Runners hear a lot of advice. Sometimes, too much advice.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m all for healthy living. But you can drive yourself crazy trying to do everything that experts recommend.
I’ve gathered a large sampling of advice and put together a blueprint for a Perfectly Healthy Day. How many of these things can you claim in your daily routine?
If your answer is a low number, don’t worry – so is mine. But that doesn’t stop me from trying.
- Wake up early, at the same time every day – even on weekends.
- Get out of bed and drink your first of 8 glasses of water for the day.
- Brush and floss your teeth—the first of three times today.
- Eat a pre-exercise snack of a half bagel or an energy bar.
- Do warm-up exercises while watching the news to stay intellectually current.
- Meet the running group before dawn for your daily run of 30 to 60 minutes—longer on weekends.
- Afterwards, do your post-run stretching and yoga. Drink more water.
- Eat a healthy breakfast together with the family. Be sure to include whole grains, antioxidants, flaxseed oil, and lots of fiber.
- Vitamin time! Toss down a multi-vitamin plus vitamins C and E, with a selenium or coenzyme Q10 chaser. Are you female? Don’t forget the iron, calcium and Vitamin D. Male? Take lycopene for prostate health. Over 40? Glucosomine chondroitin, ginkgo biloba, and two baby aspirin. Under 10? Flintstones.
- Drink a cup of black coffee or green tea for extra antioxidants.
- Off to work for a day of rewarding, meaningful employment. Remember to carpool, take public transport, ride your bike, or drive in your hybrid car.
- Listen to National Public Radio in the car—but occasionally scroll across the rap or rock stations to stay aware of what your kids are listening to.
- Park far away from your office so you can burn extra calories walking to the door. If it’s a multi-story office building, never use the elevator.
- Do some early-morning meditation at your desk, and visualize a successful day.
- Have a mid-morning snack of nonfat yogurt and a few walnuts or almonds.
- Drink another helping of water, black coffee or green tea. Then stop drinking caffeine after noon.
- Call or e-mail your spouse (but not on company time—be sure to clock-out first) and family during the day to see how they are doing. While you’re at it, call your parents and touch base with your siblings. Always tell people how much you love them.
- Lunch time! Enjoy your fruit cup or garden salad. Drink water instead of soda. Go for a short walk outside after eating.
- Take a 20-minute power nap in the early afternoon, then get back to work! Your co-workers are looking for you.
- Get up from your desk and do some stretches every hour.
- Afternoon snack: two pieces of dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao content), along with an apple or banana.
- Allow 10 minutes at the end of the work day to straighten your desk and compile a “to do” list for the next day, to assure that tomorrow will be equally productive.
- Take your hybrid car, public transport, bicycle, or carpool home.
- At least once per week, get a massage after work to release muscle tension.
- After work, have a nice conversation with your spouse, spend some quality time with each of your kids, or do some volunteer work at your church.
- Before dinner, have one glass of red wine with high resveritrol content. (You’ll find the highest content in Dr. Constantine Franks Pinot Noir from New York State—that’s your bonus viticultural tip of the day.)
- Eat dinner together as a family every night, no later than 6:30 PM.
- For dinner, have a main course of salmon (wild, not farmed) at least twice per week to get your Omega 3’s and 6’s. Have bright, colorful vegetables along with it. On the other nights have small portions of pasta with very light sauce, plus lean meat or chicken.
- Don’t even think about dessert. And once you get up from the table—that’s it. No more eating for the night.
- Spend individual time with each of your children separately before bedtime. Participate in their bedtime routines.
- Time to catch up on TV – good thing you have TiVo. Watch a one-hour show in 44 minutes. Do some sit-ups or stretching while you watch. Remember to limit your TV to one hour a night, then go read a self-help or motivational book. Or work on a Sudoku or crossword puzzle to stay mentally sharp.
- Talk to your spouse for at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Get to bed early so you can get at least seven hours of sleep. End the day with some hugs, cuddling, and maybe (if you’re lucky) some intimacy with your spouse.
- Fall asleep easily—make all of your dreams pleasant ones.
So how did you do? Clearly, it’s pretty tough to have a perfect day.
However, the nice thing about a healthy lifestyle is that you don’t have to be perfect every day. Just do the things you can, and periodically try to add some things you haven’t done before.
And if for some reason you manage screw everything up—don’t lose sleep over it. You can always try again tomorrow.