health is wealth

Health is Wealth: 10 Golden Rules for A Longer, Healthier Life

Knowing how to make money is important but, without a healthy lifestyle, key factors enabling the task can be sorely affected.  Energy levels, mental sharpness, and communication skills can all drop to unproductive levels.  Both the National Institutes for Health, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide valuable information regarding behaviors necessary for a healthier life.  A healthy body provides resources needed for being more effective in generating greater revenue and enjoying personal time.  Consider these 10 Golden Rules:

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet.

dietThe saying ‘you are what you eat’ is actually quite true.  This phrase dates back to the year 1826, but gained its greatest popularity in the U.S. during the hippie movement when organic foods gained popularity.

Commonly, consumers are unaware of the toxic nature of many foods purchased at grocery stores.  Suffice it to say, the less processed the meal, the healthier it is.  A person that sticks to eating natural foods (plants and animals) prevents unwanted chemicals from entering their bodies.  Food additives can wreak havoc on the body and mind.  As a matter of fact, according to FoodMatters.com, many countries have banned the use of some additives in their food.

2. Get Regular Exercise.

exerciseThe CDC recently reported that 80% of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of exercise for health maintenance.  A team of medical researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston, analyzed global data on deaths in 2008 and came up with an alarming result: 5.3 million deaths were attributable to physical inactivity, compared to 5 million smoking related deaths.

This certainly makes a poignant point- start moving!  The National Institutes for Health reports that taking a 20 minute walk a day makes a large difference in our bodies.  Ultimately, adding in aerobic activity and muscle strengthening components will only serve to increase the health benefits of exercising.

3. Spend More Time Outside.

outsideAccording to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans now spend 93% of their time indoors.  Since sunlight is our main source of Vitamin D, more and more individuals are developing Vitamin D deficiencies which result in an increased risk of such things as cardiovascular disease, cancer, severe asthma in children, and cognitive impairment in the elderly.

Being outdoors is imperative to improve physical and emotional health. As reported in US News and World Digest, although the government recommends adults get 200IU to 400IU a day, experts believe this is far too low and should be 10,000 IU of Vitamin D daily for improved health.  Sound like a lot?  This same report states that just 10-20 minutes a day of having exposure to the sun in mid-day will provide 10,000 IU.

4. Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule.

sleepGetting enough sleep each night is directly related to the productivity and well-being experienced the next day. A report by the CDC states that, “Sufficient sleep is increasingly being recognized as an essential aspect of chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression—which threaten our nation’s health.”

The National Institute of Health recommends 7-8 hours of sleep per night for adults.  NIH also points out the importance of staying on a consistent sleep schedule, having a quiet and comfortable environment, turning all gadgets off, and avoiding eating large meals before bedtime.

5. Reduce Stress.

no stressThree hormones are involved in what happens when the brain anticipates a threat and add fuel to the stress fire:  Adrenalin, Cortisol and Norepinephrine.  As reported by the Huffington Post, these 3 hormones which are produced by the adrenal glands, automatically respond after receiving a message from the brain that a stressful situation has presented itself.

Resultantly, the mind gets focused and the muscles tense up.  The inability to sleep, digestive disorders and irritability can occur.  WebMD suggests the following to reduce stress:  Find a balance between your work and personal life, find a sense of purpose in life apart from work, get enough sleep, pursue exercising more and adopt healthy habits.

6. Strengthen Intellectual Health.

thinkThe brain is an organ that needs stimulation.  New York Times writer Barbara Strauch states, “the trick is finding ways to keep brain connections in good condition and to grow more of them.” Strauch refers to Dr. Kathleen Taylor, a professor at St. Mary’s College of California, who has studied ways to teach adults effectively.

“The brain is plastic and continues to change, not in getting bigger but allowing for greater complexity and deeper understanding,” Taylor states.  Increasing the health of the brain includes reading material that will challenge thought patterns, taking up a new hobby, or getting involved in activities that will open up new connections in the brain.

7. Incorporate Relaxation Practices.

stressIt is critical to learn how to relax, take a deep breath, and ‘smell the roses’ as the saying goes.  In an article in Psychology Today written by Barton Goldsmith Ph.D., he relates the importance of taking time to give yourself the gift of a deep breath, the view of a long sunset and remembering that this time of being unproductive is giving you the opportunity to reboot your resources.  Goldsmith states, “Pick whatever day and time works best for you, and make it a plan. By committing to take some time for yourself and for those you love, you are giving yourself and your family a gift.”

8. Pursue Moderation in All Things.

moderationAlcohol addiction and tobacco use are major issues in American society.  One of the major foibles is that both are legal and, therefore, not controlled.  An organization called Moderation Management addresses the fact that quitting alcohol or tobacco use ‘cold turkey’ is ineffective.  Chances of eliminating them are slim unless you employ practices to moderate them.  While tobacco use is clearly detrimental to health, alcohol becomes detrimental when used in excess.

According to Moderation.org, “The better approach is to break the change process down into a number of smaller, more manageable steps. With the step-by-step approach you gain a sense of confidence, direction and momentum as you go along.”

9. Increase Emotional Health

smileAbout 10% of Americans report being clinically depressed, according to the CDC.  However, emotional health has to do with having healthy relationships, friends and co-workers that create a support system.  HelpGuide.org reports that “the mind and the body are linked. When you improve your physical health, you’ll automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. For example, exercise not only strengthens our heart and lungs, but also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energize us and lift our mood.  Try to maintain a balance between your daily responsibilities and the things you enjoy. If you take care of yourself, you’ll be better prepared to deal with challenges if and when they arise.”

10. Prevent Metabolic Syndrome

healthyThis may sound like an odd golden rule, but the escalating rise in obesity along with increasingly sedentary lifestyles has produced a sharp spike in Americans being affected metabolically.  The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute explains this phenomenon.

“Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke.  The term metabolic refers to the biochemical processes involved in the body’s normal functioning. Risk factors are traits, conditions, or habits that increase your chance of developing a disease. In the future, metabolic syndrome may overtake smoking as the leading risk factor for heart disease. It is possible to prevent or delay metabolic syndrome, mainly with lifestyle changes. A healthy lifestyle is a lifelong commitment.” Ultimately, if consistently addressing the 9 aforementioned rules, there is a strong likelihood that metabolic syndrome will be prevented.

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