Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Top Ten Ways to Stay Healthy

When I was on my mission back in 1980, on of our investigators, a lovely woman named Barbara, told me about a new phenomenon called "aerobics". I had told her I was trying to lost weight, so she said, "Why don't you bring your workout clothes to our next discussion and after you teach me, I can show you what it is.

So that's what we did. My companion and I taught her one of the missionary discussions, had a wonderful experience, then changed our clothes and went outside for our first "aerobics" class.

Well, long story short, Barbara did join the church and here I am twenty nine years later, doing aerobics. In fact, I've been teaching aerobics since 1982, which means I've been teaching twenty-seven years!

Lately I've felt like I was in a rut, then my daughter talked me into going to a Zumba class with her. I was nervous at first and was afraid I'd make a fool out of myself, but after the first song, I realized, I didn't care. I was having so much fun I didn't care what I looked like, and neither did anyone else in the class. Zumba is an aerobic form of exercise that incorporates moves from many dance forms; salsa, cha-cha, hip hop, Bollywood, folk dances and everything in between. I loved it and cannot get enough of it. Discovering Zumba has really helped me want to eat better and take better care of myself. I was so glad I gave it a try.

Now, I'm no specimen of health. I admit, I've gotten lazy in the past few years and don't deprive myself of goodies as much as I should. But there is one thing I have been consistent with and that's exercise. I believe very strongly that we need to take care of ourselves, especially as we age. I've talked to the ladies in the classes I teach about retiring. I just turned 50 this year and probably should. But my ladies tell me that we are all growing old together, so why should I retire? They have a point. Besides, I absolutely love teaching still. The hardest part of the workout is getting up at 5:45 a.m. in the morning.

Along the way I've learned many things that I thought I'd share with you. Bottom line is this, you are never too old to begin working out. I occasionally teach classes called, "Silver Sneakers" to the elderly population and these people are doing amazing things and having fun doing it. They are an inspiration to me.

Here's my list:

1. Be Personally Responsible For Your Health

If you don’t take good care of your health who will? Strive to be healthy. Give yourself reasons to stay healthy, whatever they are - such as an upcoming event you’re looking forward to. Take ownership of your health.

2. Think About Your Health Often

Your health is very important. Put your health in the forefront of your mind. Instead of running out for fast food, plan ahead and make healthy meals at home. You'll save money too! Give children healthy snacks. We have an obesity issue in our nation’s children and its very unhealthy. Teach by example.

3. Make Healthy Choices

In this day and age it’s easy to consume excesses without even trying. Decide for yourself if you can live with a half a portion instead of a whole one. Select water over soft drinks MOST of the time. Drink plenty of water. Sleep enough. Exercise your body and your mind. Get outdoors for some fresh air and sunshine. Enjoy life.

4. Eat more organic foods

Organic foods taste better and are better for you. Plus, getting the least amount of pesticides into your blood stream is best for your overall health and for the health of our planet.

5. Eliminate Hydrogenated Foods From Your Diet

This includes crackers, cookies, chips, and many of the quick foods we reach for when we just want a snack. Read the Labels. Hydrogenation masks the fact that your food could be rancid.

6. Read the Labels

Pay close attention to the wording on labels. Sometimes you think you're getting something that is whole grain or 100% whole wheat, but in reality you're not.

7. Work on Ensuring Healthy Relationships

Stress from Relationships is draining and wears you down. This is one of the greatest steps you can take toward positive health.

8. Develop a Positive Attitude

Attitude plays an enormous role in health and healing. A positive attitude is a key trigger for maintaining your overall health. A negative attitude drags you down and, frankly, everyone around you.

9. Educate Yourself on How to Improve Your Health

Read books, watch videos and attend classes and seminars regarding healthy living, cooking and lifestyle. Invest in your health, it's worth it.

10. Take extra Vitamins and Minerals

Today’s food is void of many of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to stay healthy. A good bio-available multi-vitamin will help you stay healthy. To tell the bio-availability of a vitamin drop it in warm water (about 97 degrees – or roughly the same as our normal body temperature) and watch what happens to the vitamin within the first 5 minutes. Does the vitamin still have a hard coating around it or is the vitamin infusing with the water? What happens after 10 minutes. The infused vitamin is the more bio-available and works faster to deliver the nutrients your body needs.

Now I know it's hard to change everything at once. So, just change one thing this week. Just one. Work on it until it becomes a habit then start on the next one. Our health is something we should never take for granted.

4 comments:

Doran & Jody said...

Oh Michele, your post just made me tired thinking of all the things I need to do. JK

Good thing I got my 5 miles in this morning and on my 2nd 32 oz mug of water.

Now hand over the chocolate and MAKE a great day!

Wes and Megan Bell said...

Just the right kick in the pants I needed. I'll be better!

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

I love it! I've been really into getting healthy this summer and I feel so, so good. I never thought I'd be one to say I love daily exercise and actually mean it. I love it!

Thanks for your post, Michele. And for the record, you don't look a day over 29.

Cami Checketts said...

Great post. Thanks Michele. As an exercise scientist I always advise others about fitness, but sometimes I neglect changing my own bad habits! Thanks for the reminder,
Cami