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Good health is not just being void of any disease or frailty. To become or to stay healthy and fit encompasses physical, mental, social and spiritual well being. Good health should not be our purpose for living but rather the means by which we can live a rich and rewarding life. Here are some tips on how to become / stay healthy I have found most useful:
1.Do not follow the USDA Pyramid
according to “Eat, Drink and be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating” by Walter C. Willett MD. and P. J. Skerrett. Dr. Walter C. Willett is Chair of the Department of Nutrition at the School of Public Health at Harvard and also a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
2. Eat Breakfast
not an old wives tale – A nutritious breakfast, consisting primarily of protein (helps to feel full longer) and/or whole grains, has been linked to lower cholesterol levels, more energy for physical activity, a higher level of mental alertness and focus and weight control.
no rocket science here – can help prevent heart disease and stroke, reduce high blood pressure, help to regulate type2 (non insulin dependent) diabetes, build or preserve muscle mass thus helping to reduce your body fat and improve your body’s ability to use calories. Helps seniors gain strength and lessen the likelihood of falling.
4. Quit Smoking
Besides being one of the leading causes of lung cancer it has been noted that women smokers can lose over 3% of their bone mineral density for every 10 years of smoking and this increases in women after menopause. Speeds up the progression of HIV –> AIDS (People who smoke and are found to be HIV positive appear to progress to AIDS quicker than those who do not smoke). Smoking has a negative impact on our immune system. You’ll be 4 times less likely to get certain diseases like Crohn’s disease, heart disease and acid reflux just to name a few.
5. Get Enough Sleep/Rest
Weight gain (There have been studies linking people who continually sleep under six hours a night to a higher than average body mass index (BMI) than people who sleep eight hours a night). If you suffer from hypertension an Inadequate amount of sleep (less the 7 to 8 hrs of sleep) could cause your blood pressure to become elevated. Poor sleep has also been correlated with a lower life expectancy.
6. Weight Control
Risks of not keeping your weight under control are many: Coronary artery disease, Type 2 diabetes, High blood pressure, Breathing problems, Gallstones as well as some cancers. If you weight is not under control you need to change certain things in your life such as your lifestyle habits. Good habits include but are not limited to: Eating smaller portions and eating more often ( 5 to 6 small meals as opposed to 2 or 3). Include a certain amount of exercise or physical activity each day (even a walking regimen or low impact aerobic exercise routine 3 to 4 times a week will help to start – house cleaning is also good although not always the most appreciated method).
7. Incorporate Humor into Your Day
Humor is known to relieve stress, lower blood pressure and may boost your immune system.
8. Form Social Bonds
Our relationships with other people forms a foundation which affects our ability to cope with certain types of stress. It also affects our self-esteem.
“And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and the sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet