Early to bed, early to rise
Published 11:44 am Monday, June 19, 2023
What comes to mind when you hear “healthy lifestyle”?
Some people think eating nutritious foods makes for a healthy way of life. Others believe it means engaging in regular physical activity, yet some suggest healthy living means prioritizing your mental health. Fortunately, all three thought groups are correct.
We know when we’re not at our healthiest, we just feel off; we are always tired, it’s hard for us to kick a cold or our digestive tract makes itself known. Mentally, we may find ourselves in a rut, unable to concentrate or in a season of depression.
But here’s the good news: finding a healthy balance can help change all this around, and we don’t have to make wholesale changes all at once. Instead, easing into small changes can make significant improvements. And the motivation that comes from each success encourages us to make more positive modifications. So, as we have reached mid-year, I thought it worthwhile to revisit the healthy habits we often commit to at the first of the year!
A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
There’s no one way to good health. For one person, a one-mile walk five times a week, cutting fast food to once a week and spending time with a friend four times a week may improve physical and mental health. For another person, a healthy change may include training for two marathons a year, following a lower-carb diet and abstaining from alcohol. Both may be perfect for each person.
Healthy lifestyles reduce the risk of diseases, including hereditary disorders. For example, we know a diet rich in fruits and vegetables for eight weeks can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. We also understand that every 66-gram increase in daily fruit and vegetable intake results in a twenty-five percent lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes. In addition, replacing refined grains with whole grains also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by twenty-nine percent.
Did you know that as little as 11 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day lowers the risk of death compared to people who sit for eight hours daily? So, in addition to a daily workout, consider a stand-up desk!
We know that essential healthy habits are associated with living longer. For example, a fifty-year-old person who has never smoked, maintains a healthy weight, is regularly active, eats healthy foods and minimizes alcohol consumption lives up to fourteen years longer.
Consider making “SMART” goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (met by a deadline and done in a certain amount of time). When you focus on SMART goals, you can find more success. And one initial “win” will propel you to set new, bigger goals.
TIPS FOR BEGINNING YOUR OVERALL HEALTH
• Eat more vegetables
• Swap in whole grains
• Increase physical activity
• Maintain friendships
• Control stress
• Get more sleep
Whole grain foods increase fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in our system. Exercise can boost the release of endorphins that help reduce stress. And sleep regulates our emotions, promotes the healing of damaged tissues, and increases our immune function.
WISDOM FROM BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
- Cheese and salt meat should sparingly eat.
- Early to bed and early to rise make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
If you have a healthcare topic of interest or want to learn more about St. Luke’s Hospital, send me a note at Michelle.Fortune@slhnc.org.