While the President and Congress debate health insurance coverage for every American, you can start your own personal Heath Care Reform right now. There are steps you can take today that make a tremendous difference to your health—and they don’t cost a thing. In fact, we’ve created a Health Reform plan that will save you unnecessary trips to the doctor and keep more money in your pocket.
Remember these 4 factors when considering your health: how much exercise you get, daily food choices, how you reduce stress, and how your lifestyle affects all three. Here are some quick tips from your friends at Nimble Fitness to reform your health today and immediately reduce your personal health care costs—and oh, you’ll feel a lot better too!
1. Reduce health risks by taking care of your physical self
You’ve probably heard this before, but it bears repeating–consistent exercise makes your body function better, makes your immune system stronger and helps you reduces stress. Here’s something you may not have heard: you don’t have to work out like LeBron James to benefit from exercise. Research has shown again and again that moderate exercise, as simple as a brisk walk 15 to 30 minutes a day, substantially changes your risk profile, lowers inflammation around your heart and digestive system, and reduces stress. Exercise 2-3 times a week by doing 15-30 minutes of cardio (e.g. walking, swimming, biking, hiking), some basic strength training (e.g. squats, presses, core exercises) and maintaining flexibility with light stretching or basic yoga poses.
2. Eat better for more energy and a stronger immune system
Follow Nimble’s simple nutrition rules.
If it’s white, and it’s been commercially processed, don’t eat it! We’re talking white flour, white sugar and milk. All of which are often over-processed or “enhanced.” Choose 100% unprocessed sea salt to season foods, and when you want to use sugar, try a healthier substitute, such as organic agave nectar. If you must consume dairy, choose Certified Organic whenever possible.
Check food labels. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it! Processed foods and oils are not your friend. The longer a food’s shelf life, the more preservatives it has. The more preservatives, the greater risk to your health. Also, use vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, safflower and cottonseed sparingly; they are liberally used in a lot of processed foods and are a leading cause of excess inflammation in your body, which can contribute to inflammation-related diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Get back to eating real, whole, nutritious vegetables, fruits, meats and grains. Choose organic whenever possible—whether it’s beef or chicken, or colorful fruits and veggies. Avoid overcooking your vegetables and stay away from dried fruits, which are stripped of most of their nutrients.
3. Stress Reduction
There are two very simple strategies for stress reduction that can be employed anytime, anywhere: practice slow breathing and drink more water.
Breathing, at its essence, is simplicity itself: it’s the first thing we learn to do. By simply stopping to focus on your breath, you’re turning off your mind’s spin cycle of thoughts, worries, and errands. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and feel your breath start to slow down and even out. Picture your breath moving through your body, in through your nose, out through your mouth. By focusing on your breath, you’re also naturally tapping into the parasympathetic part of your Autonomic Nervous System, the part that helps you rest and repair.
Staying hydrated is just as easy as slow breathing, and just as important. Water serves all vital bodily functions: carrying nutrients to your cells, aiding in digestion, flushing the body of wastes, and keeping your kidneys healthy. Water also keeps your moisture-rich organs (skin, eyes, mouth, and nose) functioning well, lubricates your muscles and cushions your joints, and regulates your body temperature and metabolism. The more efficiently your organs and digestive system function, the better you’re able to manage stress. Remember to drink quality, filtered water throughout your day.
4. Lifestyle Management
The top three lifestyle risk factors for Americans are smoking, high blood pressure and obesity–all preventable. It should be pretty clear by now that if you are a smoker you are seriously damaging your health and shortening your life span. We encourage you to look into the many different options that are available to help you begin the process of quitting. If you’re carrying around too much weight, as a lot of Americans are, not only are you at risk for cardiovascular disease, but everyday activities such as climbing stairs or even playing with your children become unnecessarily stressful on your body. Other lifestyle factors, such as limiting alcohol consumption, lowering caffeine intake, and getting enough sleep, will all contribute to your well-being. It’s easy to underestimate the need for quality sleep, but the truth is that none of this stuff we talked about can be accomplished if you aren’t getting enough sleep at night. You need energy to be able to change and it’s during sleep that we recharge our mind and body.
The equation is simple: exercise, plus good food choices, plus quality rest, means better health for you. That means fewer visits to the doctor and less need for prescription medicine, which ultimately means more money in your pocket!