To anyone that knows me, it’s no surprise that I am in to healthy living. I try my best to eat healthy, attend CrossFit regularly, and I truly believe in that whole concept that our body is our temple. That’s why when Healthline contacted me about hosting a guest post for them, I jumped at the opportunity! Please welcome Leslie Vandever, from Healthline, as she gives us her tips for achieving optimal health!
Optimal health. What a concept! What would it take to be totally healthy in every way?
Well, we’d never be able to splurge on a super-sweet snack or stay up too late and deprive ourselves of a full eight healthy hours of sound sleep. We’d enjoy push-ups and jogging and never get depressed. Our posture would be perfect and we’d never carry a pound more or less than the optimum weight for our age, gender, height and build. We’d never, ever be plagued by a cold or the flu.
Actually, maybe “optimal health” wouldn’t be very much fun. Not very realistic, either. But there’s nothing to say that we can’t try. And so in the spirit of the late, great John Harvey Kellogg, who once said “Keep your feet on the earth and your head up, but not too high in the sky. Be humble,” let’s find out what we can do to be healthier.
Developing healthy eating habits doesn’t take a diet book, just some common sense. Choose what you eat for each meal from the different food groups—vegetables and fruits, whole grains, protein from fish, lean meats, beans, or eggs, and finally, low-fat dairy products. Sugary foods should be reserved as a once-in-while treat, no more.
Drink six to eight coffee-cups full of water per day. Choose water instead of soda-pop when you’re out. Your body will function better if it’s well-hydrated.
Say no to highly processed and fast foods. They’re loaded with calories, salt, sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, and saturated fat. Instead, cook your meals fresh. Read the nutritional labels and know what you’re eating.
Get a yearly health exam
Your doctor will run tests and examine you to check several common health indicators, such as blood pressure, blood glucose levels and cholesterol levels. The idea is to catch problems before they start or catch them early, when they can be treated with the greatest success. By paying attention to your physical health, you’ll know what needs to be done to get closer to your “optimum health” goal.
Get some sleep
Sleep is vital. The average adult needs about seven hours of sleep every night for optimum health. How can you make sure you catch your Z’s?
- Go to bed each night and get up each morning at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room with no distractions. That means no computer or TV.
- If you’re having trouble “shutting your brain down,” try counting your breaths. When your mind tries to chase off on another tangent, gently bring it back to your breath and resume counting. Often, that’s all you’ll need to drift off.
- If you still have trouble after trying the tips above, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to help.
Move that body
Humans were made to move. But today’s culture keeps many of us stuck behind a desk and, when we get home, too whipped to do more than watch TV or surf the Internet. What to do?
- For five minutes, three times a day, stand up, stretch and do some gentle weight-bearing exercises with small hand-weights or resistance bands. Run in place or walk around the block, fast.
- Next, add a brisk, 15-minute walk each day during your lunch hour.
If you do these exercises, you’ll be meeting the Mayo Clinic’s exercise guidelines for adults. It adds up to two-and-a-half hours a week of moderate exercise. Yay you! You’re well on your way to optimum health.
For more health information, click here.
Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer. She also writes a blog about living well with rheumatoid arthritis called RheumaBlog, under the pen-name “Wren.” In her spare time, Vandever enjoys cooking, reading and working on the Great American Novel.
- Physical Activity for Everyone: Guidelines. (2011, Mar. 30) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on January 20, 2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/index.html
- Laskowski, E.D. Exercise: How Much Do I Need Every Day? (n.d.) Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on January 20, 2014 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/exercise/expert-answers/faq-20057916
- Regular Check-Ups Are Important. (2012, Mar. 6) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on January 20, 2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/family/checkup/
- Insufficient Sleep is a Public Health Epidemic. (2014, Jan. 13) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on January 20, 2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/features/dssleep/
- Sleep Is Vital to Our Health and Well-Being. (n.d.) National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved on January 20, 2014 from http://www.sleepfoundation.org/
- Nutrition and Healthy Eating. (n.d) Mayo Clinic. Retrieved January 20, 2014 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/basics/healthy-diets/hlv-20049477
- Aim for a Healthy Weight. (n.d.) Healthy Eating Plan. National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute. National Institutes of Health. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Retrieved on January 20, 2014 from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/calories.htm