9 Easy Habits for Better Health
The importance of good health also seems obvious: It makes everyday work, play and living enjoyable, meaningful, effective and successful. Yet there’s a reason beyond practicality and happiness for taking good care of our bodies. God wants us to.
In Paul’s words, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV.
Here are nine habits that can put you on the road to a healthy, happy and, yes, spiritual life worthy of the “temple” you inherited:
- PRAY Prayer is talking to God from a sense of faith, whether an expression of gratitude or a plea for help. It’s a spiritual communication that offers protection, understanding and meaning. What better way to receive a sense of well-being? “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV
- READ LABELS Control your diet by checking food labels for high fat and sugar levels and seek out higher levels of vitamins, fiber, minerals and protein. Eat whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables. About one-third of Americans are obese and at risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. Healthy eating habits can protect against chronic inflammation and disease.
- DON’T SMOKE Smoking is a major factor in lung cancer, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and poor blood circulation. Respiratory diseases are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor, join a support group or reach out to the American Lung Association at lung.org for help.
- DON’T ABUSE ALCOHOL Drinking beyond the occasional glass of wine or beer can lead to addiction or abuse for some people. Beyond-moderate consumption affects the brain, heart, pancreas, liver, weight and immune system. It also affects your work performance and relationships. Limiting alcohol consumption is a good way to stay healthy.
- TAKE BREAKS Stress not only affects your social well-being and mood, it also impacts your body, contributing to headaches, sleep problems, chest pain and fatigue. Include enjoyable activities in your daily routine—take 10 minutes for a quick walk around the block, jot something in your journal or call a parent or friend for a short chat.
- SLEEP MORE Aim for at least seven uninterrupted hours of sleep each night. To induce sleep, try setting your room to a cool temperature and putting up blackout curtains. Limited sleep can impair the ability to focus, react quickly, form memories and lose weight. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it can also increase risk of depression as well as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- DRINK WATER Hydration is essential for healthy skin, digestion, cognition and more, yet most Americans don’t drink enough water. The general rule of thumb: Drink eight glasses of water per day, or divide your body weight by 2 and drink that number in ounces per day. Also increase your intake of fruits and vegetables with high water content—melons, tomatoes, oranges and bell peppers.
- EXERCISE Move! Regular physical activity benefits body and mind. It keeps your weight down, builds a strong heart, strengthens muscles, reduces risk for disease and improves mental and cognitive health. Walk, bike, hike, swim, pull weeds, mow the lawn or hit a dance floor. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 30 minutes of exercise daily.
- MEDITATE Find a quiet space in your home or outdoors and take a few minutes for self-reflection to handle stress, recharge or even just to feel gratitude. Studies indicate it might help reduce blood pressure and anxiety, relieve irritable bowel syndrome and alleviate some symptoms of menopause and cancer.
Shoshana Pritzker RD, CDN, CSSD, CISSN by
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