You have the occasional green smoothie and take a cross fit class at least once a month. But when you get to a certain age, you have to wonder whether that’s really enough. Am I taking care of my health?
We’ve all heard the tragic stories. There was that super fit guy who ran marathons and had a heart attack at 45. And then, there was your friend’s mom who died of breast cancer in her late 30s.
When we’re young, these stories seem out of reach. We tend to think we’re invincible. But once we get to a certain age, the concept of mortality starts sinking in. We realize that we could become one of those tragic stories if we don’t clean up our acts.
But when it comes down to it, health can be a very confusing topic. For every study that tells you eggs are unhealthy, there’s another that’ll encourage you to eat more.
Fortunately, you don’t need a nutritional degree to make healthier choices. If you’re wondering if you’re truly taking care of yourself, answer the following questions.
Are you exercising daily?
One study published in the American Journal of Physiology indicates that we really only need 30-minutes of exercise daily. Why? Well, researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark found that 30-minutes of daily exercise provide just as much weight loss and body mass improvement as 60-minutes of the same exercise.
This is good news for those of us who may be reluctant to exercise. All we really need is 30-minutes every day, and who doesn’t have that?
As for what type of exercise we need, a 2018 Circulation study gives us some pointers.
The study found that 30-minutes of aerobic exercise four to five times a week was the “sweet spot” for improving heart health. Researchers analyzed the hearts of 53 adults between 45 and 64 years of age without any history of regular exercise. Participants were split into groups who did aerobic activity and those who did yoga. Those in the aerobic activity group showed an 18 percent improvement in maximum oxygen intake during exercise and more than a 25 percent improvement in ventricular muscle plasticity. The yoga group did not see the same improvements.
Do you have healthy skin?
When something is wrong within the body, you may see external signs. If your body is in need of repair, you may see increased signs of aging, like wrinkles and lost elasticity.
Science has uncovered that free radical damage is at the root of the aging process, both internally and externally. So, if you seem to be aging before your time, you may benefit from some healthier lifestyle changes.
Start by removing anything from your life that could be causing unnecessary oxidative stress. This may include smoking, drinking alcohol or binging on junk food. In addition, make sure you’re getting at least the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables daily. This will help ensure that you’re getting enough antioxidants to offset the inevitable oxidative stress.
Do you have any vices?
If you start your day with a pot of coffee before you switch over to wine in the evening, you’re not doing your body any favors. Also, habits like smoking wreak havoc on your body. Cupcakes are also no picnic. Many studies have shown that sugar has a detrimental effect on health (it’s not just about diabetes).
You may be surprised to learn that even moderate drinking can be bad for your health. So, if you have alcohol regularly, it’s probably time to cut back.
Are you drinking enough water?
Hydration is essential to us human beings. Our bodies cannot function without water, but they also don’t function well on the bare minimum. If you’re only getting enough water to keep thirst at bay, you may not be getting enough water.
The body’s natural detoxification system relies on water to help flush toxins out through perspiration, urination, and respiration.
If you’re wondering how much water you should get, you may find some conflicting information. The reason for this is that it’s entirely individual. It depends greatly on your body type, height, weight, and exercise. It can also depend on the climate you call home.
So instead of trying to calculate precisely how much water you’ll need, do this: Divide your body weight by half and drink that much water in ounces. If you weigh 150 lbs., drink 75-ounces of water.
Use this calculation as a baseline. If you find that you’re still thirsty or sweat profusely (for whatever reason), drink more. If you find that you’re eliminating too often and it’s interfering with your lie, drink a little less. Find the water intake that works best for you and stick with it. This is one of the most natural things you can do to improve your health because you’ll give your body what it needs to function at its best.
Too many of us avoid thinking about health until there’s a problem. Then it becomes an emergency. But if we can all make simple lifestyle changes and stick with them, it’ll be easier to get healthy and stay that way.