Health is Wealth. This is such a simple yet powerful statement that I believe in wholeheartedly. Without good health, you are unable to function at your best. How does one define health anyway? I think the World Health Organization (WHO), defines health beautifully. It is a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Based on this definition, being healthy translates to maintaining a healthy lifestyle through achieving a positive mental, emotional and of course, physical well being.
Taking these factors into consideration, I have put together some simple tips to guide you on your journey to achieving a healthy lifestyle.
1. Maintain a healthy diet: You really are what you eat. If you’re fueling your body with junk, you are increasing your chances of becoming susceptible to chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease. Make sure to consume a balanced diet -which means a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, adequate in protein, fat, carbohydrates, and calories, and moderate in amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, refined sugar, salt and alcohol.
2. Maintain a healthy weight: If your Body Mass Index (BMI) indicates that you are in the overweight or obese category, aim to lose weight slowly and steadily until you are at a healthy weight. Also, if you are underweight, strive to gain weight gradually, until you are within an Ideal Body Weight range. Contact a Registered Dietitian in your area who can develop an appropriate meal plan for you.
3. Get moving!: Physical activity has a lot of benefits that include stress reduction, weight maintenance, and improved cardiovascular function to name a few. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average adult needs 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week AND muscle strengthening activities 2 days a week that focus on the major muscle groups i.e. chest, legs, and arms.
4. Sleep tight: The National Sleep foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults. Not getting enough sleep can increase your vulnerability to illnesses such as the cold and flu, as a result of a weakened immune system. Also, the body goes into a state of stress when it is sleep deficient which causes production of stress hormones, and an increase in blood pressure. Getting enough snooze time will help you stay healthy, and sane.
5. Stay hydrated: Studies have produced varying recommendations of fluid intake. However this depends on a host of factors such as health, climate, and age . According to The Institute of Medicine (IOM), a healthy adult male residing in a temperate climate needs about 13 (8 oz) cups of total beverages a day, while women only need about 9 (8 oz) cups of total beverages a day. Make at least half of your beverage consumption, water. Lack of water can cause dehydration which can lead to lethargy and even shock.
6. Manage stress: Stress is akin to poison, it can literally kill! Manage your stress by setting realistic work deadlines, spending time with people you love, engaging in activities or hobbies you enjoy, and most importantly making time for yourself to just relax.