Stay healthy

Those who don’t make time for their health will sooner or later have to make time
for their ailments.
It’s hard to be happy or successful if you are, quite literally, sick and tired all the
time. Living a healthy life provides the energy to do what you want to do and
what you need to do to live a great life. The following simple tips have been
compiled to remind you of the key principles of healthy living.
1. Exercise regularly. Even a short walk and taking the stairs each day can
help. The more activity you do the healthier you will be. The healthier you
are the more energy you’ll have. Ideally, engage in some form of
appropriate, strenuous exercise at least 4-5 times each week.
2. Eat a balanced diet. As with exercise, a healthy diet will help provide you
with the energy and zest you need to lead a really great life. There are
many good sources of nutritional information available but in very simple
terms, eat more fruit and vegetables, and fewer foods that are high in fats
and salt.
3. Minimise caffeine intake (and ideally avoid altogether after about 4.00
p.m.). As well as coffee, this includes tea, and most of the “soft”
carbonated “fizzy” drinks that also include large amounts of sugar.
4. Avoid excessive alcohol. Although moderate amounts of alcohol have
some advantages for health and wellbeing, excessive alcohol
consumption is definitely not good. So stick to the safe drinking limits of 2-4 standard drinks for men, and 1-2 standard drinks for women, with at least
2 alcohol free nights each week (note:a standard drink is much smaller
than most people think!).
5. Ensure you get enough sleep and rest. Most people realise that diet and
exercise are important for health but many don’t realise how crucial good
sleep is. If you don’t wake up refreshed and energised most mornings
then seek help for this very treatable problem (see “Sleep Tips” handout).
In addition, regular meditation or relaxation can provide enormous
benefits for most people, as can taking time out on a regular basis to
engage in pleasant and enjoyable activities.
6. Address the pressing issues in your life. If you have problems at work,
problems with your partner, or anything that might cause you to feel
stressed or worried, sorting them out is vitally important. If you are
depressed or anxious, seek professional help. Remember, there are
effective solutions for these problems.


Healthy living facts

We have a new and exciting opportunity for you. It is a chance to get healthier, at your own pace, when it fits into your schedule, and at a level of participation that fits your lifestyle. It’s modeled on a program for Mayo Clinic employees called “12 Habits of Highly Healthy People.” The 12 habits are:

  • Physical activity
  • Forgiveness
  • Portion size
  • Preventive healthcare screening
  • Adequate sleep
  • Try something new
  • Strength and flexibility
  • Laugh
  • Family and friends
  • Address addictive behaviors
  • Quiet your mind
  • Gratitude
    Each month, we’ll highlight one of the habits and offer tips, called “opportunities to explore,” to help you get started. Since this is a nutrition blog, we’ll bring in that aspect, as appropriate, for each habit. We’ll draw on the expertise of our fellow Mayo Clinic experts as needed too.

Habit 1: Physical activity

Exercise and physical activity are not only good for you, they’re also a fun way to spend time — a chance to unwind, to be outdoors, to get social or to simply do something that makes you happy. Find a physical activity you enjoy and do it every day.

Better yet, find two or more types of activity to do to prevent boredom and overuse injuries. Pace yourself according to your age and fitness level. Start with a warm up and end with cool down. Increase time and intensity gradually. Consider exercising with a committed friend or involve your family.

A good general goal is to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. If you want to lose weight or increase your fitness level, you may need more exercise or at a higher intensity. Bottom line, all movement counts, not just exercise.

Opportunities to explore:

Be active throughout your day. Take the stairs rather than the elevator, change a meeting into a “walking meeting,” or consider a portable stepping or pedaling device that fits at your workstation. Include a 10-15 minute walk in your lunch hour.
Take a break from sitting. Try standing, stretching or walking for minimum of 5-10 minutes every hour while at work or sitting at home.
Activate your passion for food. Take up gardening, start walking to and from the grocery store, or explore a local farmers market. These are fun ways be more active and explore new foods.
Move more, snack less. Instead of snacking when you’re bored, go for a walk, dance or try an exercise video.
Pick up an activity monitor. A pedometer is a simple tool to track your daily steps. There are also other types of activity monitors, such as Gruve and Fitbit, among others. Any of them can be a great tool to check your baseline activity level and encourage you to move more.
Make leisure time active time. Instead of watching television, go bowling or play an active video game.
Check out what’s happening in your community. Are there community fitness classes at local parks, schools or gyms?

How do fruit and vegetables prevent disease?

Having a low intake of fruit and vegetables is estimated to cause about 19% of cancers of the digestive system, 31% of heart disease and 11% of stroke. They are rich in vitamins and minerals which keep the body healthy. They also contain chemicals called antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and vitamin C. These are thought to protect against damaging chemicals that get into the body. However, the exact way in which they prevent disease is not fully understood. Fruit and vegetables also contain fibre. This can help to control cholesterol levels and keep blood sugar levels steady. Eating fruit and vegetables can help to replace other foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar, which further helps to reduce our risk of these diet-related diseases

Vegetables and Fruits: Get Plenty Every Day

  • You have a lower chance of developing cardiovascular diseases due to ‘hardening of the arteries’ (atheroma). For example, heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, or a stroke.
  • You have a lower chance of developing some cancers such as bowel and lung cancer.
  • You have lower chance of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Fruit and vegetables also:
    • Contain lots of fibre which helps to keep your bowels healthy. Problems such as constipation and diverticular disease are less likely to develop.
    • Contain plenty of vitamins and minerals, which are needed to keep you healthy.
    • Are naturally low in fat.
    • Are filling but are low in calories. So, they are ideal to keep your weight in control.