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Taking Health Advice … From a Sloth?

By Sara Butler

Live More Like a Sloth

Image Source: National Graphic

Sloths are everywhere. These lovable creatures with a permanent smile and a laid back attitude are a hot ticket these days. My tweens are obsessed with sloths. Maybe it’s an excuse not to clean their rooms, but it probably has more to do with how cute sloths are.

This got me thinking: What can you learn from an animal that only climbs down from a tree once a week to go to the bathroom? An animal that moves so slowly, it grows actual moss (OK, algae) on its fur? Turns out, there are quite a few things you can learn about health and wellness from the sloth. So channel your inner sloth and relax as you learn some healthy lessons from this odd creature.

Lesson No. 1: Always Have a Snack on Hand

The algae that grows in the fur of a sloth? It does more than just add some green highlights. Studies have found that the algae actually gets eaten by the sloth. That takes snacking on the go (or, in a sloth’s case, the no-go) to a new level. But when you move so slowly, it can be hard to get all the nutrients your body needs.

Humans seem to have the opposite problem. Many of us are on the go so much that we often end up reaching for convenience foods instead of foods that supply the nutrients we need for good health. You can channel your inner sloth by taking healthy snacks with you wherever you go. Whether it’s a road trip or just a day at work, taking along some whole-grain crackers and nut butter or hummus isn’t too much to ask. And probably tastes a lot better than algae.

Lesson No. 2: Slow Your Roll

When was the last time you stopped to smell the roses? People are so busy that many rush through daily life without stopping to take it in. Mindfulness has become a bit of a trend these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth giving a try. In fact, it’s something you should strive to incorporate into your life.

Sloths have no issues with living life in the slow lane -- they’re not all Flash from Zootopia, after all. Did you know they rarely move more than 320 feet in a single day? You don’t need to go that slow, and your chiropractor wants you to move your body every day for good health, but it’s a nice reminder that if you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, some really great moments are going to pass you by. Don’t live your life on autopilot.

Lesson No. 3: Always Strive to Get Enough Sleep

You may think that a sloth spends most of its day asleep, but the truth is they only sleep about nine hours per day. But they make sure to get that nine hours no matter where they are or what predators are lurking about. That’s a great life lesson for everyone because every person needs proper rest on the regular to be at their very best.

If you’re terrible at putting yourself to bed or are a night owl that only manages about six hours of sleep per night, then you need to make some changes. Create a nighttime routine, turn all screens off at least an hour before bed, and try not to eat a big meal before going to sleep. If you are still having trouble, then just remember the humble sloth who, even when faced with the stress of predators that want them as a midnight snack, manage to get a full night’s rest.

Sloths are more than just cute animals that hang around in a tree all day, they’re also healthy living gurus -- if you can slow down enough to notice.

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