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Enlisting a health coach can improve wellness

Ridgecrest Regional Hospital Tara Moorehead– 

Many people have the desire to improve their health and wellness but aren’t quite sure how. Hiring a health coach can be an excellent way to begin if you want to create a wellness plan tailored to your personal goals.

Health coaches possess knowledge and experience in nutrition, exercise, and mood regulation. Rather than simply telling people what to do, they collaborate with their clients and provide support and accountability.

One of the things your health coach will want to talk about is your goals. One approach is helping clients identify their strengths and challenges. For example, someone might be dedicated to exercising but need more sleep to maximize their workouts. A coach can provide tips for improving restful sleep.

Another popular strategy is the SMART format, which stands for “specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound” goals. This helps individuals avoid vagueness to form an effective plan. When a person says, “I want to exercise more,” that lacks specificity. What does “more” mean? Is it 30 minutes a day? If so, can you realistically achieve that goal in the timeframe you want to? Same for weight loss. “I want to lose weight” needs a more definitive explanation.

It’s helpful to put goals in writing and keep track of the good days and the bad. Then, people understand why they may have fallen short of a goal. Or, best case scenario, exceeded expectations.

When you can say you accomplished something, that’s an amazing feeling — no matter how small or big the goal is, right? You have that internal feeling of joy. So, it’s also a great way to help you stay on track and remind yourself of your goals.

The following simple tactics can be used daily to improve overall health:

  Move your body, no matter how “minimal” it seems (e.g., parking farther from the door, walking to the mailbox). Research shows that adding 10 minutes of walking daily has positive health benefits. Wearable devices and smartphones have options where you can track your steps. This often serves as motivation for hitting a daily benchmark or beating the previous day’s step count.

  Eliminate added sugars as much as you can, as they cause inflammation and weight gain, among other things. The American Heart Association states that too much-added sugar is harmful and can put people at risk for cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The nutrition facts panel on packaged foods now specifically shows how much-added sugar is in a product. Many people are surprised to learn that foods like peanut butter and beans have added sugar. But many times, you can find brands that avoid this practice.

  Take steps to ensure proper sleep every night. Sleep is so essential for physical and mental well-being. Turning off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed is recommended. Keep your room dark and cool. Some benefit from sleep stories or calming sounds (ocean waves, raindrops). Also, try to go to bed at about the same time each night—and avoid “catching up” on sleep on the weekend.

  Connect (or reconnect) with others. Over the past three years, maintaining some relationships has been challenging due to the isolation the pandemic forced upon us. Human interaction is really important for mental and emotional health. You can even combine other healthy habits like walking with these interactions. Invite a friend, neighbor, or colleague to go for a walk. Maybe you join a healthy cooking class. There are many opportunities to be social and healthy at the same time.

The National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach provides an online directory for individuals seeking a coach. You can call me at 760-499-3825.