How To Keep Your Body Healthy
Physical health really does effect the rest of life - I can attest to that fact. For many years I lived with various issues - fatigue, stomach distress and migraines. When I finally connected the dots, I realized my aches and pains were the natural result of years of neglect.
Fortunately it wasn't too late to turn things around. Now, though I'm certainly not perfect, I usually live in what I call my "healthy zone" - where I feel good and strong, like my body is functioning well. And I can be more productive and creative in other areas of my life.
What started as a couple of changes for the better eventually became a lifestyle for me. It can for you, too. You just have to commit both to learning what being healthy means, and how to make choices each day to encourage living that way.
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Clinical Definition Of Healthy
So what does the term "health" actually mean? The Miriam Webster Dictionary definition is 'free from illness; vigor, vitality; soundness of body'. It sounds like a great goal. But how do you actually measure it, and how can you tell when you've reached it?
Steps To Keeping Your Body Healthy
1. Schedule Regular Doctor Visits
Annual exams monitor vital statistics like blood pressure and heart rate. The doctor will listen to your breathing as well as check your ear, nose, throat and neck. Your skin, joints, reflexes and abdomen will all be tested.
Making sure each of your body's systems is running smoothly is key to good overall health. And while you're there, find out about the possible side effects of any medications you take, along with interactions with other drugs, foods, etc. That information will equip you to make good decisions each day.
2. Define Your Personal Goals
Beyond a doctor's evaluation, you need to know what "healthy" means for you. Is it feeling less tired all the time? Is it losing weight or inches? Think about a time when you've felt at your best physically. Write down a few adjectives that describe how you looked and felt then. They will give some helpful clues of what to aim for.
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Your Goals Should Be:
Specific - Saying "I want to lose 20 pounds in 3 months" is much more concrete than saying "I want to be thinner". And, you can see and celebrate your progress along the way!
Systematic - Once you know your destination, it's easier to plan how to get there. With food and exercise plans in front of me I felt more prepared for the day ahead, and was motivated to keep on track.
Self-aware - Learn all you can about your family genetics, and any health issues to watch out for. Accept your body type as it is - comparing yourself to someone else only triggers discouragement and frustration.
Sensitive - Be patient with yourself. Making lasting lifestyle changes takes time and practice. Encourage yourself as you go, especially when you falter. Also, figure out how you will maintain the level you reach.
3. Make The Right Changes
If you realize that loosing weight is part of your healthy-body plan, you have lots of resources to help you. Weight Watchers offers support such as menus, group meetings and weigh-ins. The ChooseMyPlate website can inform you about nutritional goals, as well as tips and ideas for planning.
When I got serious about improving my family's daily diet, I started reading cookbooks to learn how to put a meal together. Once I gained confidence I started creating my own dishes that incorporated favorite ingredients in a healthy way.
One of the most important overall strategies I know of is to make your meals colorful - that reflects a good variety of foods, and a higher nutritional value. And, include more fruits and vegetables than meat on your plate.
Note: Losing even 10% of your body weight will have beneficial effects on your health.
Our bodies were made to be in motion, and to be at our healthiest, we need to find ways to stay active each day. That can be a challenge, so having a game plan is essential.
Find a couple of things you like to do and start doing them. And take it slow, especially if you haven't been very active. Walk around the neighborhood or do some low-impact aerobics at first. Take a class to learn a whole new sport, like yoga or tai chi.
Plan for at least 3-4 workouts a week. Think of exercise sessions as important appointments to keep with yourself, for yourself, and stick to them.
Note: A balance of cardio workouts (fast walking, dancing or aerobics) and strength training (weights, resistance work) will bring the best results for the body.
Other Body Health Assessments
Along with having a regular exam, you may want to gather other current information on your body. These tests can be done at home or by a professional.
BMI (Body Mass Index)
This figure is calculated from your weight and height and has replaced the traditional standard height/weight chart.
The BMI Formula: BMI = (pounds x 700) divided by (inches squared)
Ex. 96000 (140 pds x 700) divided by 4290.25 (5 ft 5.5 in) squared = 22.37
If your BMI is:
less than 18.5, you are considered underweight.
between 19 and 24.9, you are in the recommended weight range for your height.
25 to 29.9, you are considered overweight.
30 or higher, you're considered obese.
Place a tape measure around your midsection, at the top of your hipbone (usually at belly button level). Pull the tape snug but not tight.
The goal for a healthy waist in most cases is:
Less than 40 in. (102 cm) for men.
Less than 35 in. (88 cm) for women.