My husband is struggling with a health issue right now. My sister-in-law has many health issues. I don’t have the energy I’d like to have. A friend struggles with her weight. I believe everyone on the planet, at certain times or seasons of their lives anyway, could live a healthier lifestyle. That is what motivates me to write about six ways in particular you can have better health.
You will probably want to scroll quickly through the headings that follow and say, “Nothing new. I know all that,” and then be tempted to go to the next blog on your list. Please don’t do that. Bear with me. Ask yourself, “Am I truly doing this in my life—everyday?” Because if you’re not, then there is room for improvement.
1. Move Your Body
I know I’ve said this before. I know you’ve probably heard this a bazillion times. We do not get enough exercise. If you do not currently have an exercise program, please do not start with running a mile today. Start slow. Get out of the recliner and turn off the television without using the remote. Walk to the neighbor’s instead of driving the car. Ride your bike to the store. Then, once you’re used to the motion, start a stretching program. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or organized. While waiting for the coffee pot in the morning, reach for the ceiling and then bend and touch your toes a few times. Once the kinks are out, move on to something a little more taxing. If you need accountability, join an exercise class or get a walking partner. Just get moving.
2. Drink Pure Water
I don’t want to get into a discussion about how good your tap water is for you or the downside of drinking out of plastic bottles. I just want you to drink water. Stop putting those coins in the machine that spits out aluminum cans. Stop going through the drive-thru for a steaming mug of joe. When you are thirsty, drink water. If you need to know how much is enough use this formula.
Body weight x .5 = ounces of water to drink daily
That means a 200 pound person needs 100 ounces of water per day. One hundred ounces is a little over 3 quarts. This formula is for a normal day. In the hot summer, or during exercise, our bodies require more.
3. Eat Fresh Foods
How many times a week do you eat fast food? How many Box Tops for Education could you save for your children’s school? Forget the Box Tops. You will do better to eat things without barcodes. The rule in our home is to eat our food as close to the way God made it as possible. That means an apple before applesauce before apple pie. An acquaintance has not eaten in a fast food establishment in years. Want incentive to join him? Watch the movie Food, Inc.
4. Breathe Fresh Air
Most Americans live and work in climate-controlled environments. Central heating and air-conditioning, office windows that do not open, even A/C in our automobiles, deprive our lungs of fresh air. If you work in an office, the air your co-workers cough into gets circulated into your cubicle. So what can you do about it? Go outside for breaks and lunch. Breathe deep. At home, open up the windows whenever possible. Let the breeze in. Enjoy.
5. Wash Your Hands
As soon as we come home from a trip to town my kids know to head straight to a sink and wash their hands with soap. At the grocery, we use the courtesy wet wipes and clean the cart handle before using it. We’ve also used them to wipe our hands when leaving the store. I never use the cashier’s pen. How many people have touched that pen that day and how healthy are they? My daughter suffered with mononucleosis last year. Looking back, she knows how she got it. She went to apply for a test, used the public pen, and stuck it in her mouth! Ugh! I did teach her better. Now I’m not promoting germaphobia here. Just a little common sense.
6. Go To Bed Early
There is truth in the saying, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Our bodies utilize the sleep we get before midnight better than those hours after midnight. Going to bed at a consistent hour and getting up at a consistent hour each day (even on weekends) is important. Sleep deprivation can lead to chronic fatigue, depression, hypertension or memory loss.
I could go on. I could get more specific. But I don’t think I need to. These six things are so basic most people overlook them. It’s easier to pop a pill, take a supplement, or try herbs than it is to change your diet. But that is so backwards. Work on these things and let me know how you do. I’d love to hear your stories.
Photo by Jesse Gardner