Several years ago, I read an interesting article on how walking can set your mental well-being. It made perfect sense to me as I’ve found a relaxed walk helpful in dealing with stress since my twenties.
Some people like to walk or jog early in the morning as a start to the day. I’ve had friends who only walked in the early hours before hitting the road to work. Personally I had trouble walking before work and still making it to work on time. I made a walk part of my lunch and/or part of my after-work routine. You have to find what works in your life. In my thirties, I had a very stressful job in social services. I came home tired and stressed. I lived in Miami at the time and year-round I could go in the evening and walk on the beach. By sunset the sun-loving crowd was gone. Sunset was a perfect time to walk and feel my stress go out with the waves. Granted most folks can’t do that, but you can find a place that helps you relax no matter where you live.
- relieves stress
- improves your mood
- boosts your inspiration
- improves your memory
- improves your concentration
All of that from a relaxed walk. The lock downs during the pandemic curtailed lots of activities. Snow storms in the last few months didn’t promote walking due to the weather. I’m suggesting we take the time to remind ourselves of what makes us healthy and happy even if we have to delay gratification and put off a stroll in the woods for a while.
Find Ways To Be Active Most Days
One of the most important parts of being healthy and well is exercise. Healthline has a great article on the Top 10 Benefits of Regular Exercise. The benefits include every area of your life from a good sleep, pain management, your health to your happiness and mental health. Nobody wants to imagine a future in which they are injured, or even dealing with a terrible illness. A sedentary life is now considered like smoking or cancer – it can kill you. Being active most days is highly recommended if you want to be healthy in the long run.
Instead, why don’t you start with something like a walk or a light jog. From there, you can build up your speed, stamina and fitness levels. Or, if jogging doesn’t sound appealing, why not take up swimming? People often forget that swimming is a tough sport because it is also a leisurely activity. If you start swimming lanes every day, and make some other lifestyle changes, you’re going to be fit in no time. Sitting all day can be dangerous, and many experts are calling it ‘the new cancer’. If you have a sedentary job, it’s especially important to find ways in which you can be more active. Try going for walks, using your car less, parking further away, and finding a class that you enjoy. Take the steps not the elevator.
Be Mindful Of What You’re Putting Into Your Body
One mistake that people often make is that they are not eating the foods that their body needs. You don’t have to be perfect with your diet, but you should be mindful of what you put into your mouth. Eating at your desk while you work, in front of the TV or while doing another activity increases our intake of food but decreases our food satisfaction. It usually involves less healthy snack foods too. Harvard Medical School has an interesting article on 8 Steps to Mindful Eating. It gives the background to the approach and more resources. The food choices for mindful eating are similar the Mediterranean diet.
Most people don’t get enough fruit and vegetables, and many people believe that having a pre-packaged meal is healthy, even though the nutritional label on the back often says otherwise. Take time to chew your food slowly and thoroughly to enjoy the flavor and not gulp your food.
Medical News Today has an interesting post, What Are The 6 Essential Nutrients? A person’s body cannot produce everything that it needs to function. There are six essential nutrients that people need to consume through dietary sources to maintain optimal health. It’s not difficult to eat a balanced diet. Your fruits and vegetables are going to be important, along with a source of protein depending on your dietary preferences. Healthy fats are also essential. Do your research, and plan your meals accordingly.
- Eat a portion of vegetables with each meal. Snack on them too.
- Have a couple of portions of fruit per day.
- Learn how to read nutritional labels so you can pick healthy meals.
- Avoid being conned by marketing tricks that make you believe certain foods are healthy just because the may be ‘low cal’ or ‘low fat’. It’s more about the ingredients!
- Cook your food from scratch if possible – cook in bulk and then freeze to make it easier.
- Listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Starving yourself/bingeing are not healthy habits.
- Don’t stress about perfection, just be consistent.
Go For Regular Check Ups
Just a reminder to not skip your check ups. Even if nothing is wrong with you, you should get checked out by your doctor periodically as doctors are able to spot issues way before you. WebMD’s Check-ups and Tests You Shouldn’t Miss discusses a general exam and what you need to know. The type of tests and frequency depends on your age, general health, and risk factors.
If you don’t go for regular check ups, you may eventually end up requiring medical help for an urgent medical issue. High blood pressure, diabetes, and early signs of cancer are just a few problems that can develop. Accidents are another example of a need for urgent care and ususally involve broken limbs and possible head trauma. If you want to live a life that is healthy and well, you might need medical intervention from time to time. For example, if you have a broken hip and need hip replacement surgery, it’s important that you seek appropriate treatment.
Get Plenty Of Sleep
Sleep is key to any healthy lifestyle. You should be getting around 7-8 hours per night. This can vary depending on how much you feel you need and how much sleep helps you to feel your best. See Tips to Help You Sleep Better for more ideas.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Stress can play a huge part in overall health, and actually cause physical ailments if it is not managed. I started at the beginning with relaxation from walking. That may not work for everyone. Find ways to reduce your stress levels, such as deep breathing, meditation, coloring, and more. See Dealing With Stress, Top Tips for more information.
Consider Your Mental Health
The last thing that we are going to discuss is your mental health. Living a healthy and well life includes taking care of your mind as well as your body. We already discussed the fact that exercise can be helpful here, but there are other things that you can do as well. Be sure to get a good sleep routine. Eat a healthy diet. Make sure that you don’t isolate yourself from the people who care when life starts to get hard. You have people around that care for you, you just need to let them in and talk about it.
If you feel like things are getting particularly bad, then you need to talk to a professional. Someone who isn’t going to judge you, but will be able to get you the help that you need in order to help you to live your best life.
I hope you found this post helpful. As always, I wish you happiness and peace.
This is a collaborative post, but all opinions are my own.
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