Need a Health Fix?
A word to the wise:
Everyone wants a quick fix. But have you ever considered that a “quick fix” can often be just changing one small thing about your lifestyle? If you don’t exercise, start today. If you don’t eat healthy, go buy some better-quality food for your cupboards. If you are exhausted during the day, create a better sleep schedule for yourself. You may not see results immediately, but if you are consistent you will quickly start to feel better.
Listed below are some great ideas for health fixes. As mentioned above, people are often looking for a quick fix. Well let’s be clear about one thing.
You will not see new results by doing the same thing you are doing now.
If you go get surgery to lose weight, but continue to eat the same way, you will quickly gain the weight back.
If you take a pill to fall asleep, you will come to rely on those pills for sleep.
Take a few minutes to read through College Word to the Wise’s Health Fixes. Keep in mind that you don’t need to do all of them at once. Just pick one and start working on it daily. Once you start seeing the results and feel ready, pick another fix and work on that.
The purpose behind these ideas is to create a healthier and longer life for yourself.
I don’t think this needs much explaining. Exercising is a key component of a healthy lifestyle.
According to MedlinePlus, the average adult looking to reduce the risk of chronic disease and increase their overall health and fitness should do 30-minute minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week. In addition, they should aim for a strength training session at least twice per week.
For children and teenagers, the requirements for physically activities are much higher. It is recommended that they get 60 minutes minimum of physical activity daily. Along with the 60-minute requirement, they should aim to do strengthening activities at least 3 times a week.
Keep in mind that these requirements are the minimum for general health. If you are looking to lose weight or gain weight, the requirements will be greater!
I think it is important to note that although cardio and strength are often the main focus in fitness discussions, it is important to consider other physical requirements as well.
- Stretching for flexibility and mobility
- Training for balance and reflexes
- Working on hand eye coordination
- Maintaining muscle patterns
You’ve probably heard this before; meditation is very beneficial for our health. This is backed by scientific studies.
According to a the Sciencedirect.com article “Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity”, the benefits of mindfulness meditation has proven to reduce stress. It also reduced the inflammatory response caused by that stress.
Plus, who doesn’t want to feel less stressed?
Gaining control of anxiety and depression:
Meditation has shown that is also powerful tool for gaining control of anxiety.
According to a study done with 22 medical patients with anxiety disorders, by following an 8-week program of mindfulness meditation the patients had significant improvement from their symptoms.
Not only did the mindfulness meditation help with anxiety, it also produced significant decreases in depression scores.
Of course, this would take dedication and consistency to achieve results. It is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix.
Meditation could fill up an entire post by itself, covering health, memory improvements, lengthened attention spans, its use for controlling pain and prepping your body for sleep. It is a wonderful practice that can give anyone willing to try it a boost in health and well-being.
Sleep is extremely important for our health. Unfortunately, when we are in school we spend too many late nights studying. After graduation our lives continue to get busier with our love life, children, hobbies, and work.
The busier we get, the more we cut back on our sleep. This is a problem because not only is sleep important, it is absolutely essential to our health both mentally and physically.
According to the PubMed website, there have been links identified between sleep and emotional brain function. After many clinical observations, it has been determined that “nearly all mood and anxiety disorders co-occur with one or more sleep abnormalities.”
By getting the proper amount of sleep, our brains enter the process of affective brain homeostasis…basically our brains are able to prepare us for the emotional and social functions needed for the next day.
Lack of sleep can also affect us in other ways:
- Cognitive performance
- Poor memory functions
- Feeling mentally tired
- Increase negativity
- Poor decision making
- Less productive
- Low motivation
Believe it or not, evidence shows that sleep has a direct connection to our metabolic functions. According to the PubMed website, industrialized countries (Canada, United States, Norway, and etc.) have seen a dramatic increase in obesity and diabetes over the past 30 years.
After further study, it a link was identified between poor sleep habits and obesity and diabetes. This of course goes hand in hand with poor eating habits and not enough physical activity.
So how much sleep do you actually need each night?
Unfortunately, there is no exact number for everyone. You will have to test out different durations and figure out what works best for you and then be consistent.
Sleep Foundation has developed a sleeping chart that gives a general range for each age group:
- Teens = 8-10 hours of sleep
- Young Adults = 7-9 hours of sleep
- Adults = 7-9 hours of sleep
I have always had a lot of trouble falling asleep. My family doctor told me I most definitely had some degree of insomnia. About 2 months ago my girlfriend and I were watching a video by Tim Ferriss, author of “the 4-hour work week”, about his night-time routine. He mentioned a trick he used to fall asleep.
Decaffeinated tea + 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar + honey
Don’t take my word for it, just go try it. He couldn’t explain it in his video and I can’t explain it now, but it works and I finally fall asleep much quicker than I ever have in the past.
Drink water as soon as you wake up:
Drinking water as soon as you wake up is a great way to start your day! A nice improvement on this is to drink warm lemon water.
By drinking warm lemon water as soon as you wake up, you will:
- Hydrate yourself for the day
- Give yourself a boost of Vitamin C and Potassium
- And improve your digestive circulation
It’s important to remember that you need to continue drinking water throughout the day. One rule of thumb most people have heard is drink 8 glasses of water a day. That’s probably a great start, but how much water do we actually need a day?
Your weight in lbs (pounds) divided by 2 = the required daily ounces of water.
- 165lbs / 2 = 82.5 ounces
How do I know if I’m getting enough ounces of water each day? 8 ounces = 1 cup of water. You would need to drink approximately 10 cups of water a day if you weighed 165 lbs. Imagine a pint of beer you would get at a bar or restaurant. You would need approximately 5 pints of water a day if you weighed 165 lbs.
Remember, having a tea or coffee counts for your daily water requirements. But try to stay away from sugary drinks and sugar filled juice products.
Focus on your Nutrition:
Eat better quality food! The fact is, almost everyone knows they could eat better, but they don’t. There is an assumption that healthy foods are always more expensive. While healthy food can definitely be expensive depending on what you are buy and from where, there are some simple ways to become a better eating quickly:
- Replace simple carbs with complex carbs. Do this by switching white bread for whole wheat bread or white rice for brown rice.
- Eat perishable food. If a food is non-perishable, chances are it’s unhealthy. By eating only perishable foods, we know we are getting natural products without to many preservatives.
- Eat more vegetables. Your meals should be packed with veggies as often as possible.
- Cut the candy from your diet. Get your sugar fix naturally by eating sweet fruits such as banana, strawberries and blueberries.
- Switch out your typical iodized table salt for pink Himalayan salt. Himalayan salt has more minerals than iodized salt and less additives.
- Eliminate white sugar. If you’ve been anywhere in North America, you’ve seen the effects sugar has had. Obesity and diabetes are not fun. If you really need a sweetener, try something like raw honey, stevia or real maple syrup.
- When you have a craving for junk food, try having dark chocolate.
Spend more time outdoors:
Researchers from the Solar Radiation Research Group at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) have analysed the time required to obtain the required daily dose of sun exposure.
They determined that during the sunny times of the year, such as spring and summer, it takes 10-20 minutes of sun exposure to get the required daily dose of vitamin D (1,000 IUs of vitamin D).
The same people tested would need a total of 2 hours in the sun during the winter months to achieve the same level of vitamin D. Because most people don’t want to spend that much time outside in the winter months, consider taking a Vitamin D supplement. Your family doctor or local pharmacist should be able to help you determine how much you need.
Getting to much sun!
While it’s great news that in the summer we only need 10-20 minutes to get out daily dose, it’s also shocking how quickly we damage our skin! It took only 30 minutes for reddening of the skin for the test subjects, indicating the beginning of skin damage.
Note: The research for this study was completed in Spain, where the most common skin type is skin type III on the Fitzpatrick Scale. For someone like me who is skin type I or II, I would need less time in the sun to achieve my daily dose of vitamin D. On the flip side, someone with darker skin types such as skin type V or VI have much more UV resistant skin and would need more time in the sun to get their daily dose of vitamin D.
Tell us how these health fixes have worked for you! Are there any other healthy fixes that have impacted your life significantly that you would like to share with others?