“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – World Health Organization
Being healthy is much more than just not being sick. It involves all aspects of one’s life and environment. Life is an intricate network and if one part fails other parts will eventually fail as well. Proper health in all things requires a balance in what we do. It is an active pursuit rather than a passive wish to not be ill. Make plans to be healthy instead of excuses to fail. Be a good example to your children; your spouse; your co-workers; your neighbors and by doing so you will encourage others to follow your example. Most of the activities you can do to be healthy are simple, low tech, and low cost. In the long run, your health is the best investment you can make and it has the highest returns!
Maintain a balance between rest and work – Go to bed and awaken at the same time every day. Take the television and computer out of the bedroom. It should only be for sleep not paying bills or watching the news. Leave work at work. Schedule playtime for yourself. Find a hobby you enjoy.
Fresh air and sunshine – Even house plants need sun so why shouldn’t you? Get outside every day, no matter what. Recent studies highlight the importance of Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin effecting everything from cancer to mood disorders. Reconnect with nature. We are fortunate to live in an area with so many breathtaking vistas and so many outdoor activities for any age or physical ability.
Get up and move – Park furthest from the door. Take the stairs. Get out of your chair and walk around every hour. Take hourly stretch breaks. Take advantage of your cordless phone and cell phone and walk while you talk. Stand instead of sit and walk instead of standing whenever possible.
Rediscover food – if it didn’t grow that way don’t eat it. If your grandparents wouldn’t recognize it as food then don’t eat it. Whole foods are more nutritionally dense so you get more bang for your buck. Half your plate should be vegetables and the other half protein and whole grains. Downsize your plate. What most people are served in restaurants these days is one meal an entire family used to share. Cut your meals in half. You will save money, lose weight and feel better. If you can’t cook every day then take one weekend afternoon and cook for the week then just reheat. Experiment and try something new.
Be with others – Humans are social creatures. We cannot live and thrive without contact. Social media and email are fine but there is no substitute for face to face interaction. Talk to your neighbors or your mail delivery person. Go to a worship service or attend a library lecture. Volunteer your time. The best way to help yourself is to help others.
STOP SMOKING – You have heard it all already. When you are ready to quit ask for help. It’s never too late to quit. One cigarette is too many.
Small changes can add up to big rewards to your health. Make one small change at a time not a massive overhaul. Just keep adding one small thing and before you know it you will be a healthier and happier person. It is never too late for health.
Dr. Kenneth Luckay DO is the Medical Director at the Center for Medical Weight Loss located at 4515 Brambleton Ave in Roanoke. He can be reached at 398-1547 or Email: [email protected]