Several days ago, my friends Dr. Julie and Dr. Mark1 posted a challenge on their website (read more about the details here). That gist of the challenge – dubbed the May Health Challenge – is simple:
Do something every day for the first 30 days of May that serves to improve your overall health.
Whatever it is that you do is up to you. It could be a change in behaviour such as drinking more water, eating more fruits and veggies, getting more sleep, reducing sugar or caffeine intake, or you could increase your daily physical activity by going for a walk, or a run, or a bike ride. Perhaps it’s 5 minutes of stretching in the morning. Perhaps it’s a casual stroll around the block. Or maybe you’ve been working out for ages. Maybe May is the month when you push your limits; bike 20k on a regular basis? – try to bike 25k; you’ve already completed a 5k race? – aim for a 10k. Whatever it is you do, make it your own, make it attainable, and own it.
So what am I going to be doing for the May Health Challenge?
Good question. After much soul searching2 I have set the following goals:
Drink more water – at least 1 extra glass per day3. I currently suck at this. Given that I have 2 marathons coming up, hydration is going to be a key element to successful runs. Plus, I hate waking up every morning so dry that I feel as if I’m hung over. What’s worse – I’d much rather have a coffee than a glass of water. While this seems simple, it’s going to be a huge challenge for me.
- Stretch more. I’m not going to put a specific quantity on this, but I really do need to stretch more. And I already feel like I stretch a lot. But, with all the races and the training for races and the running in between the training and the races, it really couldn’t hurt to do a little more. To build this into my day, I’m going to opt to stretch while I’m in my office. This will serve double duty, as it will also get me out of my office chair and away from the computer monitors for a few moments.
- Sleep more. I imagine this is going to be the hardest of all my challenges. Over the last 535 days, my trusty Sleep Cycle app informs me that I’ve averaged 5 hours and 30 minutes of sleep per night. If by the end of May I have increased my average nightly sleep, then I will have managed to sleep longer each night of the challenge. To put this into perspective – a 1 minute increase in my overall average will represent about 20 minutes extra sleep per night of the challenge.
- Run two marathons. Yes, I know I had already planned on running two marathons – but there’s no rule saying I can’t offer them up to the gods of the May Health Challenge.
Anyway, I may add to this list as I think more on it, but for now it’s a good start.
So what are you going to do? How are you going to healthify4 yourself? As I wrote earlier – whatever it is you do, make it your own, make it attainable, and own it.
And with that I say – bring on the May Health Challenge. We can do this.
2 Read none.
3 Which means that some days I’ll actually drink 1 whole glass of water! Amazing!
4 Healthify is a perfectly cromulent word.
- The risks of running a marathon (bbc.co.uk)
- Glass City Marathon Recap (Marcia) (momwifefitnesslife.wordpress.com)
- Saturday : that exercising on sleep deprivation does not work. (iwontdiet.wordpress.com)
- I Had A Sleep Study (inactiveactivist.wordpress.com)
- Ready to Run: Tips for the 2012 Boston Marathon (bostinno.com)