The Maintenance Of Good Health
As we discussed in the previous post Turning the Tide on Your Health, it’s critical we make our health a top priority. Our society has conditioned us to think we must be willing to make tremendous sacrifices if we want to achieve success.
While some sacrifice is definitely needed to achieve our goals, some of us have taken it to the extreme, and the consequences could be severe.
Here are a few things we sacrifice and the damage it can cause:
- Decreased performance/alertness
- High blood pressure
Many individuals work long hours for days or weeks at a time, which can be hazardous to their health. Increasing the risk of having many of the health issues listed above.
Medication will be taken as a form of treatment, not realizing the lack of sleep is the root cause of their problems.
In other words, taking medicine won’t help if you continue working long hours and don’t get the rest your body desperately needs. By simply going to bed a little earlier each night, the risk of becoming ill could be decreased.
Poor food choices
One of the biggest obstacles to good health is poor food choices. For example, energy drinks are extremely popular among those needing to get over the afternoon slump. Unfortunately, these beverages are high in caffeine and sugar.
The average energy drink can have between 70 to 200 mg of caffeine per can, and the sugar can cause spikes in glucose levels. Did you know in 2011, 20,000 emergency room visits in the United States were due to the consumption of energy drinks?1
Another issue is the office vending machine: Most of the choices consist of artificially flavored drinks or snacks that high in sugar, fat and sodium.
In addition to consuming energy drinks, sodas and snacks, the average lunch consists of fast food: burgers, fries, pizza or something fried are common. These foods may ideal for those always on the go and taste good, but they do often more harm than good. High blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol are just a few of the health issues we could face if we keep eating these foods on a daily basis.
Not only are these foods unhealthy, according to recent research, they could be addictive: “highly processed foods can lead to classic signs of addiction like loss of control, tolerance, and withdrawal.”2
Ask yourself: do you have intense cravings for certain foods certain times of the day? Do you get mad, cranky or irritable if you can’t eat it? If so, you might have a food addiction.
To add insult to injury, many of the foods we crave are simply not good for us.
Lack of movement
Another major issue that affects our health is lack of movement. When we work long hours, that often means sitting at our desks in front of our computers. Then, we drive home, only to sit in front of the television. This lack of movement and physical activity has been linked to the following health issues:3
- Increased risk of developing high blood pressure
- Elevated risk of certain cancers
- Heightened feelings of anxiety and depression
On the flipside, increased physical activity has the following benefits:3
- Decreased risk of type 2 diabetes
- Reduced risk of coronary heart disease
- Reduced risk of falls and improved bone health in older individuals
What Can I Do?
These are all things many of us do daily without much thought. But as we can see, they can have a tremendous impact on our health over time. It can take years for a person to become diabetic, have high blood pressure, or diagnosed with high cholesterol. They may place the blame on genetics or age, not realizing their poor lifestyle habits for the last 5-15 years are the reason they are sick.
Here are some of the things we can do daily to maintain good health:
Stay away from the vending machine. Don’t bring loose change or one dollar bills to work. Instead of drinking soda or energy drinks, consume coffee or tea. These drinks are healthier, and the caffeine will give you a gentle boost. Water is still the best, but if you crave something flavored, add a slice of lemon or dash of cinnamon. Trail mix with raisins, dried cranberries or dark chocolate are a great substitute for that candy bar or microwave popcorn.
Go for a walk. Resist the urge to sit for hours straight without getting up. Walk as much as you can throughout the day:
- Take the stairs often
- Park further away in the parking lot
- Use the bathroom on a different floor
- Walk on your break instead of sitting in the break-room.
Additional Ways to Maintain Good Health
Stop eating fast food. Instead of eating the typical lunch foods, bring food from home. This can significantly decrease the amount of sugar, fat and salt consumed on a daily basis.
Take a 20 Minute Nap. Getting adequate rest is one of the most important things we can do. A quick power nap can recharge the batteries, allowing a person to finish the day strong.
Our health is something we take for granted, that is, until we get sick. By making these small changes in our daily lives, we can greatly improve our overall health. There is nothing wrong with working hard to achieve the finer things in life. Have a nice car, a beautiful home and a nice retirement account is great, but we must keep it all in perspective. None of these things matter if we are too sick to enjoy them.
Mahatma Gandhi said it best:
“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”
Start taking better care of your health today. Your body will thank you.
PS – Good health also begins with what you put in the mind. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be on the Business Building Rockstars show with the host Nicole Holland. I trust you will take time to listen to this interview.