Let’s face it, we only have one body and once the warranty runs out on this body we can’t trade it in for a younger model. We have to be as proactive and as healthy as we surely know how to be and take the best care we can of the body we have. The time to start exercising or eating right is not after you have a heart attack. Why do we wait until something is drastically wrong to think about making changes?
1. Eat healthier by choosing colorful foods and foods rich in antioxidants such as red beans and blueberries. Eating greens and whole-grain foods are crucial too. Skip processed foods as they usually have lots of sodium. Grow a garden, or if space is an issue, you can do container gardening.
2. Exercise. Try to be as active as you can. Most of us can do something active. If all you can do is swim or ride a stationary bike then do that. Or walk. I have seen many people lose a lot of weight just by walking. That’s it. Don’t skimp on exercise. Exercise needs to be challenging in order to get results.
3. Have your yearly doctor visit. Have all your important numbers checked and get your yearly tests checked off, whether it is a mammogram, a cholesterol test or even a colonoscopy.
4. Get enough sleep. It is a well-known fact that when we are tired we make some of the wrong food choices. Not to mention we don’t function up to par.
5. Take time for you. Why are we so busy all the time? In many countries it is normal to relax or take naps. We spend so much time doing things for our boss or spouse or kids, we forget about ourselves. Make time to relax. Go to a yoga class, read a book or listen to music.
6. Drink water. Your body needs it and craves it. Being dehydrated can be tough on your heart and your kidneys.
7. Get outside. Plant a garden or go ride a bike. Get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of our state. There is so much to see and do in our very own area.
8. Volunteer. Take time to help others. Volunteer at the animal shelter or at our wonderful museums or at the soup kitchen. Take time to share your talents with others. You will feel great and others will appreciate your help. Also having a positive attitude can help promote a healthy well being.
9. Lay off the salt. Too much salt in our diets can really be bad for your cardiovascular system, as well as for your blood pressure and kidneys. Read labels and be informed. Instead of using salt, try parsley, basil or dill to flavor your food the healthy way.
10. Be thankful. Appreciate all you have in your life — your family, your friends, your health. Look at the good things and be grateful for it all! Gratitude can help you improve your life and will give you a warm fuzzy feeling.
Ann Angell is the program manager for the Oxford YMCA.