With year-round access to indoor and outdoor activities and world-renowned medical facilities, Rochester Minnesota is a Mecca for the health and wellness-oriented. In conjunction with reasonable exercise and diet, there are many simple things that one can do at home to get and stay in good health.
Although the benefits of some of these health practices are well-known, you might just be surprised by some of the less obvious physical and emotional effects, both positive and negative, that they may have.
1. If you use tobacco, quit. The negative consequences are clearly documented and well known, and the benefits of quitting are equally known and start immediately.
2. Maintain a balanced diet. Did you know that there is a connection between food and mood? Yep, it’s called Serotonin; a neurotransmitter chemical that can be influenced by what we eat which in turn influences how we feel. Certain foods are not only nutritious but have been shown to improve overall mood as well!
3. Develop a consistent exercise routine. Did you know that physical exercise can reduce depression and anxiety?
4. Avoid stress when possible. Short-term stress can have some limited benefits, such as a temporary adrenaline kick and motivation to get something done. The long-term effects, however, can be incredibly and permanently damaging. Chronic stress affects almost every system in your body, and has even been shown to speed up the aging process, cause infertility, and “rewire” the brain, which could lead to mood instability.
5. Take your medications as prescribed. The health benefits are obvious. What may not be obvious are the potential detriments to not taking a medication as prescribed. Stopping them too early can lead to a recurrence of the condition or future immunity against the medication. Taking too much of a medication or too often can lead to addiction and other physical consequences.
6. Protect your heart and your health. Did you know that less than half of people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol don’t even know they have it? Know your numbers, and prevent potential complications. Schedule a physical, and that includes all of you guys out there as well! It’s common knowledge that most men are less likely than woman to schedule a physical!
We are each unique, and our culture, ethnicity, family situation, career and finances impact each of these areas. Therefore, some of us have to be more creative than others in order to adhere to these recommendations. For example, the desk jockey trying to stay active at work, the parent attempting to cook a nutritious meal for a family with widely varying tastes, or someone who is always in a rush and “on the go!” These are things we have to experiment with to find out what works for us and our family members.
While we are experimenting, here are some healthy living practices that are easy to implement regardless of your unique situation:
7. Stay hydrated. Your body requires water for survival. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body is dependent on proper hydration to maintain appropriate function.
8. Take 10 when you can. Your time is valuable, and there is rarely enough of it. But even just a 10 minute break from time to time throughout the day can provide a wealth of physical and emotional benefits. Shut the door or go to a quiet place, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths.
9. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Establishing healthy living patterns does not exclude the occasional indulgence, and beating yourself up for it is hardly a health practice.
10. Give yourself kudos. Did you drag yourself to the gym this morning, forgo the extra helping of dessert last night, cut down on smoking, or remember to refill your prescription on time? You should feel good about your accomplishments and you should share it with others. You deserve the satisfaction and the acknowledgement of a job well done.
As you can see, there are many small things we can do each day to create and maintain a healthier lifestyle. And remember to be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge your slips, embrace your accomplishments, and give yourself grace.