Investing in your health is something every person should do, but many don’t know where to start. Finding the time and money seem impossible, and for some selfish, to devote the resources needed for the level of self-care that provides optimal wellness. Even so, it’s important to focus on improving and sustaining wellness as much as possible to maintain a positive outlook and a healthy lifestyle.
Maintaining a normal weight is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle and achieving wellness goals. Understanding just how to accomplish that can be challenging due to poor labeling restrictions that confuse consumers about what foods are healthy. Likewise, many supplements designed for enhancing performance or accomplishing very specific fitness goals are often conflated with what’s healthy for an average person. Focusing on eating fresh and nutritious meals rather than processed foods or supplements provides the most basic guidelines to follow.
For an enhanced diet plan that meets individualized goals and nutrition needs, a nutritionist or dietician can help. This can be particularly important for those in recovery, as substance abuse often depletes the body of important vitamins and minerals. It can also be a critical step for those suffering from obesity, since food choice can be as much of an issue as overconsumption.
Even those who have not previously excelled in their health and wellness can improve quality of life and reduce the risk of debilitating diseases by taking a more active stance in regards to their diet. While not everyone can afford sophisticated testing, it can be a worthwhile investment to take the guesswork out of what diet, supplements, and exercise will be most effective for you in the lifelong pursuit of optimal wellness.
Improving both physical and mental health is also important to an overall sense of well-being. Fitness routines including yoga and swimming, that focus on both, are especially beneficial for those in addiction recovery. These and other restorative practices, such as meditation, assist with stress management and can help those in recovery avoid relapse.
Any physical activity that individuals are capable of can help in sustaining fitness long term. Focusing on activities you enjoy will help you stick with a program. However, it is important to maintain variety to keep various muscle groups from atrophying.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week and two days of strength training. While this can be a challenge for some, the good news is that this requirement is cumulative. In other words, you don’t have to get it all done in a single session. Practicing healthy habits like parking at the far end of the lot, taking the stairs or walking during breaks from work instead of sitting will help most adults easily reach this goal.
Carrying a backpack instead of utilizing a roller bag, similar to rucking, can add resistance to help the average person meet the strength-training goal. Finding time for fitness is extremely important, since it aids productivity and reduces time lost to illness. Activity trackers have increased awareness of sedentary lifestyles in recent years, but research shows that most ⅓ of people stop tracking their metrics within the first six months of use. Using some of these tricks like rucking, biking/walking to work, or always taking the stairs will allow you to conveniently incorporate some of these exercise habits into your busy day.
Making an investment in your health now, can save both money and time over the course of your lifetime. While it often seems difficult to justify the required resources in the moment, thinking of your future quality of life and the cost of health care long term gives you a more objective look at what’s at stake. A healthy diet and regular exercise program are the simple but often underrated keys to sustainable wellness.
About the Author:
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Myles Spar, MD, MPH is board certified in Internal Medicine and in Integrative Medicine. As a clinician, teacher and researcher on faculty of two major medical centers, he has led the charge for a more proactive, holistic and personalized approach to care that focuses on cutting edge technology and preventative care. Dr. Spar has been a consultant with the NBA, presented a TEDx Talk, appeared on national television, and been featured in publications such as the Men’s Journal and the Los Angeles Times. He was most recently National Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer of a national medical practice, but is available to consult with individual patients interested in a personalized approach to optimal performance and health.