Health studies have identified the following major predictors of health and longevity.
Incorporate these principles into your life for optimum health.
1. Be Physically Active. Activity builds energy reserves, enhancing both protects against heart disease, diabetes, overweight, and even cancer. The new guideline for fitness is quite simple, “Accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderately-intense physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.” If you need to break up your time into two 15 minute or even three 10 minutes sessions in a day, that’s fine.Choose activities you enjoy — walk, bike, hike, swim, golf, garden. Invite a friend or your spouse to join you. Set goals and log your daily activity. Remember, it’s regularity that counts.
2. Get Adequate Rest. It is during sleep that the body’s physical and mental reserves are replenished. If you frequently feel grouchy, tired, and unmotivated, maybe you need more sleep. Research shows that people who get at least 7-8 hours of sleep daily live longer and enjoy better health than those who don’t. Most people feel and function at their peak when they get 8 to 8.5 hours.
3. Eat A Healthy Diet. The following eating practices are proven contributors to good health.
.Eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily
· Eat at least 3 servings of whole grain breads and cereals daily
· Eat a good breakfast daily
· Limit animal fats, solid fats and fried foods. Choose healthier fats: unhydrogenated vegetable oils, avocado, nuts, olives, seeds, and nut butters.
· Limit refined and sugary foods: soft drinks, snacks, desserts, candy.
· Eat salt and salty foods moderately
· Drink 6-8+ glasses of water daily
In summary, eat a wide variety of unrefined foods, primarily from plant sources, in sufficient amounts to maintain a healthy weight.
4. Maintain A Healthy Weight.
· Avoid fad diets. Develop healthy habits you can live with for a lifetime.
· If you need to lose weight, choose a realistic goal, 1-2 lb per week.
· Limit high calorie foods such as desserts, fatty meats, cheese, snack foods, pop, alcohol, margarine, etc.
· Eat high fiber foods – vegetables, fresh fruits, legumes, and whole grains. Research shows these foods help prevent weight gain.
· Maintain an active lifestyle, 30-60 minutes of moderate activity daily.
5. Stay In Control Being depend-ant on smoking, alcohol, or drugs, is the number one cause of preventable deaths. If you are a smoker, seriously consider stopping. Ask your doctor for help. If you choose to drink, limit to no more than 1 to2 drinks in a day.
6. Get Regular Health Exams:
· Blood pressure; keep below 135/85
· Cholesterol level; keep below 200
· Blood glucose level; less than 110
· Weight; BMI <25, Waist <35 in. for women, or <40 in. for men.
· Colorectal cancer checks yearly after age 50 (sooner if high risk)
· Women, PAP tests every 1-3 years, mammograms every 1-2 years after 40 or as directed by your doctor.
· Men; prostate/PSA checks every 1-2 years after 50 or as doctor directs
· Keep immunizations (pneumonia, flu, tetanus) up to date.
7. Environment Pleasant, clean, sanitary surroundings, pure water, fresh air, and adequate sunlight are essential for good health. Support a healthy environment in your community. Protect against over exposure to the sun outdoors by wearing protective clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen (SPF 15), especially from 10-3 pm daily.
8. Community People with strong social connections cope better with life, are happier, and live longer. Take time to nurture relationships in your life. Build friendships. Participate in church programs, community groups and clubs. Volunteer your time and talent to help worthwhile projects. Friendship and support from others is an important ingredient for health and healing.
9. Mental Outlook A cheerful, optimistic outlook promotes good health .Balance stress with relaxation, recreation, and adequate rest. Do fun things daily. Laugh. Take walks. Listen to good music. Visit with friends. If you are very unhappy with life or problems look insurmountable, get help from a pastor, counselor, doctor, or a trusted friend.
10. Spiritual Health Spend some quiet time each day to contemplate and find direction for your life. It might be a secluded place in nature, or a quite study. You may read the writings of spiritual leaders, or simply meditate or pray. Make yourself open for God, or your understanding of a higher power, to provide strength, direction, and peace in your life. Find a Faith community that exhibits real love and concern for others and that brings hope, love, comfort, and inner peace to your life.
Finally, good health is not an accident.
Plan for good health!
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