The majority of patients that I see in practice present because they are in pain. Their main goal or goals is to get out of pain as quickly as possible and return to doing activities in which they enjoy. However, as I dive deeper into their health history there is typically more goals in which they would like to achieve.
Many patients and individuals in today’s society want to improve on health and wellness. Unfortunately, the majority believe, 1) There is no hope. Their health is beyond improving, 2) They don’t know how to improve their health (this is the purpose of this blog), or 3) They don’t have the time to improve their health (if this is true, check out my previous post #1 Exercise I Prescribe to solve the no time issue).
All of the excuses above are false. Anyone who wants to improve their overall health can when given the right tools and committing to a routine. This includes individuals who may be overweight or obese, have arthritis, or on medication for high blood pressure, anxiety, or pain (opioids). Anything is possible with discipline, hard work, a positive mental attitude, and a strong belief structure. Below are three simple tips to jumpstart your journey to improving your health and living a more enjoyable life.
Water is the most important substance that we consume. 70% of our body is made up of water and 80% of your brain’s tissue is made up of water. Water is crucial in keeping our body functioning at its optimal level. We can roughly live 30 – 40 days without food, however can only last up to a week with no water.
The old saying is drink eight, 8 ounce glasses of water a day (64 total ounces). However, this adage can be tossed to the wayside. 64 ounce may be suffice for a 100 lbs female, but it is far from enough for a 250 lbs man. I educate patients to consume half their body weight in ounces. For example, I weigh 225 lbs. I should be drinking at minimum 113 oz. of water daily. If I am training and lifting weights or go for a run or consume caffeine or alcohol I should increase my consumption of water on that day. I try to shoot for 4-5 30 oz glasses a day. Tip: Buy a cup or water bottle that you can take with you and you know the exact amount of fluid ounces it holds. My go to water trough is the Yeti 30 oz. Rambler. The greatest cup ever made. It is basically indestructible and will keep water ice cold throughout the entire day.
The main thing is drink more water. Put down the soda, the energy drink, the 4th cup of coffee and hydrate more. The main health benefits to consuming more water are: Flushes out toxins, Promotes weight loss, Relieves fatigue, Promotes weight loss, Decreases potential for headache, and Promotes weight loss just to name a few. If you want to start losing weight, Drink More Water!
The excuse I don’t have time is unacceptable. Read #1 Exercise I Prescribe to find time. An individual should be doing some form of activity daily for at least 30 minutes. This activity can include weight lifting, running, walking, yoga, stretching, swimming, cycling, taking the dog for a walk, or playing golf just to name a few. The main point is get moving.
If an individual is obese and can’t walk more than 15 minutes, start small. Walk a week everyday for 10 minutes. The following week walk everyday for 12 minutes. Before long 15 minutes will be a walk in the park, literally.
Movement is life and life is movement. If we don’t move then death is imminent. If for some reason you don’t feel you can be active do to pain or a certain health condition, then seek the advice of your health care provider. He or she can prescribe a plan that suites your condition and guides you in the right direction to living an active lifestyle.
Increased movement has countless positive effects on our body.
- Helps control or reduce weight
- Burns calories
- Reduces risk of diseases such as cardiovascular, diabetes, and canceer
- Strengthens bones and muscles and decreases the risk of arthritis
- Improves mental attitude and mood.
How much sleep should we get? This is a question I receive a lot and it is one that I have trouble answering. Every person is different. Every person responds differently to certain activities. There are those in the world who sleep 4-5 hours a night and are some of the most productive and successful individuals of our time. And there are those who sleep 8-9 hours a night and are extremely successful and healthy. Every person is different.
The best advice I give to patients is try to sleep somewhere between 6-8 hours a night. Experiment with what works best for you. Spend several weeks sleeping 6 hours, several 7 hours, and several 8 hours. Keep a journal about how you slept, how you feel, how was your energy, activity, mental focus, etc. and see what works best.
The best recommendations that I give to patients are:
- Go to bed every night at the same time
- Remove all electronics (phone, TV, alarm clocks) from the room
- Use black out curtains. The room should be pitch black
- Use a pillow that supports you neck and head
- Relax before bed with a book or meditation. Try to refrain from electronics 30 min. before bed
People come up with all kind of excuses to put off their health. A few are legit reasons, however the majority are reasons that allow the individual to lean on and not put in the time, effort, and work to living a healthy and active life. As we get older it takes more and more effort in maintaining and improving our health and wellness, however it is not impossible. Remember this is a journey not a destination. Set goals along your journey but don’t let the obtained goal be the end of your journey. Take small steps. Try to improve just 1% everyday on something: walk for 15 minutes over your lunch break, put down the donut, go to bed 30 minutes earlier. These are simple steps that we can take everyday. If we improve 1% everyday over the course of time we will be a better version of ourself along the journey.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts ~ Winston Churchill