Two Things To Improve Your Health Instantly

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I’m going to rock your world this morning and give you the gift of not one, but TWO things you can add to your daily routine that will not only provide a bevy of health benefits, but make you feel like a million bucks to boot.  Which is basically a health benefit in of itself so that makes completely no sense.

Whatever, just roll with it.

Help me, help you.

Now full disclosure:  what I’m about to share with you isn’t anything Earth shattering or something you’ve never heard before.  I’m not going to sit here and disclose some super secret Russian quasi-isometric drop-set protocol that’s going to add 50 lbs to your deadlift in two weeks, nor am I going to blow sunshine up your ass and tell you that drinking acai berry juice mixed with unicorn tears and the back hair of an angel is going to somehow add ten years to your life.

Nope, I’ll save all that nonsense for the gurus and quacks out there on the interwebzzzz who think a ham sandwich is smarter than you.

All I want to share are two things that I feel will help improve your health and well-being almost instantly.  Both are absolutely FREE, and both are something that EVERYONE can implement within five minutes.  Ready?

Drink more water and go for a walk.

Seriously, that’s it. No target heart rate talk.  No breaking down macronutrient percentages.  Paleo this, intermittent fasting that.  Just drink more water and go for a walk.

“But that’s lame Tony.”

Au contraire my friend.

I don’t have the stats in front of me at the moment, but chances are you live in a state of mild dehydration on a daily basis. Do pee less than 3-5 times a day?  Does your pee look like battery acid?  Yep, your  (probably)dehydrated.

I’m not going to make this into some campaign on the benefits of drinking more water, but just to highlight a few things:

Staying hydrated:

– Helps you look younger.

– Helps with weight loss – it’s a great appetite suppressant , and it also prevents fluid retention.  When you’re dehydrated the body will retain water.

– Combats skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis.

– Helps reduce the incidence of headaches.

– Improves joint health.  I know when I stay hydrated my knees feel infinitely better.

– Drinking water also helps your body burn stored fat. If you’re not drinking enough water, your liver will be forced to help your kidneys detoxify your body. When you drink plenty of water, your kidneys don’t need any extra help, so your liver will be able to metabolize stored fat more efficiently. Drinking water flushes toxins from your body and prevents constipation.

** And yes, this assumes a caloric deficit.

My rule of thumb for many of the athletes who ask me how much water should they be drinking is to take half your bodyweight and drink that much in ounces.  So, if you weigh 200 lbs, you’d shoot for 100 ounces per day.  And that’s just the minimum.

That number will go up the more active you are.

Here’s on simple actionable item you can start implementing tomorrow.  The very first thing you do when you wake up is to walk to the kitchen sink or grab your Brita, pour yourself a ginormous glass of water, and guzzle that sumbitch down.

And then….

Go For a Walk

This is something I used to do quite often a few years ago, but for some reason stopped.  As of this week I’m back on the walking train.

I live in a very walkable city and it’s actually really nice to walk around early in the AM without all the hustle and bustle of city chaos surrounding me.  If anything I find it rather relaxing and a perfect way to start my day.

There’s two ways I can approach it:

1.  Just walk and enjoy  my surroundings.

2.  Grab my iPod and listen to a podcast.  Lately I’ve been crushing Dr. Jonathan Fass and Bret Contreras’ Strength of Evidence Podcast, which you can check out HERE.

The way I see it, if I’m going to spend a good 20-30 minutes walking I might as well get smarter while I do it.

And the cool thing is that you don’t even need two guys chirping in your year in order to get smarter in the first place.  There’s a mountain of research out there demonstrating that daily strolls help make people smarter.  More specifically, walking has been shown to decrease the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s.

What’s more, other benefits include: reduced risk of type II diabetes, improved sex life (oh yeah!), improved immune function, and a whole host of other stuff.

In many ways, walking is fairly underrated if you ask me.  I’m not going to deem it the best form of EXERCISE – it’s walking – but I do feel that if more people turned off Dancing With the Stars and did more of it, they’d feel infinitely better about themselves.  And, probably be more productive too.

I mean come on!  I went for one this morning and ended up writing close to a 1000 word blog post on drinking water and walking. And I included a unicorn tears reference.  If that doesn’t tell you something, I don’t know what to say.

Like I Said

Nothing revolutionary.  And nothing remotely sexy or new. Maybe even a bit lame.  But what have you got to lose by at least trying?

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Comments for This Entry

  • Reader

    Hi Tony! I kind of agree with you, especially on the walking part. But could you please provide some evidence/research regarding the following part? "Do pee less than five times a day? Does your pee look like battery acid? Yep, your dehydrated." Thanks!

    June 27, 2013 at 11:11 am | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Hi Reader - I;ve always been told that the darker your pee, the more dehydrated you are. Is that something that really needs to be backed up by research? The 5x per day thing is just something I heard once from another respected professional. I'm sure it's something that's not set in stone, but I think 5x per day isn't out of the ordinary. *shrugs*

      June 27, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Reply to this comment

      • Reader

        Well, the 5x a day is surely not set in stone and has to do with various factors etc.. Agree :) Regarding : I've always been told that the darker your pee, the more dehydrated you are. Well, I bet that you are not one of those guys who live by the sayings of others without investigating. Reminds me of dudes in the gym saying, "Bro, many reps => cut/fat burn! It's always been like that!". I read your blog and I believe that's not your type Tony. So yes, I think that it should be backed up by some research or at least some good scientific evidences. I am confident that you do not want to spread unjustified knowledge, especially in written form.

        June 27, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Reply to this comment

        • TonyGentilcore

          Dually noted Reader. A little passive aggressive I see.....;o) SPeaking truthfully, I don't have any scientific backing - but I have been told be numerous doctors and physicians that that is a very easy and well-known way to judge your hydration levels. Take that for what it's worth.

          June 27, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Reply to this comment

          • Reader

            I can assure you that I had no intention to look aggressive or anything like that. I apologize if you saw my comment as such. Doctors' words are always a good thing and yes they are worth something! I might look up into it and let you know if I stumble upon more evidence! In the meanwhile, keep your posts coming!Cheers!

            June 28, 2013 at 10:23 am

          • TonyGentilcore

            NO worries Reader. I WANT people to chime and call me out if the info I provide is wrong or inaccurate. I'm in this game to learn just like everyone else. But honestly, I really do feel this falls into the "common sense" category....hence my recommendation. However if you happen to stumble across anything please let me know!

            June 30, 2013 at 9:08 am

        • Samuel

          Surely the scientific evidence is common sense. Urine is a waste product; its colour produced by the presence of waste (specifically the yellow is from urobilin). If you are well hydrated you excrete more water. What happens when you add water to another coloured liquid (say, a glass of coke)? The colour concentration decreases and it lightens and eventually if you add enough virtually disappears. If you are dehydrated you will excrete less water as it is being retained. What do you suppose would happen if there is less water going into the urine? Here's a hint - the opposite of when you add more. The colour concentration increases and darkens.

          June 27, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Reply to this comment

          • TonyGentilcore

            Well put Samuel and essentially what I was getting at. But if Reader knows something we don't, I'd be more than happy to listen.

            June 28, 2013 at 4:41 am

          • Reader

            As I said in my reply above, I don't know something more. And that is the very first reason I asked. :)

            June 28, 2013 at 10:19 am

          • Reader

            I agree with most of what you are saying and I am pretty familiar with the physics behind high/low concentrations. And yes, less water with the same amount of constituent = higher concentration. The part I am not sure about is why this should mean "dehydration". Someone could equally claim that low intensity color in urine means over-normal hydration... The argument is the same... That's why I asked for some relevant study or something like that. Please note that I do not claim that what you say is right/wrong. In fact I believe it is pretty possible. I just don't know for sure and try to find some evidence in support of the claims. :)

            June 28, 2013 at 10:18 am

          • Art

            Hung up on the 'clearer urine equals better hydration' concept, Reader? Wait until you get to the walking part of the article because then we will have to pull away the guys trying to cure diseases to figure out if the kinesiology of bilateral movement is actually doing more harm than good for bi-peds.

            June 29, 2013 at 3:12 am

    • c

      if it's neon/fluorescent it's probably do to b vitamins. If you drink energy drinks, or take a multivitamin this is why, and they are very potent, so not a sign youre dehydrated. But if dark then yes because that means the waste products are becoming more and more concentrated due to lack of available water. Ive always heard it should be clear to light/pale yellow

      June 27, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Sam Thomas

    For that walk motivation, get a dog and take her for a walk every evening. After about two weeks, she won't stop reminding you that it's walk time. Like ever. Rain, shine, snow, sub-zero, doesn't matter. First dinner helping, she's across the room. Second dinner helping, she's a my feet. When the dinner dishes are being put away, she's in my face to remind me with a tail wag and voracious barking. "Walk me Papa, walk me!"

    June 27, 2013 at 11:16 am | Reply to this comment

    • James Boelter

      Dogs certainly keep you honest about the whole walking habit. My border collie expects a couple of "constitutionals" every day and a couple of 60-90 minute jaunts at least twice a week. I'm not sure if that's a burden or a benefit.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Jake Johnson

    I pee 5 times in the first two hours of the day! Friggin' coffee.....

    June 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Michael Thompson

    Unless you are consuming a craptastic amount of vitamin B if your pee is dark you knee to drink. By I way I probably pee 2-3 times a day and my pee is white... But I've been told I'm a freak and I know its not normal!

    June 27, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Emil

    I would suggest that Reader (and anyone else interested in the matter) google "urine color hydration chart". It's usually a 7-8 step scale and it derives from research from 1994. Unless your urine is absolutely clear, and I do mean not even a hint of coloration, you are not over-hydrated (and to be frank this is a condition that is virtually unknown in the modern caffeineated World). The effects of dehydration on performance are well-researched with as little as a 2% loss of body water resulting in impaired performance. Anything over 6% loss of body water is a severe health hazard.

    June 30, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Reply to this comment

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