The basics of a healthy lifestyle are fairly simple in principle, but tough to attain in practice for many of us. Any improvement you can make in this area will have a positive impact on your overall health.
These are all things you’ve heard before and you may roll your eyes as you read it, but if you are serious about making change in your life, you will realize it’s time to start here.
We all know that we should exercise. Many of us don’t – including me several years ago. I was relatively young, healthy, thin, active and far too tired after a long day. Then I got cancer. For the first time I considered exercise a critical component of healthy living. It helps all the bodily functions operate at peak performance, which supports a strong immune system that helps ward off illnesses.
You don’t need an expensive gym membership or fancy equipment. Cardio exercise is free if you walk or run – and even more enjoyable if you do it with a partner. Many of us already have bicycles sitting in the garage that we can dust off to ride. I like to zone out in front of the TV while I exercise and I use a $30 trampoline – my typical routine involves running in place during a TV show and doing jumping jacks or twists during the commercials.
Any good routine also contains strength or core exercises. Simple things like a few push-ups, sit-ups, or crunches fit the bill. I love Pilates – the exercises can suit a beginner and still provide a vigorous workout for experts. My cable TV has an Exercise on Demand feature that allows me to try a variety of exercise routines from the comfort of my own home and at any time that is convenient for me.
The best exercise is the one you are most likely to keep doing, so find what works best for you and just do it.
I touched on sleep briefly in a previous segment and I’m covering it here again because it’s one of the basics that is too often overlooked.
The body cannot function properly when it doesn’t have the opportunity to rejuvenate for at least 6 hours each night. We all have times when we get too little sleep, like when raising a newborn baby, but as a routine practice, one should not overlook the importance of sleep.
When deciding your priorities each day, it’s easiest to forego sleep. But that’s not a smart long-term strategy. If you regularly sacrifice sleep, you should re-think your priorities if you are serious about your health.
- STRESS REDUCTION
If you thought the other lifestyle changes were hard, wait till you get to this one! Our lives are full of stress. In fact, some of us thrive on it. But chronic stress is terrible for our health and if we are serious about our well-being, we need to find ways to manage it.
There are many stress-reduction techniques. As with exercise, the most effective method is the one you will actually use, so take some time to find out which work the best for you. Following are some suggestions to get you started:
- Deep Breathing
- Keep a diary
- Join a support group
- Soak in the bathtub
- Meet with friends
- Take up a hobby
- Surround yourself with positive people and keep others at arm’s length
- Accept the fact that you can’t fix everything, including other people
- LET GO of past hurts
- Do not let people take advantage of you
- Change jobs
I was fortunate to be able to change jobs to get myself out of a situation causing me detrimental chronic stress. It was not an easy decision and impacted our finances. We’re all faced with choices and the decisions that we make will either help or hurt our health and well-being. I hope you choose the healthier options, even if they are tough.