(Tyler Christensen is a Nurse Practitioner at Total Care Clinics. In some of his own personal inspirational reading, he came across a pamphlet entitled “Steps to Health”. After reading, it is something he wanted to share with the Total Care family of patients. Tyler also interjected some of his thoughts as well. Let us know some of YOUR thoughts when it comes to maintaining the wellness of your family.)
Being healthy means a lot more than avoiding disease and sickness. Health encompasses mental, social, and spiritual aspects of life. Here are 8 steps to help improve your overall health.
1. Nutrition: The food you eat affects the way you fell and your ability to enjoy life. So making good, nutritious food choices is important. Have you ever looked at a food pyramid? The majority of your diet should consist of fruit, vegetables, and grains. Only a small portion of your diet should consist of meats, dairy and fats/oils. Most people consume the opposite with meats, dairy, and oils being the largest portion of their meals. A healthy diet can help you avoid many diseases and cancers.
2. Exercise: Exercise is essential to health. Your body was designed to be active. Being physically fit simply means being able to do all the things you have to do each day – with energy left for family and leisure activities. A simple daily exercise routine will help you achieve this level of physical fitness. Start exercising slowing and gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercises. Thirty minutes a day is an excellent goal to achieve. Exercise will surprisingly increase your sense of wellbeing, your level of energy, and will help prevent or reverse many diseases.
3. Water: Water is very important to health. Most people do not consume enough water. With the increase in caffeinated beverages, the amount of water consumed needs to increase due to the diuretic effects of caffeine. Many people use thirst as a guide for drinking. Thirst is the first sign of dehydration and a sign you have waited too long to drink. There is no good substitute for water. Soda’s and juices are not good alternatives to drinking water. Adults need to drink roughly 6-8 glasses of water per day. This amount can increase depending on exercise, hot weather, etc.
4. Sunshine: You may not think of sunshine as something that affects your health. Yet have you noticed how much more easily you tend to become depressed and discouraged during the winter months when days are short and the weather is often cloudy or raining? Sunlight also helps your body produce Vitamin D. This essential nutrient controls body hormones and cell growth; it helps your body absorb and use the calcium it needs for strong bones and teeth; and it works to develop a healthy immune and nervous system. Too much sunlight can be damaging, however, and cause skin cancers. So avoid prolonged exposure to bright sunlight; wear a hat and use sunscreen.
5. Balance/Moderation: A balanced lifestyle is a healthful lifestyle. Such a lifestyle does NOT mean “everything in moderation.” Instead, it means carefully including all those good things and habits that promote health while completely avoiding all those things and habits that destroy good health. Balance is about a lifestyle that increases quality of life. For example, overeating leads to stomach upset, and/or obesity. Undereating leads to malnutrition or starvation. Overwork leads to exhaustion or injury. Underwork leads to laziness and muscle weakness. Moderation is a key concept of living a healthy, happy life.
6. Fresh Air: Air is obviously crucial; after all, we can live only a few minutes without breathing. But the quality of the air we breathe is also important. Air pollution can cause illness and death if pollutants become concentrated for several days or weeks – especially for the very young and very old or for those suffering from congestive heart failure or chronic lung diseases. Probably the most damaging air pollution comes from smoking. The harmful effects of smoking have become so well documented that there is no longer any question that it is a killer. To help maintain good health, breathe deeply of pure, clean air.
7. Rest: Studies continue to show that adults need eight hours of good sleep per night to really function effectively. We may tell ourselves that we can get by on less, but sleep deprivation is a serious problem in today’s fast-paced society. Besides getting enough sleep, you need to include recreation in your life. Getting away for a day in nature, a walk in the mountains or along a beach, can refresh you and help you cope better with stress.
8. Faith: The spiritual dimension of health is also very important to your total wellbeing. Stress, worry, and guilt nibble away at your life force and can cause illness. A strong faith component gives your life a sense of purpose that can help you overcome the negative effects of stress, worry, and guilt.
Conclusion? These 8 easy steps to better health may seem simple, but they are powerful. Begin to put them into practice in your life today – and see the difference!