The key to good health is not what you weigh but what you do with your body. How active are you? What do you put into your body? Both of these questions are key to being healthy vs. unhealthy.
There’s a lot of research out there that tells us the physically active people, on average, outlive those who are sedentary. The World Health Organization puts sitting or physical inactivity 4th on the list of risk factors for death, not whether you’re a size 2 or a size 12.
“If exercise could be packed into a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.” What a great quote by Robert Butler, M.D. This is so true. Many of us would much rather take a pill than get up and move.
Since it’s not packed into a pill what can you do to get the benefits of exercise?
Many of us understand you need to perform moderate intensity aerobic activities a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days a week. But what else can we do to get off the couch and away from the TV, computer or whatever it may be that keeps us sitting?
Remember 10,000 steps a day can keep you on an active path. Normal activities like raking leaves, house cleaning, gardening, shopping, playing with the kids all count.
Don’t sit for too long, after 60-90 minutes get up and move. You can get a drink, fold the laundry, or walk around the block, just get up and move.
How you fuel your body will affect how good you feel. It’s hard to be active if you aren’t eating the right nutrients. I know we’re all busy, but what you’re eating is just as crucial to your health as how active you are. Intermountain Healthcare recommends six building blocks to improve your nutrition:
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Keep a fruit basket in your kitchen.
- Used dried fruit as a quick snack.
- Keep prewashed lettuce greens and sliced vegetable in the refrigerator to make a quick salad.
Eat more whole grains.
- Check the ingredient list for the words ‘whole grain’.
- Watch out for whole grain snacks that are high in sugar.
Choose heart-healthy proteins.
- Avoid processed meats.
- For a healthy, high-protein snack, choose nuts or seeds instead of pretzels or chips.
- Stick to portions that are about the size of a deck of cards.
Choose unsaturated fats and oils.
- Read food labels for saturated fat and cholesterol content.
- Substitute olive oil for butter or margarine whenever possible.
Select low-fat dairy products or dairy alternatives.
- Use low-fat milk or soymilk on whole grain cereals.
- Check the labels, and keep an eye out for low-fat or fat-free toppings.
Limit sodium (salt), sugar and alcohol.
- Avoid adding salt to your food.
- Avoid processed foods.
Maybe it’s time to change the way we think. Instead of fat vs. thin it should be healthy vs. unhealthy. The key is to concentrate on what we are doing to take care of our inside, not what we look like on the outside.