Have you ever stopped to wonder how healthy people stay healthy? Amidst the rush and whir of activity in our lives, we are bombarded with so much activity and stimulation that it is hard to believe that people have the time to “Stay Healthy”.
First off, “Healthy” is a very subjective term. Many people define health as the absence of disease- but does that really give us much to shoot for? From a holistic standpoint, health is a combination of mental/emotional and physical well-being. This means that we are more than just without disease. We are functioning optimally. We have reserves for times of stress. We are able to roll with the punches without falling apart.
Many people may appear healthy and fit, but have diets that are not nutrient dense and have blood chemistry that reflects that. I have seen some very thin people with poor cholesterol or blood sugar. You cannot judge health by someone’s looks!
It is important to have tools in your toolbox that can help you to build up a reserve of health for when times are stressful!
- SLEEP- Did you know that sleep is incredibly important to your body’s functioning? According to this study from the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep to have optimum health? Many people allow sleep to take the back seat when they are feeling rushed, when that inevitably leads to decreased performance. Think back to a time when you pulled an “all nighter” and then tried to function the next day. Your reflexes and your mental function were impaired. If you miss enough sleep, you even decrease your immune system function.
- EAT COLORFUL FOODS- (And not artificially colored foods) One of the easiest ways to improve your body’s nutrition is to eat a variety of fruits and veggies. Your plate should be colorful with peppers, radishes, beets, greens, and an assortment of fruits. The colors in plant foods correlate to some of their nutrients.
- TAKE TIME FOR QUIET- Many of us are constantly on the go and always have a device in hand like a computer or cell phone. This combination means that we are rarely in a quiet, peaceful state where we can be uninterrupted for even as few as 5 minutes. Whether you take this time to focus on breathing, meditation, journaling, or something else… it is important to slow your pace and just exist for awhile. (Even Good Housekeeping agrees!)
- EXERCISE REGULARLY- According to Nobel Prize Winner, Dr. Roger Sperry, “90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by movement of the spine.” When we exercise, we are moving our bodies and generating input for our brain, transmitting it through our nervous system. Chiropractors, like myself, see that when the spine is moving well, the brain communicates better with the body as in a manual muscle test. It makes sense that getting the body moving would feed our brains! Plus, exercise helps to produce anti-inflammatory neurochemicals and helps to improve mood!
- USE A PLANNER- Keeping organized, either in a paper planner or in your phone helps you to better manage your time. This can help tremendously with the amount of stress you perceive. By scheduling in things like exercise and quiet time, as well as grocery shopping and errands, it is easier to get a handle on what is already on your plate and if you can take on more.
Hopefully you got some tips or tools that you can immediately add to your daily routine. These are just some easy ways to improve your health by increasing your capacity. When you build a reservoir, your body can better handle periods of increased stress like deadlines, family emergencies, or the latest cold or flu.
Always remember to consult with your health care provider before making major lifestyle modifications. Changes in diet and exercise may need to be made under professional guidance. This blog is intended for general information purposes only.
What do you do to manage your health? Comment below!