The Many Benefits of a Healthy Daily Routine
February 20, 2019 / Corporate Wellness
Six-time Super Bowl champion. Fulfilling career. Supermodel wife. Tom Brady really seems to have all the luck. Even if you aren’t a New England Patriots fan, you have to wonder: “How does he do it?”
So, what’s his secret? Pure talent and good looks? While those don’t detract, Brady’s healthy daily routine certainly contributes to his success.
5:30 a.m. Wake up, hit the gym
8 a.m. Breakfast with family
10 a.m. Beach time
11 a.m. Scheduled nap
1 p.m. Surf and workout
4 p.m. Massage and rehab
6 p.m. Dinner with family
7 p.m. Review films, strategy with coach, charity work
7:30 p.m. Time with family, read bedtime stories
8:30 p.m. Lights out, sleep
Beach time, scheduled naps, surfing and massages? Sign us up! Waking at 5:30 a.m. on vacation — not so much.
But if there’s one takeaway from Brady’s day, it’s routine. His days are structured even though he’s not actively playing. Why? The benefit brings us back to circadian rhythms — your body’s daily cycle of physical, mental and behavioral changes.
Circadian rhythms are influenced by both natural and environmental factors. For example, when daylight (an environmental factor) shines through the window in the morning, it influences your body to wake up. When you travel to a new time zone, your biological clock (a natural factor) makes it hard for you to adjust to the new time.
Your lifestyle and routine (or lack thereof) can affect the environmental factors that influence your circadian rhythms. In turn, these rhythms impact many areas of your health, including hormones, sleep cycles, eating habits and digestion. In fact, research shows that sticking to a consistent, healthy daily routine can positively impact your health.
Feeling inspired to help your employees adopt great daily routines and become champions in their own right? Focus on these areas to get started.
Help Your People Create Healthy Daily Routines
A Good Night’s Sleep
Sticking to a nightly routine – i.e. waking and sleeping at the same time every day, even on weekends — can help to establish a regular sleep pattern, making it easier to get to sleep and stay asleep. Getting those Zs can greatly improve overall health, too. Research shows irregular sleep schedules increase the likelihood of higher cholesterol and body mass index, as well as symptoms of bipolar disorder and major depression.
Give your people tips that help them develop regular routines before bed that relax both mind and body. Offer them simple tools to track nightly habits like darkening their bedroom, removing electronic devices and going to bed at the same time each night, so they can take the first step toward becoming more rested employees.
Healthy Habit Tracking
When people get rewarded for tracking small, healthy things that they do each day, they are more likely to do them. And when they do them every day, they become healthy habits for life.
Whether it’s coupled with social support or built-in incentives, provide your employees with a platform that helps them track activities likes taking the stairs or eating a healthy breakfast to help them turn those healthy habits into healthy routines.
Regular Breaks Throughout the Day
Taking breaks throughout the day can relieve stress, boost productivity and clear the mind. Encourage your employees to add them to their calendars and treat them like an important task or meeting so they stick to them.
Healthy Eating Habits
Research from Salk Institute professor and circadian rhythms expert, Dr. Satchidananda Panda, shows eating within an eight- to 10-hour window aligned with your circadian rhythms (between morning and early evening) can improve your metabolic health.
Make sure that employees feel comfortable using their full lunch breaks, minimize lunch meetings whenever possible and provide people with a place to eat away from their desks or work stations.
Scheduled Physical Activity
Regular physical activity has an enormous amount of benefits. And, when you schedule physical activity, it becomes a priority and part of a healthy daily routine. Sponsoring company-wide activity challenges, enabling peer to peer activity competitions, turning Fridays into walking meeting days or giving people the flexibility to use the onsite gym on their lunch breaks are all great ways to foster a fit and active workforce.
While an individual’s routine is entirely up to them, give employees the resources, structure and support they need to build healthy habits and you’ll see a lasting positive impact on your business.