Living healthy may seem like an overwhelming task, but each positive change we make leads to a healthier life. Be proactive with your healthcare. Get proper nutrition, exercise, fresh air, sunlight, water, sleep, and relaxation. Regular check-ups and screenings will help catch problems early on.
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The American Heart Association and the National Academy of Science have developed recommendations to promote optimum health. The “my plate” campaign recommends your plate to look like this:
Pick complex carbohydrates, not simple carbohydrates. Choose a fruit, vegetable, whole grain or low fat dairy item instead of a cookie, pastry, or convenience food. Keep sodium intake below 2300mg a day (1500mg if you are 50 or older). Avoid processed foods like deli meats and American cheese, boxed mixes, convenience items, and fast foods. Keep protein intake at about 6 ounces a day (a 3 ounce portion is the size of a desk of cards).
Enjoy your food and the companionship of a shared meal. Cook fresh and flavor your food with herbs instead of salt. Create a pleasurable environment and make eating an event for the whole family.
Exercise is vital to looking and feeling your best. The benefits of exercise add up. Here are just a few benefits to get you inspired and get started.
Youthful Appearance. Exercise helps keep your body trim, your muscles toned, your posture straight and tall, and your complexion clear and glowing.
Strength. Exercise helps build strong muscles and bones and maintains healthy joints.
Energy and Stamina. A regular exercise program doesn’t exhaust you; it gives you more energy and staying-power. The boost isn’t just physical, but improves mental and emotional well-being also.
Mobility. Exercise helps keep you moving. Mobility is critical for independent living and the ability to do what you want, when you want.
Safety. Exercise keeps your reflexes alert and your muscles ready to respond to help you avoid and quickly recover from accidents, falls, injuries, and illnesses.
Disease Treatment and Prevention. Exercise can help prevent or treat many diseases such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Check with your doctor for the exercise program that is right for you.
Weight Control. Exercise burns calories and tunes up your metabolism. Studies show that exercise may be even more effective than diet in weight loss. Exercise also helps you look better, no matter how much you weigh.
Attitude. Regular exercise can provide a strong sense of well-being, a positive outlook, and a feeling of “can-do” confidence.
Stress Relief. Ever feel so frustrated or angry you just want to punch the wall or run the other way? Channel those emotions into exercise. Exercise is a great way to cool off and relieve stress.
Mental Alertness. As is evident in any heated basketball game, tennis match or dance performance, exercise tunes up your reflexes, reaction time, and ability to process information. Exercise helps you wake up in the morning and stay awake until bedtime.
Flexibility. Physical activity enhances your ability to bend and stretch and avoid strains and stiffness.
McKenzie Health System offers a variety of exercise classes for all ages and abilities. Get more information on available exercise classes here.
Do you drink enough water? Nutritionists recommend a half gallon of water each day. That’s eight glasses of water. You may need more water if you exercise or sweat heavily. Here are some benefits of staying properly hydrated.
Maintain Weight. Trying to lose weight? Water can help. Replace calorie-laden beverages with water and drink water before meals to feel full. Drinking more water also helps pump up your metabolism, especially if the water is ice cold. Your body will work to warm the water up, burning a few extra calories in the process.
Increased Energy. If you feel drained and depleted, drink water for a pick-me-up. Dehydration makes you feel fatigued. Water helps the blood transport oxygen and other essential nutrients to your cells. When you drink enough water, your heart also doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood through your body.
Decreased Stress. 85% of your brain tissue is water. If you’re dehydrated, your body and your mind are stressed. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. To keep stress levels down, keep a glass of water at your desk or carry a sports bottle and drink regularly.
Increase Muscle Function. Drink water to prevent muscle cramping and keep your joints lubricated. When you’re well hydrated, you can exercise longer and stronger.
Better Complexion. Fine lines and wrinkles appear deeper when you’re dehydrated. Drinking water hydrates skin cells and plumps them up. This makes your face look younger. Proper hydration allows your body to naturally flush out impurities and improves circulation and blood flow; leaving your face clean and clear with a glowing complexion.
Improved Digestive Health. Along with fiber, water is essential for good digestion and elimination. Water works to dissolve waste particles and pass them smoothly through your digestive tract. When you are dehydrated, your body diverts water to other bodily functions, leaving bowel movements dry and difficult to pass.
Reduce Risk of Kidney Stones. The occurrence of painful kidney stones is on the rise because people, including children, aren’t drinking enough water. Water dilutes the salts and minerals in your urine. When you don’t drink enough water, these salts and minerals form the solid crystals we call kidney stones. Kidney stones are less likely to form in diluted urine, so reduce your risk of forming kidney stones by drinking plenty of water!
Want to know more? Take advantage of McKenzie Health’s monthly Lunch and Learn program and other classes offered throughout the year.