Can you form a new habit in 21 days? Maybe, maybe not. But it does seem like a decent amount of time to try out new behaviors to see if we can (or even want to) turn them into habits.
That was the idea behind our 21-day health challenge, which we kicked off with a webinar, appropriately, on January 21, 2021. While the theme ties in with the New Year’s resolution that so many of us make—to be healthier in the new year—the goal of the challenge is actually twofold: to help people discover ways in which they can become healthier and happier. After all, the two outcomes are inherently integrated. Better health is most assuredly something to be happy about, and positive feelings (e.g., happiness) can, in turn, boost our health.
Designing Our Challenge In A Challenging Time
As we set out to design our webinar, we wanted to make it interactive and fun. Naturally, we enlisted the help of our fitness coordinator, Ryan Schuhler, who’s an expert when it comes to engaging residents at Emerald Heights in physical activities. One of his “secrets” is to make an activity or class feel more like play than work.
Like the rest of our staff, Ryan has had to adapt his approach and the Emerald Heights wellness program in response to the pandemic. That has meant finding ways to keep residents active and engaged at a time when group gatherings, including fitness classes, have had to be put on hold.
In fact, with the Emerald Heights wellness program essentially forming the very backbone of our community, Ryan has probably been under as much pressure as anyone on our staff to come up with ways to keep people connected, while also keeping them protected. And we will tell you, he and the other three certified personal fitness trainers on his staff have done a remarkable job. From the daily classes they lead on our in-house TV channel to the library of videos they’ve put together (which are available to everyone on YouTube) and the various outdoor activities that residents can partake in when the weather permits, there’s no shortage of options for staying active here at Emerald Heights—all while following the social distancing guidelines.
Ryan, brimming with enthusiasm, as usual, helped us meet our objectives with regard to designing the webinar by finding a fun way to pique our participants’ interest. For those who signed up early enough, we sent out stretchy TheraBand resistance bands, and during the webinar, Ryan demonstrated several exercises that anyone can do to help improve flexibility, strength, posture, and range of motion.
He also noted during the webinar that he’s a proponent of changing up the usual routine to keep things fresh and interesting. That, incidentally, is another component of our 21-day challenge: our challenge calendar, which we also sent to those who attended the webinar, features a different way each day to add something extra that’s intended to improve one’s health and/or increase one’s happiness. Whether it’s a recipe for a healthier version of carrot cake or a mixed berry smoothie bowl, a link to a full-body stretch video or a posture and balance class (led by our very own Ryan Schuhler), or ways to relax through peaceful music or meditation.
By the way, if you’d like to receive our 21-day health challenge calendar, we’ll tell you how in just a bit.
Want To Improve Your Mood? Get Moving!
Remember what we said earlier about health and happiness going hand in hand? Research bears that out—just do a quick search online using the phrase “relationship between health and happiness” and you’ll see what we mean.
As the National Institute on Aging notes, there are many benefits associated with exercise beyond the obvious improvements in physical health.1 Whether you prefer to go for walk or a bike ride, do some yoga or tai chi, go dancing (even if it’s in your living room) or take part in some other activity, the key is to get your body going!
Even a relatively short period of physical activity can:
- Help ward off depression
- Counteract the effects of, or even reduce, stress
- Enhance your emotional well-being
- Give you more energy
- Make it easier to get a good night’s sleep
If you have physical limitations, do some online research or talk with a qualified professional to find out how you can safely increase your level of activity. For example, as Ryan demonstrated in our webinar, you can perform many exercises while seated.
For more about the benefits of exercise, tips on getting started and staying motivated, and plenty of other useful information about being active, check out this page on the National Institute on Aging website.
Add Some Healthy Habits To Your Calendar For 2021
If you weren’t able to participate in our “21 Days to a Happier and Healthier You” webinar, you can still do your own 21-day challenge. If you’d like to view the webinar (or any of our other virtual presentations), you can do that here. To receive a PDF of the 21 Days in 2021 health challenge calendar with links to recipes, videos, and more, send us a request and we’ll get that to you right away.
We look forward to resuming all of our usual social and group activities when it’s finally safe to have events with larger groups again, including the day hikes and other outings that everyone at Emerald Heights enjoys so much. In the meantime, we invite you to find our fitness videos on YouTube—there’s everything from Zumba to seated stretching to “core on the floor” classes—so you can get a feel for what Ryan and our other wellness specialists offer here at Emerald Heights. While you’re at it, be sure to have some fun!
To learn more about how the Emerald Heights lifestyle could help you in your quest to add more healthy habits to your daily routine for 2021, send us a message or call us at (866) 822-0916 to set up a personal tour. (Yes, we are still doing in-person tours. Ask, and we’ll gladly share with you how we’re able to do so while taking the recommended precautions.)
1 “The Emotional Benefits of Exercise,” National Institute on Aging, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/infographics/emotional-benefits-exercise