Teaching healthy living has been a passion of mine for most of my adult life. True health and fitness depend on treating the body, mind and soul as a whole unit. The acronym “WHOLENESS” outlines the basic principles that I have learned in my formal studies in nutrition and have observed in truly healthy people. Thinking about wholeness can help keep us on track when enthusiasm for taking care of our bodies wanes. Wholeness can be attained at any age by following a few basic health habits.
W = Water
Drink water like a camel! Since the human body is more than 70% water, not drinking enough of it can dehydrate every body system. But drinking 6-8 glasses of pure water a day can protect your joints, brain, heart, pancreas, and skin. It will help control false hunger pangs, aid in elimination, and stave off premature aging. Drink about half your body weight in ounces every day.
H = Healthy Habits
Establish a regular, healthy routine or rhythm. The body is programmed to work optimally on a 24-hour circadian cycle. Eating, sleeping and exercising at regular times every day supports health and fitness and can actually prolong life! Many people who live to be 100+ say that they followed regular routines throughout their lives.
O= Outside Air
Go outdoors and breathe deeply every day. Diseases, including the dreaded cancers, thrive when there is a lack of oxygen. Fresh air will help prevent brain fog and help keep you focused. Getting outside for a breath of fresh air can clear the mental cobwebs. Filling your lungs and life with fresh outside air will help keep you physically fit and mentally sharp.
Cultivate a love of God, love of others and a lifestyle of forgiveness. Don’t hesitate to actively seek help in coming to terms with present pain or with old issues. Nine out of ten illnesses originate in the mind. Worry, bitterness and unresolved anger, can wreak havoc on every system in the body. On the other hand; love, trust, and forgiveness are life giving and health preserving.
E= Exercise & Elimination
Get moving and make sure to keep your colon moving, as well. Walk, swim, rebound, or any other aerobic exercise for 30+ minutes daily. Rotate exercises adding resistance exercises, such as weight bearing exercise, every other day for bone health. S-T-R-E-T-C-H like a cat upon arising and after you exercise to keep flexible as you age. Exercise is good for mood, circulation, digestion, respiration and elimination. Just like exercise, regular elimination is a key to wholeness. Nutrition, water and herbal elimination aids can help regularity, if you struggle in that area.
Eat a fibrous, unprocessed “rainbow.” The fiber in vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds help keep your colon swept out. Five to seven servings of dark, bright colored fruits and vegetables every day provides your body with very powerful anti oxidants and enzymes it needs for both function and repair. To preserve valuable nutrients, look for food grown without much processing. Eat some raw fruits or vegetables, loaded with digestive enzymes, with every meal to insure proper digestion.
Tickle your funny bone and avoid “stinking thinking.” Laughter and a positive attitude release endorphins. Endorphins are the feel good hormones that help keep your body healthy. Laughter is good medicine and a happy heart can actually strengthen the bones! So make a point to laugh every day and go out of your way to interact with people who support positive thinking.
Soak up sunshine for 15 minutes every day. Exposing just your face to sunlight for that short amount of time, whatever the season, causes the body to produce Vitamin D. (Vitamin D helps strengthen bones, improve mood, keep your immune system healthy and prevent cancer.) Sunlight also can lift the mood and help to prevent seasonal affective disorder. Take precautions against sunburn, but don’t fear the sun.
Don’t burn the midnight oil. Go to bed early and get six to eight hours of sleep every night. Your body is programmed to heal and repair itself during sleep. Going to bed too late and/or not getting enough rest can short circuit physical and emotional health. Conversely, regular, adequate rest can support health and give you more energy and lead to a longer, healthier life.
Practice the 9 habits of WHOLENESS outlined above this coming new year and look forward to better health.
Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!