a five minute conversation I had her hooked up.
Apps make being healthy into a game (or, for my competitive sister, a competition with herself). There are literally hundreds of these apps for Apple and Droid, and a lot of them are free!
So for the geek on a budget, a healthy app just makes sense!
Now, I’m not a fan of the food counters (or calorie counting apps) just because I’ve found little success with them for myself and my friends. It’s not fun to document every little thing you eat, and can become a job.
If you’re worried about your weight it’s a good idea to try one of these guys out to see exactly what you’re eating throughout the day (it’s shocking how many calories are in innocent things- like apples!) but this article isn’t about weight loss- it’s about being healthy. Talk to your doctor before you get any of these “weight loss” apps, you don’t want to be cutting calories and accidentally cutting out healthy components of your diet. Doctors recommend not trying these apps unless you yourself have knowledge of nutrition, otherwise you could do your body more harm than good.
But other apps for activities and sleep! I’m all about those!
I highly recommend Runkeeper, which is a simple GPS program that maps your runs and collects your times, for any runner. However, if you’re a new runner I highly encourage the Zombies, Run! app.
The Zombies, Run! app has a story, with chapters woven into each run. You play as Runner #5, a runner in a post-apocalytic world where humans are fighting both zombies and one another, and the only way to gather information and supplies is through runners like yourself.
You begin your run with the beginning of the chapter, then the app switches to your own playlist. After each song another part of the story is told, and at the end you’re rewarded with an object that allows you to build up your town (found in the app). You also stumble upon supplies throughout the run that help you build your town.
Every mile or so a voice interrupts your run to tell you zombies are approaching, and you have to sprint for about thirty seconds or else you are caught and lose all the supplies you’ve gathered during the run. It’s a fun way to do interval training, which is considered the best way to become a better and faster runner (and great for your heart!).
The Zombies, Run! app is great for new and old runnners because it very much makes your run into a game. A problem I struggled with when I first started running was boredom. Every few minutes or so I’d get bored and begin to focus on how much running sucked or how I could be at home watching a Disney movie. But with the Zombies, Run! app you are kept constantly entertained. The story is engaging and very exciting, and the zombie chases really keep you on your toes!
Another app everyone should consider is the Sleep Cycle app. Plug your phone in and lay it under your sheets and this app keeps track of your sleep cycle throughout the night by monitoring your movement. You set a time you’d like to wake up by (say 7:45am) and the app wakes you up between 7:15am and 7:45am based on your sleep cycle and when it would be easiest for you to wake up. No more rough mornings, everyday you wake up on the right side of the bed! The app then grades your sleep quality with a percentage so you can see exactly how well you slept.
You’re also able to record anything you did that day, so you can see what helps you get better sleep and what interrupts it (eating late, stressful day, worked out are all examples).
It’s fascinating to see when your REM cycle is, when you wake up in the night, and what makes for your best sleep. For example, before this app I thought I was a 7 hour a night person who laid in bed for hours and then conked out. Not true at all. I actually fall right asleep and go straight to deep sleep within the first hour (so my husband has been right all these years), and then I’m basically awake after five hours. Changing my sleep times based on this app has made me so much more of a morning person and changed my daily energy- I highly recommend it!
4.) Be a Floss Boss
This is never a popular suggestion. Your dentist tells you to do it every visit, you promise you will, you go home and try but wind up with bloody gums so you stop a couple days later.
Sound about right? No, I’m not telepathic. I know because that was how I rolled until about a year ago. This was when my dentist brought to my attention the second tooth of plaque growing on my back molar.
I hope you are disgusted by me because you should be. That’s gross. And unacceptable. Teeth are important and I’d been brushing like an idiot and ignoring my flossing.
It turns out flossing isn’t really about removing pieces of your last meal, but preventing the buildup of bacteria that can cause bad breath, periodontal disease (a severe mouth disease that leaves you looking like you either did hard time or hard meth), gingivitis, and heart disease.
“I’m sorry,” you’re probably saying, mouth open in shock, “did you just say heart disease? As in the #1 cause of death in the world?”
Well actually I wrote it, but yes, heart disease. The build up of plaque is a breeding ground for bacteria which causes heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illness.
Now, do you want to be that guy with a mouth so terrifying people wander up to you and ask where they can score?
Or have to have your doctor explain to your weeping mother that your death could have been prevented, if you’d only flossed.
Ok, I went dark there for a minute but you get the point.
So…no? Then floss. Everyday. Make it a part of your daily schedule in a way that you can’t overlook.
For my husband, he doesn’t let himself eat anything before he flosses. Me? I don’t let myself wash my hair (which if you’ve ever met me, needs to be done everyday).
So please, for the sake of your teeth, your breath, your heart, and your mom- just floss.
So this is more about mental health than anything else, but volunteering can be a huge contributor of happiness and fulfillment in anyone’s life.
You know those people who complain about petty things, like how irritating it is when the waitress forgets to fill your water or when drivers take too long at stop lights to just go?
You know how you want to smack those people upside the head sometimes? I do, because I was one of those annoying people and I definitely got a few smacks (both verbal and physical. It’s ok, I deserved them).
But then I was pushed into volunteering by my Mom, and something huge changed. Helping others gives you not only a fantastic feeling of fulfillment, but you also meet wonderful people and are exposed to situations you never would have known about otherwise. Plus, obviously, you’re helping people.
Your patience level goes through the roof. Suddenly the guy cutting me off wasn’t an asshole; maybe he was sick, or had an emergency to get to. I didn’t know, why should I assume he was being rude and wasn’t just distracted by something distressing in his own life?
Volunteering teaches you to look outside yourself in a way no other activity can, and while I am definitely no saint (not by a long shot) I have had a change in perception from focusing on the negative (very unhealthy) to finding the positive (healthy!) that I attribute entirely to volunteering.
There are so many ways you can volunteer, and I promise you will get amazing results. I have found the greatetst friendships and the most memorable experiences in my volunteer work, and while many wouldn’t attribute overall happiness to be a part of health- I say it’s the biggest and most important piece of the pie.
Simple stuff right? Try something new, remember your hero, drink water and coffee and juice, floss, try volunteering, and get nerdy with your workouts and sleeping.
But it’s the small steps that take the most effort and deliver the greatest results. Maybe try paddle-boarding and follow up with a big bottle of water this weekend You’re already doing your body a favor and getting geeky healthy!
Below I’ve included links for some of the things I brought up, and feel free to ask any questions! What do you do to stay healthy? Any suggestions? Let us know!
For info about diseases coffee drinking helps prevent…
For info on juicing for begginers this lady has some great advice and info…
Why floss? Check this out…
Want to volunteer? Here you go, get matched!