Most of us try to work on improving our health. For some, improving your health is a daily goal and consideration. For others, improving your health is an occasional thought, or perhaps even panic if you learn that your health is declining because of disease. If you concentrate or set some realistic goals for yourself and establish a healthy routine, improving your health, or practicing a lifestyle that promotes good health can be a simple task. Living healthy has to be a habit. A way of life. An everyday practice.
You may ask, what are some habits that we would recommend for improving your health? Let us look at some suggestions. We approach life holistically a Holistic 3D Health. Therefore we will look at improving your health from a three-dimensional approach.
First, let us look at the physical aspects of our health:
- Get enough rest: Getting enough rest should be the first step to improving your health. How much is enough? Part of that answer depends on your age and your overall lifestyle. Let me break it down into age groups. Children, between the ages of two and eight, need up to 10 hours of sleep each night. The 2 to 4-year-old may need a daytime nap as well. Nine to 12-year-old may be able to get by with less than 10 hours. However, if they seem to be getting sick often, are grumpy, have difficulty concentrating or focusing, they may need 10 hours each night. Teenagers generally will need less but 8 hours is a must. Growing spurts may mean they need more. That 8-hour requirement remains through adulthood. As you age it may increase. Because it takes longer for our bodies to regenerate as we age, many 50 and older adults may find that they need up to 10 hours of sleep to feel their best.
- There are some important factors in getting enough good quality sleep. One of them is a great mattress. Over the years as a home furnishing sales associate, I have met many people that did not understand the importance of purchasing the right mattress. Particularly frustrating were the parents that would purchase sneakers for their child in the neighborhood of $200 BUT wanted to put the child on a $79 mattress! The child will outgrow the sneakers, lose them, or whatever. The only benefit of the pricey shoes is ego. However, a good supportive mattress will help the child’s bones form correctly and keep their spine in alignment. As adults, we continue to need good support to rejuvenate each night. A good mattress, a good pillow, a quiet environment, and slightly cooler temperatures all help us to sleep better.
- How is getting a good night’s sleep part of improving your health? Did you know that obesity is linked to poor sleep habits? When we fail to get enough sleep we feel low in energy, slow and sluggish. To overcome those feelings we tend to eat fat producing, sugary, perhaps caffeine-filled foods. We may also tend to overeat. On long days we may even squeeze in an extra meal or several snacks to keep us going. If we eat dinner at 6 or 6:30 and stay up until 11 or 11:30, we are hungry again. Late-night snacking is harmful in several ways: we are never going to burn off the calories, we are working on digestion while we sleep, which means restore and repair are being hampered and the snacks may tend to be empty calories or unhealthy choices.
- Eat healthily. Be conscious of the quality and quantity of foods you are eating. First, consider quality. Avoid highly processed and prepared foods. We recommend shopping the outer parameters of the market. That is where you generally find fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, and other wholesome, unprocessed foods. The inner isles contain boxed and canned, over-processed foods, snacks, sugary drinks, and empty calorie foods. Plan your meals and make a list. Going to the store prepared will save you time and money. Furthermore, if you visit the areas of the market only where you find the items on your list, you will be less tempted by the unhealthy choices.
- Today’s lifestyle often leaves us little time to cook. Planning a menu based on the time we have to prepare each meal each day per our schedule is a great help in staying on track to eating as healthy as possible. There are resources available on this site to aid you in getting a healthy routine established. We offer counseling to help you establish what protocol is best for your family. Through your session, we determine the nutrition each family member needs, the best away to ensure each member gets that needed nutrition, and tips on how to plan and execute your meal plan. Also, we take into consideration your lifestyle and the time you have to shop, cook, and do any pre-prepping to aid in your success. And remember, we are experts on special diets and special needs.
So what should you purchase to guarantee you are getting the best nutrition? Always purchase the best quality you can afford. If you can afford organic, buy it. Try to buy local produce, locally raised, and grown meats. If you do not have those options buy produce that is fresh and crisp looking, no bruises, browning, or dried out appearance. I always check the base of the broccoli, asparagus, leaf lettuces, cabbage, and cauliflower. If the base or cut end is showing brown or a dried appearance you will know it is not fresh. Look for clean-cut ends. Use leaf lettuce, fresh spinach, and Romaine for your salad greens. Be certain you are eating 3 to 5 or more servings of vegetables and fruits daily. Eat whole-grain bread and rice. Avoid foods with white, over-processed flour and sugar.
- Take a good quality multi-vitamin – Because our soils are overused and therefore mineral deficient a good vitamin is very important. This is important for every age. Also, a good probiotic is a great way to keep your intestinal tract healthy and therefore improve your immune system. We recommend Shaklee products for both needs. Furthermore, you need to purchase the product that is best for your age group and your sex. We are including two links here. One for a 3rd party study that has been ongoing now for decades on the efficacy and effectiveness of a good multi-vitamin and the 2nd link to our recommended products. (under the second link go to nutrition for a full range of vitamins each designed for a specific age group and sex. http://www.landmarkstudy.com/ https://www.nancyharrington.myshaklee.com
- Drink plenty of water. Water should be the beverage of choice for the whole family. Stop buying soda and fruit juices. If you do not have a way to filter your water, purchase spring water. It is cheaper than soda. Furthermore, water is the only beverage that can cleanse your blood, help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, reduce aging, and aid in digestion. Also, sparkling water with natural fruit flavors, home-brewed herbal ice teas, and whole organic milk are all other acceptable, healthy choices.
- Get outdoors and exercise! Although outside activity is limited in some parts of the country due to weather conditions, it seems that even when the weather is great we do not get enough outdoor activity. Did you know that our bodies require up to 4 hours of sunlight per day? Because that is impossible for most of us you will find most are vitamin D deficient. That means it is difficult for us to fight infections, keep our bones healthy, and ward off disease. Therefore, it is vital to get outside, get some sun, get some needed exercise as often as possible. Walk, skateboard, ride your bikes, hike, jog, picnic, canoe, or kayak. The activities outdoor are endless. You could even grow a garden to provide your family with your organic vegetables and herbs.
- So there are two components here. Sunshine and exercise. Although you may not be able to get outside there are still plenty of ways to exercise. And they do not have to be costly. You do not have to join a gym, yoga class, some other paid type exercise. There are plenty of videos, YouTube, and other means to obtain good workout material. Also, for those of you that are serious about improving your health, a good watch that will track your steps and record your activity is a great asset. Furthermore, we will touch on the psychological benefits of exercise later in this post.
Secondly, let us look at the mental/emotional aspects of our health
- Two of the earlier mentioned concerns affect our mental/emotional state as well as our physical. The first is getting enough rest. Lack of sleep can cause depression. Poor quality sleep does not give our brain time enough to recoup. Therefore your thought processes are slow, sluggish, and foggy. Good sleep habits are important for clear, sharp thinking.
- The second earlier mentioned is outdoor exercise or exercise in general. Getting out in nature lifts one’s mood. A fast walk, jog, or run raises endorphins. Endorphins are feel-good hormones. They give us a sense of well-being. Also, using a treadmill or indoor bike will raise your endorphins as well. If you particularly feel a sense of peace of mind in the woods or the beach, make that your place to rejuvenate and exercise.
- Another good practice is self-affirmations. Don’t beat yourself up. Remember each of us is special, beloved sons or daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. He created us for a purpose that only we can fulfill. Therefore you are vital in fulfilling His overall purposes. Remind yourself of your good attributes. A good time to do your affirmations is while you are exercising. This seems to add to the effectiveness of both activities.
- Associate with those that lift you. Stay away from people that drag you down, criticize you, or try to put you down. Find friends who love you for who you are.
Exercise your spiritual beliefs
- Pay attention to your spiritual health. Whatever your beliefs are and however your worship or pay tribute to your maker exercise that faith. A spiritual connection brings light into our lives. Light is the opposite of darkness and depression.
- Read your spiritual books. The Bible or Scriptures or other spiritual, uplifting books, magazines, and articles. Furthermore, there are great inspirational talks on YouTube particularly from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Also, there are daily inspirational that you can subscribe to.
- Take time to pray and meditate. Journal your positive thoughts and struggles. Track your good progress.
- Lastly, do things that make you feel good. Listen to uplifting music, read a good book, talk to a friend, go for a walk, or whatever makes you feel good about yourself. And do not forget what we stated above: you are a beloved child of your creator, out here on earth to fulfill a vital role only you can fill.
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