A few weeks ago a group of women, close friends from college, had a reunion at the spa. I spent an incredible evening with them and I can’t remember laughing so much. Then one started talking about raising healthy children. She was an expert, of sorts, as she and her spouse had two sets of twins said, “Kids should come with instruction books.”
Another quipped up, “I wish there was a list of do’s and don’ts for this body.”
A third asked, “What are the ‘rules’ to creating a healthful life?”
The result of that conversation is this blog.
Browsing at a bricks and mortar bookstore or online, you can look at hundreds of books on how to care for your body. Some are excellent; others? Not so much.
Ignoring germs. Wash your hands often. Hand sanitizers have their place. However, for hands that look or smell bad, soap and water are needed. Hand washing, when done correctly, is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Good hand washing technique is easy to learn and can significantly reduce the spread of infectious diseases among both children and adults.
Having an uncontrolled appetite for sweets. Ditch your sugar habit. Forget the regular and diet sodas, too. New research has indicated that sugar and even the no-calorie but sweet drinks pack on pounds. There’s even a tie-in that is being debated in the medical world about sugar and high LDL cholesterol.
Spending too little time to read labels or knowing where your food comes from. Buying local is a priority for many of us. Yet don’t be fooled by signs that say organic but do not have the certification to back this up. Read the fine print. If there was one, nearly certain way to improve the menus of Americans it would be this: If you have to clean it, cook it, chop it or chew it well, the foods you’re switching to probably are much healthier than those fatty choices that add unwanted calories and fat to the body. Jarred applesauce is easy to eat, has little fiber and probably sugar. A big, luscious apple satisfies our brain’s need for sweets and contributes healthy fiber. Make simple switches like that to improve your menus.
Being inactive. You need not become a marathon runner, but make your goal to squeeze in some walking, hiking, cycling, swimming or a workout at the gym at least three times a week and on the “off days” squeeze in a long, brisk walk. Start slowly and talk with your doctor if you’re pregnant, have health concerns or are at risk for injury.
Forgetting about your waist. Weight around the middle is considered more deadly than other places on the body. By trimming some unnecessary calories you can lose fat throughout your body and at your waist, hence avoiding potential killers such as stroke, heart attack and diabetes. Every day, small choices such as walking a few blocks rather than driving and selecting fat-free dressing for a salad rather than a gob of fatty ranch-style have a huge impact on your health.
Becoming Polly Pessimist or Gloomy Gus. Choose friends carefully if you want to live a full and well life. Artist Herm Albright said, in Reader’s Digest, 1995, “A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”
Choosing to wear any old thing. Dress like someone who feels great and you will feel better. No need for a new wardrobe, unless you love to shop like I do. Instead dress to make yourself comfortable and happy. Just because you’re over 60 doesn’t mean you have to cover it all. Go online, browse the fashion magazine for tips, window shop and then put together some outfits that make you look and feel like a million.
Foregoing fun. When was the last time you enjoyed a good laugh? Do you even remember? Check out “8 Ways to Make Your Life More Fun.”
Discounting the power to change your future to a healthier and happier one. Think back to a time when you overcame a huge obstacle, something you thought was impossible. That same strength is inside you waiting to shine again, if you’ll let it out. Do you want to visit a nutritionist, come to the spa to renew your fitness vows, have time with a therapist or listening friend, sign up with a personal trainer, or get help with a habit that’s holding you back? Do it today. You’ll never be more ready.
Why not make a list of the small, significant changes that will become a lifetime of wellness strategies as you stay fit for life?