Does this irk you too? These days, living healthy seems to be synonymous with fanatically practicing sports and following a diet like a Spartan warrior.
Don’t they know that vigorous exercise is overrated? Don’t get me wrong. Being active is essential to good health, but a regular stroll in the park or taking the stairs instead of the elevator works too.
And why does living a healthy lifestyle seem to equal religiously following the Holy Commandments of the Superfoods Church? “Thou shalt not eat gluten. Thou shalt eat organic only”. “Thou shalt be aware of the latest trends in health foods.”
Keep your shirts on my dear wellness gurus.
You really don’t have to eat like a Paleolithic barbarian to be healthy. Let those health freaks drink their kale breakfast smoothies while ‘feasting’ on fair trade humus and tofu tiramisu during lunch. That’s not for you. Or for the person you are gift shopping for.
Living a healthy life just doesn’t work like that for most moderately minded, health-conscious people.
They take a more sensible, holistic approach to wellness. One that is based on the following 5 pillars.
Healthy eating. You may wanna skip the linseed and lentils but what you put in your mouth still is essential to your wellbeing. Generally speaking: eat more plants and less sugars and carbs.
Active living. No need to run marathons or hit CrossFit class 4 times a week. As long as you keep moving. Stagnant water starts to stink. Moderation is key. Less chance on injuries too. Some form of discipline is crucial. Or you can use a clever lifestyle hack. More at #2 on this list.
Regularity and routine. Why do you think monks are so happy?
Restorative sleep. This one’s often neglected. I know because I’m guilty of staying up too long too often. Certain gadgets can make a huge difference though. This is no sales pitch. Well, it is, but these devices really work. More in a bit.
Relaxation. Stress awareness and reduction are essential. Serenity is strength. No optimal employment of yang without the yin. And then some more quasi philosophic Eastern wisdom quotes.
So here are some gift ideas that have little to do with food and exercise. Practical gift ideas for your couch potato friend, your WOW playing relative, your nerdy spouse, stubborn coworker, junk food junkie kid, or other peer who can use a bit more health.
8 Health Gift Ideas For Nerds, Non-Athletes And Those Who Frown Upon Health Food Crazes
1. A home workout device (no, wait, don’t run off, stick with me here. I promise, no more fitness stuff after this)
Signing up for a gym is a huge step. Going there regularly to actually exercise is even worse. A hurdle that needs to be taken again and again. But you gotta keep movin’ bro. You’re just not the type for organized sports? A home fitness device may be right for you.
Since I’m a lazy bum when it comes to physical activity, I want to do as much as possible in a short time. Got better things to do, ya know.
In terms of burning calories, just 10 minutes of breathless cardio pull ups (HIIT) will burn more fat off than a half an hour walk in the park. So if you want to minimize time spent while maximizing efficiency, do some HIIT training at home.
A heavy bag, or a thigh and butt exerciser will work just as well. Trained muscles make you more resilient, energetic and help you get older gracefully.
Another effective ‘train at home device’ for those who hate sports but really got to get moving is a treadmill. Yeah I know, the infamous ‘dreadmill’. But they’re pretty great because you can read, watch a TV show, record a podcast, while exercising.
Thus you’ll combat the gnawing feeling of wasting your time while working the sweat out. Or, to really waste no time (of your own), work out in the boss’s time, right there in your office chair.
Now wait, because I can almost hear you ponder: “A TellSell TV kind of thing? I’ll toss it unused on the attic next to the Abtronix and the ExerElite 2000.”
Nope grasshopper, this time you’re going to actually use it.
How? By reading this book:
2. Mini habits (this book will change your life)
The road to a healthy lifestyle is paved with good intentions. Too bad intentions only won’t get you there. Yet they are the first step. And in order to make following up a whole lot easier there’s this little gem of a book.
It will help you transform from a persistent procrastinator to a, well, errr…..to someone who get’s at least some shit done.
Just an example. The pull up bar you just installed in your kitchen door frame will get actually used. By you. This books motivates you to create a mini habit.
Pull yourself up at least once every time prior to making coffee or tea. Once you get the hang of it (excuse the pun) you’ll find you’ll be inclined to do more pull ups. Even if you’re just not the type for such personal development BS.
So suck it up, nancy. Learn how to incorporate beneficial habits into your life. The healthy living pillars regularity and routine also benefit from it. Before you know it you’re addicted and ripped.
3. Blender (the easiest and most efficient way to eat healthy)
“Eat 3 cups of vegetables each day” they say. Probably they’re right too. But who in their right mind does that? Did you ever visualize how much that is? That’s about a plate chock-full of Brussels sprouts or a huge salad bowl full of spinach. And then some. Every friggin day! That’s not feasible. That’s insane!
Luckily there’s a hack to this madness.
To make your recommended daily intake easier, use a blender. What I do is start the day with a veggie and fruit smoothie. This way I ensure I won’t ‘forget’ and it motivates to do some more healthy eating during the rest of the day.
Another great use of a blender to get your daily intake of vegetables: quickly and easily make soup. Just toss a broccoli in a pan, add some water, slice it while the stove is on, blend it when cooked, add a slice of cheddar, ground some pepper and you’ve got the base for a healthy meal without all the fuzz of preparing a three course dinner.
Added benefit: you’ll probably eat less junk food which allows you to exercise less. Keep in mind that for each donut you munch you have to like run 50 miles to burn off the calories.
Just sayin’. So you’ll get your priorities straight. When it comes to losing weight, working out is overrated, improving your diet is the way to go.
4. Wake up light: wake up refreshed, despite your ungodly early wake up time
We all know the expression: waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Far less widespread is the fact that most of us, unintentionally and unknowingly do this every morning.
If you’re violently roused from your sleep by a blaring alarm clock while it’s still dark out, you’re most likely starting the day on the wrong foot too.
And no, this does not only result in a bad case of morning grumpiness. It messes with your body clock resulting in all kinds of detrimental effects on your health.
I’m not even overstating when I say using a wake up light can make you feel like a whole new person. Who knows, you might discover you’re a morning person after all.
Yes, the guidance of an artificial alarm clock definitely helps you when you’re forced to wake up at chicken o clock in the morning.
But – and this is the big but – these benefits only go so far if your sleep is disturbed by blue light exposure during the evening. Which is why bright health-conscious folks block blue light at night.
On the flip side, exposure to the red spectrum light in the evening contributes to good sleep. And, thus, better health. Red light exposure boosts melatonin production, the hormone that makes you sleepy.
When it comes to avoiding post-work gym trips while still ensuring your body gets its essential daily exercise, how about catching two birds with one stone? A standing desk or an active sitting ‘chair‘does exactly do that for you.
Well, it’s still you who has to do the work because believe me, standing up for hours on end or sitting on a wobbly ball behind your desk takes some getting used to. To put it mildly.
But think just about this for a sec..
Research indicates that an hour of exercise doesn’t even compensate the detrimental effects of 8 hours of sitting in an office chair! Meaning if you have a seated job you should spend more than an hour in the gym after work.
Now you’re more lenient towards this trendy form of ‘sitting’, aren’t you?
7. Relaxation gadgets
In our hectic modern day lives, meditation in itself isn’t a must. But you bet your booty that being able to relax is. The constant bombardment of visual and auditory stimuli on our senses wears us out if we don’t disconnect once in a while.
I’m not the only one who has a hard time winding down. I find it difficult to relax. I know meditating can be insanely beneficial yet until a year ago I hadn’t gotten further than a few attempts. Now I still suck at meditation but I made some progress.
Tip: when you want to make a habit out of meditating, don’t do it because you’re told it’s good for you. Motivation studies by researchers like Edward Deci, a psychology professor at the University of Rochester, show that you’re more likely to succeed with healthy habits when you’re doing something you like because it will make you feel good. Keep in mind how calm and happy you feel afterwards.
Just like with exercising I take the micro-achievements approach. Kai Zen, so you will. Each journey starts with one small step. So I meditate for 2 seconds. Just by reminding myself to breathe. By asking myself: “Do I still breathe?”, I direct my attention away from thinking into the now. Which is meditation so says Eckhart.
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