Diet, Exercise, and Sleep

Diet: To understand what a good diet is, educate yourself about nutrition. Try to read several different books and look for common advice, then determine what works for you. For example, everyone needs to eat a specific combination of different types of foods to feel satisfied and energetic. Specific diets are good for losing weight, but are not practical for the long term. Some of the healthiest people in the age range from 70-80 years old have educated themselves on diet and use supplements along with keeping active lifestyles both physically and mentally. A diet should make you feel healthy and energetic, while maintaining a lean body condition.

From a simple health viewpoint, one pound of fat requires about 5 miles of blood vessels, putting that much more strain on your heart. Also, fat tends to store drugs, toxins and cancer-causing substances. One nutritionist suggests fat is necessary for proper functioning because the body needs certain fatty acids which it can only get from diet. However, she advised a person eat only uncooked or unheated fats/oils.

Regarding exercise: The body is designed to move and should move regularly throughout the day. Muscles help pump the blood around the body. Sitting for long periods of time or staying in one position too long causes decreased blood flow and can create stiffness/soreness in muscles. Try to get regular movement throughout the day, changing positions every 20 minutes. Find ways to move your body more in your daily routine. Walk those stairs. Park a little farther away and walk. Stand to take that phone call. Stretch frequently. Past generations never went to the gym regularly, yet many lived long healthy lives. The key is moving your body so you stretch the joints fully and use the muscles so you maintain strength and can sustain activity (endurance). There should be a good balance between endurance (aerobic), flexibility and strengthening activities.

Regarding Sleep: There are 4 phases of sleep. The deep sleep phase is necessary for regenerative processes. If this phase of sleep is lacking or interrupted, you will not feel rested. Drugs, alcohol, stress and disease can interfere with this deep sleep. Sleeping pills do not induce normal sleep. Melatonin may help some people by promoting better sleep. Many people find deep diaphragmatic breathing helpful in promoting better, more natural sleep. Sleeping on a magnetic pad promotes a deeper sleep and has reduced my husband’s snoring, making it easier for me to sleep. Taking a long walk focusing on the environment and looking at things around you also helps. Don’t think about your problems. Merely enjoy your surroundings and observe.

Prevention is the only way to start cutting costs of medical care without sacrificing quality of life. Each of us must start taking some personal responsibility for our own health. Start today. It is never too late.

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