Wellness for Life
Achieving your wellness potential should be an achievement for life. Even when you slip…and, occasionally, you will…you’ll find your way back if you keep in mind my wellness top ten:
1. Know your body…and know your risks
Like any journey, you can’t find your way to your destination without information about where you are starting from and where you want to go. We don’t pick our genetics. They have a tremendous impact on how our body behaves and what possibilities, good and bad, it has in store for us. So, find out your family history. Do self exams, like testicular and breast exams and speak up when something does not feel right. You should be your own “best doctor” and work with your health professionals as a member of the team, not just as a recipient of information and orders.
2. Get regular check-ups
The world, and all of us in it, are busy. Find the time for you! See your doctor at least once a year and get the recommended preventative testing. Now with the Affordable Care Act in place, screening tests are free (no co-pay or co- insurance) for those with health insurance. Take advantage of health fairs at your work site. You could find out that you inherited your mom’s high blood pressure or your dad’s low cholesterol!
3. Be / stay smoke-free
Cigarette smoking kills. We debated this fact for years and now I think we can all agree that the data is overwhelming. There are better ways today to become smoke free than ever before. Medication plus behavioral therapy is a great combination to give up the habit for good.
4. Stay active, move your body
You don’t have to run a marathon. You don’t have to attend a spin class. Just move, and move every day. The recommendation is for 45 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week or at least 150 minutes a week. Gardening will do it. Cleaning the house will do it. That was my mom’s favorite exercise. Activities of daily living count. If you have a sedentary job, get up every hour and walk around for two minutes or do some stretching. More tips at “Be Active.”
5. Eat Smart
I personally like the Mediterranean diet (lots of veggies, fruits, nuts, fish and a little meat and whole grains). There is always a lot of controversy surrounding what you should consume for a healthy body. I believe that we should aim for at least 80% clean eating (limit refined sugars, processed foods and animal products). Then have fun with that last 20%. Don’t forget portion control. your stomach is only the size of your fist. Don’t overfill it at any one setting. More tips at “Eat Smart.”
6. Maintain a healthy weight
Whether you believe in the BMI (body mass index) or not, try to maintain a weight that is healthy for your stature (your height and bone and muscle mass). As we age, we must deal with a slower metabolism and a body that wants to store fat around our middle. Keep your eye on your portion size and those refined carbs. Move your body and you will age with both physical and mental health.
7. Get a good night’s sleep
Get your seven to 9 hours of sleep a night. And fit in a nap or two if that feels right to you. Take the electronics out of the bedroom and keep it dark and on the cooler side and you will sleep more soundly and wake refreshed. More tips at “ The Power of Sleep.”
8. Manage your stress
Whether you meditate, pray or play solitaire on your cell phone (guilty as charged!), you need time to de-stress and clear your head. My Aunt Rose said her rosary every day for all 95 of her wonderful years on this planet and she was one of the most vital people I ever knew. More tips at “Manage Your Stress.”
9. Drink water
Water, water, water – not soda! Soda has empty calories and will leach your bones of calcium. What about alcohol? The studies suggest that red wine is heart healthy so no more than one glass a day if you’re a woman and two glasses, if you are a man.
10 Rid your life of toxicity
Some foods can be toxic. Excessive alcohol can be toxic. Smoking is toxic. Guess what? People can be toxic too. Limit your exposure to people who do not make you feel your best. Toxicity is infectious. Watch the amount of time that you spend on Facebook and other social media. If you leave an interaction feeling worse than when you entered, listen to your body and stay away next time! More tips at “Nourish Your Spirit.”