Recently a good friend had a health wake up call. Chest pains led to a visit to the emergency room, which eventually led to a stent being placed in his artery. It was a good reminder that our bodies need to be cared for throughout our lives. He has made a quick recovery and is now on a diet and exercise plan.
The latest statistics of 78.7 years for an adult living in the United States, it sheds new light on the need to care for our bodies. We only have one body to live in. To make sure we enjoy our life to the fullest we need to care for that body. Using a two pronged approach we can make sure our bodies remain healthy and strong throughout our lives.
1. Know what you eat
The saying goes, "You are what you eat." Take a minute to inventory what types of food you eat. The more processed and artificial the ingredients are, the less healthy it is. Most experts will agree that the best diet to eat is one based on whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables and some protein. The Bible story of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego illustrates how eating a healthy diet blesses you and your body. (Daniel 1:7-16)
2. Avoid fad diets
Fad diets may help you lose weight in the beginning, but they are difficult to sustain and often deprive your body of some of the nutrients it needs to be healthy.
3. Moderation in all things
This applies to both your portions and sweets. One way to insure your portions are smaller is to eat off of smaller plates. Also, be sure your plate has more vegetables and grains than proteins. A proper serving of meat or chicken is 4 ounces or about the size of a fist. Having a treat on occasion is fine, but be sure to limit these. Trying to deny yourself of sweets all the time is probably unrealistic.
1. Get up and move
Our bodies are designed for movement. When you don't move your body gets stiff and loses its ability to fully function. Every day try and do some form of physical exercise, even if it is just walking around the block. Start small and build up your endurance until you are exercising for 30-45 minutes each day.
2. Pick an activity
Finding an activity you enjoy is the best way to help you stick to it. When I lived in Florida I joined a women's flag football team. Having the camaraderie of friends made this a great way to get exercise. The past few years I have come to enjoy running. My mom began swimming every day since her apartment complex has a pool. Try different activities until you find one that works for you.
3. Have an exercise buddy
When you know someone is relying on you, it makes you stick to your plan. You can't rationalize your way out of it. I have run a few long distance relay races. Knowing that my team was counting on me forced me to stick with my training.
4. Add strength training to your routine
Once you have established your exercise routine, be sure to add strength training a couple times a week. As we age our bodies need to do strength exercises in order to maintain strong bones and muscles. You don't need to invest in weights. You can make your own using laundry detergent bottles or water jugs. Your own body weight can act as resistance as well. There are all kinds of routines you can find online to get you started.
The efforts you start today will have great impact on your future. Taking the time to adjust your daily diet and exercise habits will give you a happier and healthier future. You only have one body to enjoy in this world so take care of it.