| Home | Why? | Tip Topics | Links |  News  | Photos/Contact | Message Post | Recipes | Site Map |

   

 

 

Healthy habits: To your health
By Betsy Wadland/ Daily News Correspondent
Reprinted from: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com

Many of you may be familiar with Steven R. Covey's book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." The theory is that successful people act differently than the rest of us, in a very fundamental way. Success is not a one-shot deal. The same goes for health. Good health comes from living by a basic set of rules and following those rules over a long period of time. You don't eat one yogurt and all of a sudden become healthy.
 

    So, what are these habits? Well, they are everything we already know, but don't always do. Eat right, exercise, don't smoke. For those of us who need specific guidelines and rules to follow, WebMD.com has published an article titled "13 Healthy Habits to Improve Your Life." Here's what it says:

  • Eat breakfast every morning: Research shows people who have a morning meal tend to take in more vitamins and minerals, and less fat and cholesterol. The result is often a leaner body, lower cholesterol count and less chance of overeating. For kids, breakfast appears to enhance alertness, attention and performance.
     

  • Add fish and Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet: The American Heart Association recommends a serving of fish two times per week. Besides being a good source of protein and a food relatively low in saturated fat, fish has omega-3 fatty acids -- which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
     

  • Get enough sleep: Sleep is vital to good health, as well as mental and emotional well-being. The National Sleep Foundation reports that people who don't get enough slumber are more likely than others to develop psychiatric problems and to use health care services. Plus, sleep deprivation can negatively affect memory, learning and logical reasoning.
      
  • Make social connections: Volunteer, go to church or join a club. Whatever you do, do it with people. Community ties help improve mental functioning, and are good for your physical and mental health.
        
  • Exercise for better health: The National Cancer Institute reports that regular exercise helps control weight; maintains healthy bones, muscles and joints; reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes; promotes psychological well-being; reduces the risk of death from heart disease; and reduces the risk of premature death.
        
  • Practice good dental hygiene: Flossing your teeth every day could add 6.4 years to your life, according to Dr. Michael Roizen, author of RealAge. Researchers have found links between oral bacteria and heart disease, stroke, diabetes and the birth of premature babies and those with low birth weight.
        
  • Take up a hobby: Since hobbies are relaxing activities, they are usually enjoyable. This joy may help people live longer and recover better from illness. In a study of people who had undergone surgery, one researcher found that people who were involved in hobbies before their operation had better recovery six months later, compared with people who did not have hobbies.
        
  • Protect your skin: Our skin starts to age as soon as we are born. To minimize wrinkles, dryness, age spots and skin cancer, we must protect our skin from damage by wearing sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, wearing a hat and protective clothing, and avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

  • Snack the healthy way: The American Dietetic Association recommends five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day to reduce the risk of some cancers, beat the signs of aging, improve memory and promote a healthy heart.
        

  • Drink water and eat dairy: The body needs water to keep properly hydrated and individuals vary widely on how much water they need. Joints need it to stay in motion, and vital organs such as the heart, brain, kidney and liver need it to work properly. The calcium in dairy is known to be important for strong bones and teeth. Studies have also shown it can help prevent high blood pressure, kidney stones, heart disease and colon cancer.

  • Drink tea: There is some evidence that tea may help in improving memory, and preventing cavities, cancer and heart disease. Decaffeinated tea is better.
        

  • Take a daily walk: There are plenty of opportunities to move your legs during the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to the store, window shop at the mall, leave your desk and visit your co-worker instead of sending an e-mail, or walk and talk with your friends instead of meeting for a meal.
     

  • Plan -- there is, perhaps, no better word to illustrate how you can incorporate healthy habits into your everyday life. Good health does not happen by accident. For the most part, neither do good fitness, skin protection, healthy teeth, weight loss and social ties. Many of these habits take effort that need to be scheduled into busy lives.
     

        If you need to write time into your calendar for exercise, do it. If you need to write out the week's menu, and make the grocery list from this before you go shopping, do it. Do what you need to do to incorporate these habits into your life. Make them a part of your life and you'll be healthier for it.
        Betsy Wadland is director of development for the Natick VNA, a nonprofit health care organization providing home care to thousands of people throughout MetroWest each year. For more information, call the VNA at 508-653-3081.

  •  

     

    www.SeniorARK.com                                        email: SeniorARK@aol.com