How to get healthy isn’t much of a mystery anymore. You realize that there are certain things you can do to improve your health – eat right, exercise, limit Häagen-Dazs consumption. And certain decisions you can make that will diminish your health – driving thru a McDonalds instead of past a McDonalds.
However, there are five essential areas that we believe to be most instrumental. If you can improve in each of these areas, your overall health will improve as well.
1. Body Mass
Your BMI – Body Mass Index – is a score based on your height and weight. The higher your BMI, the more body fat you have. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for good health, as overweight people have higher incidences of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Body Mass Index Scores
· Underweight 18.5
· Normal weight 18.5 – 24.9
· Overweight 25 – 29.9
· Obese 30 or higher
To find your BMI, you’ll need a chart, like this one at Cancer.org. Locate your height on the left side of the chart, and then move to the right until you find your weight. Now move up that column till you get to the top row where you’ll find your BMI score.
Turns out your mother was right when she told you to sit up straight. But good posture isn’t just about sitting straight. Good posture is about putting the body into proper alignment whether you’re sitting, standing, walking, exercising, or sleeping.
When your posture is good, your body experiences less strain on muscles, ligaments, bones, joints, and tendons. You experience less aches and pains. Your appearance improves. And your body uses less energy, which means you won’t become fatigued as quickly.
When your posture is bad, your body has to work harder to stay balanced. This can cause strain on supporting muscles and ligaments. It can wear out joint surfaces and cause arthritis. And it can cause backaches and muscular pain throughout your body.
The Mayo Clinic has much more information on proper posture, along with a standing wall test that you can take to assess your current posture.
Has any topic inspired as many excuses as exercise? Not enough time. Not enough energy. Not enough _____.
The problem is that you still know how important movement and exercise are, even when you’re making excuses to ditch your next session.
Physical activity combats heart disease, as it helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, while also improving circulation. And just a reminder: heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the U.S.
Exercise is also critical for proper weight management. And even cognitive health, as it stimulates the production of brain chemicals – neurotransmitters – that make you feel happier and more relaxed.
Your sleep will even improve as a result of increased physical activity in your life. If you haven’t already noticed, these five areas are all connected. Improvement in one area leads to improvement in others.
Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe. You can go weeks without food, days without water, but only a few minutes without oxygen.
Even though we all take breathing for granted, there are numerous bodily functions that are dependent on oxygen. Digestion, for instance, uses oxygen to break down food into energy.
Oxygen improves brain activity, strengthens the immune system, and boosts energy levels. Oxygen also helps to remove toxins from the blood. And it speeds healing. Consider how many athletes are turning to hyperbaric oxygen chambers as part of their maintenance and recovery programs these days.
The greatest benefit of oxygen is that it keeps cells healthy. Anytime you can affect health at the cellular level, you have greater potential to reduce the signs of aging. Want to look and feel young again? Get more O!
Sleep is a nutrient. It’s also an important nutrient. The problem, besides the fact that most of us don’t get enough quality sleep, is that we don’t even realize just how important of a nutrient it really is.
Lack of sleep contributes to more accidents and health problems than most people realize. Which is why the Center for Disease Control has referred to lack of sleep as a public health epidemic.
Quality sleep means getting enough sleep, and also maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. Any time you have disruptions in your sleep cycle, your blood pressure goes up, as does your blood sugar levels.
Research suggests that even one less hour of sleep per night can result in immune system problems and an increase in chronic inflammation. Both of which can contribute to illness and disease.
Getting healthy has never been easier. Get sound advice from sources you can trust, and make better decisions that will affect your health. It’s not complicated. But it does take some effort. Now get out there and stand up straight, move your body, breathe deep, and sleep well. Your health depends on it.