Get Ready to Get Old
If you’re fully prepared to get old, it’ll take a lot longer to happen!
Here’s a friendly reminder of the basics it takes to function at your best:
Catch Some Z’s
Getting adequate and QUALITY rest for your brain and your body is essential to proper digestion, repair of injuries, cellular regeneration, good mental health, and any many other health aspects. The National Sleep Foundation says most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep at night. Make sure your bedroom is dark, not too warm, and your bed is comfortable. Do your best to have the same sleep schedule every day, avoid heavy meals and alcohol before bed, and have a relaxing nighttime routine like reading an hour before bed. Some people find using electronic devices like cell phones before bed increase sleep problems, but technology can be helpful to record and improve sleep patterns. Apps like myBivy are even getting cleared for clinical trials to help PTSD victims.
Find Your Zen
Managing stress and maintaining a positive attitude is a concept many people in the western hemisphere refuse to see the value in, but mental stress is a contributing factor for an innumerable amount of chronic conditions. Meditation, prayer, or just quiet time during the day is very important to mental health. Psychology Today reports meditation is much easier than people think, and is simply a process of turning away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the moment, for a moment.
You Are What You Eat
I believe author Michael Pollan says it best: Eat real food, not too much, mostly from plants. A proper diet is absolutely essential to good health. One place to find the most general concepts to healthy eating is The Healthy Eating Plate. Think of this as is the new version of the Food Pyramid, but developed by the Harvard Medical School instead of the USDA. Your pile of vegetables should be bigger than the other piles on your plate, your proteins should be clean and lean, and your limited amount of grains should be whole grains. Coffees and sodas don’t count as drinking fluid, and any oils you choose to use should not come from a test tube.
Fire on All Cylinders
In order to have your body functioning at it’s best, you need to have an optimally functioning nervous system. This depends on the ability of your brain to communicate with your body, which happens primarily through the spine. Keeping your spinal joints aligned insures there is no interference within the nervous system. This allows your body to heal itself and prevent illness much more effectively.
Exercise is much more than building muscle: it supports every other aspect of good health. Exercise is good for your brain-both mentally and neurologically, it helps your gut work properly, it helps keep your body balanced, and it leads to proper rest. New research is constantly finding how regular exercise can help many conditions varying from depression to constipation.
All of these pillars of health rely on each other to make a healthy person. If you don’t eat right, you’re less likely to exercise, which takes the positive out of your attitude and makes you less likely to sleep well. Each one of these mistakes is a stress on your nervous system and lowers your bodies’ ability to prevent disease.
I know you’re thinking, ‘Even if I hire a counselor, a dietician, a chiropractor, and a personal trainer, none of them can stop time, so what’s the point?’
The point is we want as much of our time on this planet as possible to be happy, lively, and productive. If we choose to abuse the only body we have, we are more likely to suffer from conditions that take the ability to choose away from us.