July 20, 2008 at 9:53 pm #28785
This is simple good advice – modify “movement” to be qigong.
July 20, 2008
FOR YOUR HEALTH: Five Things to Remember
By Dr. David Eifrig Jr.
Before reading this week’s Health Report, spend a few moments imagining what your health will be like during the next 15 years.
If you are envisioning a healthy life, then the next step is to start doing more things to achieve that vision. A life filled with peace and pleasure is close at hand if you remember to pay attention to your self. Be mindful of the risks and benefits of choices.
I have developed a list of five simple steps to a healthy lifestyle.
The delight is that all five of these things are easy to do. I can promise if you begin today, you’ll actually feel better tomorrow. And if you do these things again tomorrow, I guarantee you’ll feel great by Tuesday.
I’ll caution you now. I read a lot of research and try out a lot of different ideas myself. But astonishingly, most of what I’ll share with you is based on common sense and quite simple to do. The hard part is starting. But if you start, the results will be fantastic.
These five things have been studied, tested, and proven to provide great benefits. Even if you can’t do all of them all of the time, at least try them once a day or week, until they become habit. The quality and length of your life will go up.
Start on the path to improved health with these five practices:
1. You are what you eat. This is the most important thing to remember: Pay attention to what you eat. Sounds simple enough. If all you eat are donuts and pastries with whole milk, French fries, Cokes, fried chicken, and onion rings, then guess what? You’re going to be fat, stink, and ache all over. Why? Because those foods are dense in calories and high in fats that destroy the good fat in your body.
Want to feel good? Eat whole grains, fruit, berries, teas, slowly grilled meats, and vegetables. A diet like that will get you closer to your natural weight because it will reduce your caloric intake. (Who can eat 18 apples in a day?) By the way, the Japanese have a saying “hara hachi bu,” which means eat until you are almost full, not stuffed. Humans who practice this live to their 100s and maintain good health. Remember, you are what you eat.
2. Move your body. It doesn’t matter what you do just get moving. Gardening is as beneficial as aerobics. Walking is as good as tennis. Your body knows it’s alive when it’s moving. By moving, you allow your body to produce chemicals and molecules that help keep it alive.
Amazingly, research shows movement results in changes at the molecular level. Exercise turns on and off different genes. It actually changes our genetic makeup! Ten years ago, doctors would laugh if you suggested such changes occur. If you are getting started, be careful and go slowly. But do something and let your body do the rest. Start with a simple 15-minute walk tonight.
3. Get your sleep. The fastest-growing health industry in the U.S. is the sleep business. It turns out poor sleep habits (and hygiene) will kill you faster than anything else. With poor sleep, you gain weight and your brain stops functioning. The actual structures in your brain change with poor sleep. Some changes are permanent. So remember to get at least seven and a half hours a day… although eight hours is ideal.
4. Get your sunshine. No matter where you live, get sun on your body every day. Sunlight prevents multiple diseases and improves moods. It decreases the odds of getting multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, cancer, and depression. Sunlight stimulates your body to produce vitamin D, which then combines with other important molecules critical to health.
Are you worried about sunburn? Don’t be. It’s simple: Don’t go out during the midday sun (11 a.m.-3 p.m.). And perhaps most important, avoid those cancer-causing sunscreens. The higher the SPF, the more concentrated the chemicals.
5. Stop and smell the roses. I’ve saved the best for last flowers. Flowers change your mood instantly. Flowers with sweet smells bring back memories. And science shows flowers increase our ability to create new memories. Flowers in the workplace increase productivity and mood.
Plus, it’s fun to grow your own. With a few pennies and a little bit of time, a small area in your backyard can be heaven. Watching the plants grow and picking them for a vase on your table is truly one of the joys in life. Be sure and plant varieties that smell good, like sweet peas, oriental lilies, roses, petunias, or even ever-blooming gardenias. But if you’re less inclined to test out your green thumb, be sure and buy flowers weekly… it will be the best $10 you have ever spent.
When it comes to these five things… What do I do?
1. I eat berries such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries that are high in antioxidants, which support healthy metabolism.
2. I take a multivitamin once a week to supplement my food.
3. I try to eat a little less than what makes me full.
4. I exercise in some form almost every day. Often it’s as simple as a 30-minute walk after dinner.
5. I try and get at least eight hours of sleep every night. If I don’t get that amount of sleep, my body and even my eyes ache.
6. I make sure to get some sun on my body every day.
7. I buy flowers almost weekly. Occasionally, I bring them to the office and surprise people… I don’t tell them I brought them. This is great fun.
Here’s to our health,
David Eifrig Jr., M.D., M.B.A.
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