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September 24, 2012

5 Simple Steps to Living Healthy.

In today’s fast paced society, it can be easy to neglect our health and wellness.

We’re so busy racing through our day-to-day existence that we forget to take the time to look after ourselves.

We get so caught up with family, friends, work, and social engagements that it’s no wonder that we’re constantly tired and run down. We forget that in order to take care of others, we have to take care of ourselves first. So what are some simple things that we can do to improve your quality of life?

1. Drink… Drink… Drink…

You’ve heard it a hundred times and you’ll probably hear it a hundred more. Drink more water!

The human body is 72 percent water. A mere five percent drop in fluids creates a 25 to 30 percent loss in energy. A 15 percent drop in fluids causes death! At this point in time, most of us aren’t drinking enough water. As a result, we aren’t running on all six cylinders to start with. Then add in air pollution, fast food and stress to make matters even worse.

Fortunately for us, this can be easily remedied. Just drink one glass of water every half hour or so —or 10 to 12 glasses of water per day. If this still seems too much, start slow by gradually adding an extra glass of water to your current routine every couple of days until your reach your desired goal.

Don’t know how much water you actually need?

A good rule of thumb is to take your body weight and divide it in half. That’s how many ounces of water you need per day for your body to function properly. By increasing your water intake slowly it will become a natural part of your daily routine. And you’ll notice a huge jump in your energy levels as your body begins to function at optimal levels.

2. Living Food—Loving Life!

A little known fact is that heating food above 116 degrees fahrenheit destroys much of the nutrient content. Considering that we already aren’t eating enough vegetables, that is a fairly substantial problem. Nutritionists recommend five servings of fresh vegetables per day. How many of us are actually taking that advice?

A great way to get the nutrients found in fresh veggies without spending all day in the kitchen or eating raw celery sticks is to juice your veggies. Make sure that you own a good juicer (some juicers expose vegetables to heat created by friction during juicing, which breaks down important enzymes), grab some fresh vegetables and drink your way to good health. It takes a fraction of the time (there’s no cooking involved, for one thing) and it’s convenient. You can take your juice to work and even give some to the kids for school lunches!

Photo: Addison Berry

Wheat grass in particular is an excellent source of nutrition. It’s high in chlorophyll (sometimes described as “plant blood” because it closely resembles human red blood cell molecules) and has over 100 elements that the body needs. Fresh grains are another excellent source for vitamins and minerals.

If you still don’t have the time to juice and your digestive system isn’t strong enough to handle raw vegetables (salads included), take the simple route and steam your vegetables. Boiling takes all the nutrients out, but steaming retains the nutrients and helps predigest your food for better absorption and less digestive issues.

3. Energy In—Energy Out

Exercise is another dirty word for most of us. The thing is, exercise doesn’t have to be horribly time consuming or mind-numbingly boring. There are plenty of options.

Years ago gyms usually offered weight rooms, aerobics classes and maybe circuit training. Now you can add water aerobics, yoga, pilates, dancercise, step classes, belly dancing and a whole range of new workout options.

If you don’t really have the time or money for the gym, or prefer to spend your mornings/nights at home, then try an exercise bike or treadmill. You can set it up in front of the television and peddle away merrily during your favorite shows.

Want to have a little more fun with it? Buy a Wii or Xbox. Video game consoles aren’t just for kids anymore. The interactive and fitness games can be a great way to work out alone, with a friend, or with your kids. It’s a fun way to build balance, stamina, and increase your heart rate without all the fuss.

If you suffer from an illness or injury or your level of fitness is quite low, please consider some invaluable advice:

Once you’re physically unfit, and particularly if you’re also unwell, it can be a mammoth battle to just do the most minimal amount of exercise in a day. The danger is that inactivity leads to further loss of energy, which becomes a self-perpetuating cycle until you can barely get off the couch.

An excellent way to get back into a physical routine is to start slowly. For the first couple of weeks, walk/ride for five minutes per day—exactly five minutes, no more, even if you think you could continue. When the two weeks are up, increase to seven minutes; then 10 minutes, 12 minutes… continue to gradually increase your activity until you’re at a level that you’re comfortable with. It may seem ridiculously slow, but don’t overdo it. If you do too much too soon, you may get discouraged. But if you keep a slow and steady pace, your stamina will increase and you’ll be out and about before you know it.

It may sound a little silly, but it does work. Basically, you’re tricking your body into producing more energy. You’re building your exercise time up so slowly that your body doesn’t really realize what’s happening. Follow this method and, before you know it, you’ll be comfortably exercising within your limits every day.

So, folks, that’s the basics.

If you can rearrange your life a little to allow for better eating habits and a little exercise—and if you remember to just drink a glass of water every half hour or so—you’ll be well on the way to living a healthy life.

4. Quiet Time

Don’t forget to take some quiet time for yourself. Meditating is an excellent way to minimize stress. You don’t have to sit around for hours, just give yourself five minutes of quiet time every day and have a little catch up with yourself.

5. Laugh… Laugh… Laugh

And last, but certainly not least—laugh! In fact, laugh like there is no tomorrow. The louder the better! You’ll be amazed at how much such a simple thing can lift your spirits! Don’t feel like laughing? Remember the old saying, “Fake it til you make it!” Start out with the following: “Ho, ho, ho.” “Ha, ha, ha.” “He, he, he.” Keep repeating until a real laugh starts and then let it roll for all it’s worth.

Living healthy doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. Keep it simple. The smallest things may seem frustrating to start with, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly the rewards add up.

And the benefits are priceless!

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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