Each day you create yourself anew through choices. Along with the beauty of nature in full bloom and a calendar of festivals, springtime in south Louisiana presents unending choices to enjoy. It’s also a perfect time for renewing healthy eating, fitness and other lifestyle choices.
Live a longer, healthier life by choosing to:
• Eat more fruits and vegetables and less red meat and sugar
• Exercise more
• Reduce stress and anxiety
• Get more sleep
• Stay hydrated and limit alcohol consumption
Choosing to Eat Healthy
Remember the food pyramid with fruits and vegetables stacked along the bottom, while foods high in sugar, salt and fat cap the top shelf. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends replacing the pyramid with MyPlate, an easier-to-follow dietary guideline.
Also, monitor your diet to ensure you’re getting the necessary daily amounts of vitamins and nutrients. In particular, B vitamins are essential for brain health, metabolism and red blood cell production. Vitamin D promotes strong bones and teeth, as well as boosts the immune system. Routine wellness visits can detect deficiencies that need to be addressed.
What you need most is often what you try most to avoid. Despite knowing the benefits of exercise, you may try to avoid the effort. Regular exercise improves physical health, as well as mental health and overall well-being. An hour of movement lifts your spirits and lowers the risk of depression.
Along with benefiting cardiovascular health, research also shows exercise is good for brain health. An hour of moderate exercise three times a week can improve memory, energy levels and sleep patterns. Thibodaux Regional Fitness Center offers a number of options to get moving and with so many choices, it is easy to find a multitude of activities you will enjoy.
Stress impacts the entire body. The mind-body connection affects our two most vital organs—the heart and brain. Managing stress helps lower blood pressure, decrease depression and anxiety, and reduce inflammation.
Meditation offers a good option for relieving stress. Start with a 15-minute meditation. Find a quiet place and sit comfortably on a cushion or favorite chair. Close your eyes and try to shut out and shut off. Or try walking meditation, leave your desk at lunch and head outdoors to enjoy the beauty of azaleas and bulbs in bloom.
Getting More Sleep
Research shows that less than seven to eight hours of sleep a night is linked to memory loss and cognitive decline. A good night’s sleep allows the body to repair and restore itself. Optimal sleep balances moods, improves memory and boosts immune systems. Sleep also helps control the heart rate and blood pressure.
Turn off all devices—television included—30 minutes to an hour before going to bed. If you have trouble falling asleep, read a book or magazine until becoming drowsy.
If even after taking all of the right steps towards better sleep, but you still aren’t getting quality rest, talk with the experts at Thibodaux Regional Sleep Disorders Center.
While water consumption varies depending on lifestyle, climate and a person’s age, eight 8-ounce glasses a day remains the standard. As the weather warms and humidity climbs, drink more water or eat foods with high water content. Cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, celery and spinach are all at least 90% water.
A recent study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicates that adults who don’t sufficiently hydrate may age faster, have a higher risk of chronic diseases and die younger than those who stay well hydrated. Along with drinking more water, drink less alcohol.
Spring is here, the flowers are in bloom, the grass is green, isn’t it time we do a refresh on ourselves too?
For more information on health and wellness, contact Thibodaux Regional Wellness Education Center, 985.493.4765 or visit us online at thibodaux.com.