5 Pieces of Wellness Advice from Jessica Diaz
Jessica Diaz is an inspirational wellness speaker and writer who has shared her journey of surviving a stroke to become her healthiest version of herself, mind and body. Jessica is a Barre instructor, mother of two, certified personal trainer and spokesperson for the American Stroke Association. Who better than she to offer up wellness advice? Her 5 tips are below.
5 Pieces of Wellness Advice from Jessica Diaz
- 1. Move your body. I often get asked, “what is the best exercise?” I really do believe the answer is the best choice is the type of exercises/dance/movement that are enjoyable. I think a key aspect of maintaining health is being active, and being consistent about it. Whether this is daily walks, taking weekly classes like yoga, Pilates, Barre, weight lifting, dance, etc., or taking your workout outdoors for hikes or running. A commitment to moving is a great strategy for long-term health and is important in keeping the body able to perform regular daily activates later in life. While enjoying your workout is great and motivating, I do tell my students and clients that a well thought out workout routine should include exercise from each of the three key components of fitness: Cardiovascular training, resistance training and flexibility. For me, I fell in love with Barre and have been consistent with it for almost 15 years. The transformation I felt in my body and energy level was life changing and Barre gets your heart beat up, strengthens and lengthens the body.
- 2. Be vigilant about your health. What I have learned from having a stroke at the age of 36 is that it is so important to be vigilant about your health. High blood pressure (hypertension), like high cholesterol, can go undetected, especially if you are young and appear healthy. One way to help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke is to have your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar checked regularly and keep your own records so that you are in charge of monitoring any changes to your health. This is especially important if there is any family history of high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke. This should be a lifelong practice and it is never too early to start.
- 3. Embrace a more mindful approach to fitness. By “mindful,” I don’t just mean trying to be more present, more in the moment or more focused on breathing. I think of mindfulness in fitness as giving your body what it really needs. I see so many people whose workout schedules are very habit driven. I see many people sticking with the same fitness routine for a long time, sometimes years, even if they are not seeing the results they want or even if it is not necessarily making them feel good. One way to combat this is to try to shift your mindset from just following a standard routine to fueling your body with all the healthy benefits of movement. Use the same varied approach to your workouts that you would with food. Each day that you plan to move your body, try to be more aware of how you are feeling and match the intensity and type of exercises to what your body needs that day. I have seen amazing results with my clients from simply having incorporated this deeper awareness and mindfulness into their fitness choices.
- 4. Hydrate during your workouts. Ideally, a person should consume the same amount of water that was lost in sweat during the workout. This is hard to measure, so use your thirst as a guide to how much water intake you need after a workout. I recommend aiming to drink half your body weight in ounces per water, per day. If you are intensely working out, try to add in at minimum an additional sixteen ounces of water for every half-hour workout.
- 5. Make time for self-care. This is a huge challenge for many people, including myself. The term “self-care” used to conjure in me an image of someone lying in a bath of flower oil, surrounded by candles and beautiful music. I thought making time for myself had to be that involved. Though that bath sounds nice, I now understand self-care for me is something as simple as sitting for 5 minutes quietly in the morning with my coffee. I need that a lot of days. I think the first step in incorporating more self-care is our lives is determining what it is YOU actually need and what you resonate with. And this can change day-to-day. Some days it might be something that helps you relax. Other days, caring for yourself may include ways to motivate and inspire yourself, or maybe finding more balance in your schedule. I have found that a little self-care goes a long way in my sense of well-being. Like incorporating any changes in life, it takes time, but the more I can spend time checking in with what I need, the better I feel.
See what other wellness experts have to say in our full 5 Pieces of Wellness Advice series.