How to Design Your Home to Help you Move More, Eat Better, and Sleep Soundly
By Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCCWC, wellness design consultant and author of Wellness by Design: A Room-by-Room Guide to Optimizing Your Home for Health, Fitness and Happiness
The Danish Twin Study established that only about 20 percent of how long the average person lives is dictated by genes, while about 80 percent is influenced by lifestyle and environment. Most people don’t think about how much their homes and environments impact their longevity, but the right environment can absolutely set you up for success. Here are some tips for creating a home environment that will nudge you to move more, help you eat wisely, and sleep soundly.Most people don’t think about how much their homes and environments impact their longevity, but the right environment can absolutely set you up for success. —@JGWellnessDesgn Click To Tweet
Invest in a slow cooker or multi-cooker for convenient, healthy cooking.
Cooking at home saves you money, produces healthier, lower-calorie meals, and builds family bonds. So why don’t we do it? Recipes are often complex, requiring cookware we don’t have and skills we haven’t mastered. And the big reason: We don’t have time. The secret solution to easy cooking at home: the slow cooker. Many Blue Zones recipes allow you to pour five to ten ingredients into a slow cooker in the morning, turn it on low, and forget about it. By dinnertime, you’ll have a healthy Blue Zones meal.
Add an anti-fatigue mat to save joints for training workouts and events.
We like to say “inconvenience yourself.” By cooking at home, doing dishes by hand, and doing household chores without outsourcing, you can easily add more activity to your days. An anti-fatigue mat like this can help relieve stress on your knees and feet if you’re on your feet all day.
Enhance your sleep with blackout window coverings.
Getting enough sleep keeps the immune system functioning smoothly, decreases the risk of heart attack, and recharges the brain. Adults both young and old need between 7 to 9 hours per night. To help get it, go to bed at the same time every night and wake up the same time each morning; keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool; and use a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Enhance your sleep with a white noise machine and/or ceiling fan.
Studies have shown that white noise machines can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep by nearly 40% compared to people who don’t use these devices. Some studies have shown these devices can help babies and young children fall asleep more quickly, as well.
Personalize your décor with fitness motivators (e.g., art photography of your favorite running or hiking spots).
To engender a shared sense of pride— one of the three strands of happiness—a household can also benefit from a “pride shrine,” a place where pictures, objects, and other items remind everyone of things they share and can be proud of.
Work from Home
Add desk risers so you can do some computer work standing up.
Add a mini-elliptical under your desk for extra movement while seated.
While it doesn’t replace your daily walk, adding extra movement throughout the day helps you raise your daily non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).
Photograph by Ben Sellon for Fully // Wellness by Design (Tiller Press, 2020) © J. Gold
Organize your athletic gear so that it’s easy to find and grab on your way out the door.
By putting your athletic gear, walking shoes, bicycle and helmet, or tennis racket by the door, you’ll see the items daily and it will give you a nudge to use them often.
Click here for more tips to help you make the healthy choice the easy choice in every room of your home.
Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCCWC is a Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach, wellness design consultant, and author of Wellness by Design: A Room-by-Room Guide to Optimizing Your Home for Health, Fitness and Happiness (Tiller Press). Follow her on Instagram at @JGWellnessDesign and on Twitter at @JGWellnessDesgn.