There is an old saying that says…if I knew I was going to live this long; I would have taken better care of myself. No one expects a car to maintain itself. No one expects a house to never need repairs or maintenance. Yet, when it comes to our human frame, we are filled with shock and wonder at the thought that some care is required. Like a new car and a new house, when we are younger, we can get away with a certain amount of neglect without major repercussions. There comes a time when that is no longer true. Some are blessed with the ability to do nothing and exist as perfect specimens of health, but very few have hit this jackpot. So I thought we could go over some basic care of our bodies, to perform the bare minimum of maintenance and give a basic owners guide.
Rest. Sounds so basic, right? Especially considering how tired you are? Of course you rest, you say. I beg to differ. Many of us will forgo our beauty rest for something as meaningless as a television show we barely like. Our bodies actually need sleep and they need quality sleep. The amount differs from as little as four hours to as much as ten, each day. Sleep should be restful and quiet. Interrupted sleep does not qualify. (New mommies are of course excused, but should realize that they will be functioning with a bit of a fatigue handicap). It is worth the effort to figure out why you are not sleeping or why you are waking up. Limiting beverage and caffeine consumption are factors. There are also natural alternatives to take to sleeping pills. It can be hard work and take extra preparation to sufficiently rest, but going through life zoned out by fatigue is half existence.
Exercise. Just the polar opposite of rest, is some type of exercise. Any type is good, and you will have better success if it is something that you actually enjoy. Once you make it past the initial inertia, exercise CAN be fun. It obviously benefits your entire human frame and body systems. Find something you enjoy that you can continue doing. Success will not be probable if you are miserable. Make a plan to succeed and something you can commit to keeping. If you are starting from nothing, couch to 5k is an encouraging program. It is a lifetime of motion that will benefit you, not the weekend warrior that will have success. Pleasure will help you create a healthy lifestyle, because a lifestyle of fitness is most beneficial. Walk when you can, take the stairs and make the time to exert the effort to incorporate exercise into your entire life picture.
Diet. Wise food choices are the key. Food that is nutrient rich is actually more satisfying than empty calories. Be aware that sickness can wrongly influence your food choices; unhealthy bodies do not crave or desire healthy food. Are you ill? This can be anything from candida to cancer, but being aware that our bodies can lie to us and feed our sickness instead of our health. Plus, skipping meals usually does more harm than good. Blood sugar should be kept level to decrease crazy cravings and because your body to use the calories you are eating, not store them for the next famine. So often, people who struggle with weight are not gluttonous, but not eating enough nutrients. Choose your food with your head.
Stress. There are four types of stress: physical, chemical, emotional and thermal. Physical stress can be a one-time event, like a fall, or a repetitive thing, like poor posture. Chemical stresses can be anything from toxic substances, like nicotine to food allergies. Emotional stress can be anything from a rough day to a lifetime of emotional stress or a major traumatic event. Thermal stresses also exist in sudden temperature changes to harsh temperatures. Sometimes an ounce of prevention can negate the effects of the stress. For example, upping your vitamin C when you know you’re a running your body down to boost your immune system. Sometimes, though, stresses hit us like a Mack truck and no one can prepare for them. When that occurs, we are left to pick up the pieces and repair the damage. The effects of stress can be lessened to negated, but it will take effort.
As we age, it takes more effort to maintain our health, not less. As much as we would like to coast into our golden years, it is a fight and when you stop pushing, you are not standing still, but losing ground. Spend a little effort and thought on ways you can better maintain your body, and you will reap the benefits down the road.