Get and Stay Healthy – Here’s How
Are you healthy? Or at least mostly healthy? If so, I’m sure you know it’s extremely important to maintain that good health. We live in difficult times. But it’s considerably easier to deal with problems when we’re healthy.
Are you unhealthy? Or mostly unhealthy? Life will continue to throw a lot of stuff your way. Doing everything possible to regain that good health you once enjoyed should be job one.
Now, both staying healthy and getting healthy are easier said than done. We’re all aging.
Cold and flu season is right around the corner. And if you haven’t heard, there’s a pandemic that refuses to go away.
It’s in Our Hands
We’re always thinking about our health. It could be our heart health or our blood pressure. Or our achy muscles and joints. Or our stress level.
How we feel physically and mentally has a tremendous effect on how we approach each day. Especially as we age. It plays a major role in our attitude and relationships. And it often determines what we can or cannot attempt to do.
To maximize our health, many of us eat the right foods. And get plenty of exercise and sleep. Sometimes we fail in these areas. But we all know there is a direct link between what we do and how we feel.
There are plenty of things we can do to tip the scales in our favor when it comes to maintaining or achieving good health. Let’s take a look at some of them.
How to Do It
Drink more water and fewer sugary drinks. As we age, our sensation of thirst is not as strong as it once was. Especially if we’re not perspiring much. It’s important to drink plenty of water, even when we don’t feel thirsty. In addition to keeping us hydrated, water carries nutrients throughout our bodies and helps lubricate joints. Sugary drinks increase our risk for all sorts of health issues.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Most fruits and vegetables are loaded with prebiotic fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Studies have shown that people who eat more vegetables and fruits than others tend to live longer, healthier lives. While you’re at it, consume plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish such as salmon is filled with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients.
Exercise more often. This can be a serious challenge for some. Especially for those who are not as physically fit as they once were. But it’s like other habits. The more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Exercise is also a big help for weight management and mood-boosting. Plus increased strength and healthy blood circulation. When possible, exercise outdoors for natural Vitamin D from the sun.
Stretch your muscles. Once you’ve finished exercising, it’s tempting to plop down in a chair or take a shower. But this is an ideal time to stretch your muscles, which are much more pliable when warm. Start with your neck and work your way down. You’ll be amazed what daily stretching will do for your flexibility and range of motion.
Snack smarter. Many of us get hungry between meals. That’s OK, but often what we put into our bodies isn’t so great. Instead of reaching for a sugary treat that will only pick us up briefly before a crash, eat healthy snacks. Carrots, celery sticks, apples and other fresh vegetables and fruits will do our bodies a lot more good. And of course, limit alcohol consumption.
Get the proper amount of sleep. Poor sleep can lead to all sorts of health problems. It can reduce mental and physical performance. And it’s a risk factor for weight gain. Some people who don’t sleep well compensate by eating more. And usually, it’s junk food. Never sacrifice sleep to get that one extra thing done in your life.
Breathe deeply. Sometimes a mental exercise will do us more good than a physical exercise. Especially if we’re stressed about something. When you find yourself feeling anxious, you’re probably not breathing normally. Most of us only breathe to one-third of our lung capacity. Sit back and take deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Practice good hygiene. Hand washing, hair washing, bathing and dental care all promote good overall health. And that’s especially important during a pandemic. Trim your nails to prevent infected nail beds. Brush and floss your teeth to limit bacteria in your mouth and maintain healthy gums. There are also social implications to consider.
Connect with others. For many of us, social distancing has made this a challenge. But our need to connect has not gone away. Studies show that isolation can negatively affect our health. For now, some of us have filled this void through texting, phone calls and video chats with friends and family members. And when the time is right, volunteering in your community can promote general wellbeing.
Get an annual physical. This should include blood work, blood pressure and cholesterol measurements. Plus a urine sample, weight and balance checks, etc. Blood work can tell your doctor which areas need improvement. And it might help catch a potentially serious problem before it’s too late.
Getting and staying healthy is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. Regardless of other circumstances. I hope you’ll do what it takes to get there.