Posted on September 12th, 2019
10 Ways to Rock Your Physical Health!
By Katie Lee
You work hard! At work, at home, in the community, you are rocking it! But for many of us, we are not rocking our physical health. Studies show we are not eating healthy enough, and we are not getting as much physical activity as recommended. Here are some ways to make our physical health a priority and improve mental health as well!
1. Eat your veggies and fruit!
Fill ½ of your plate with vegetables and fruit. Aim for variety and lots of color! These foods can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check.
2. Give me some grains!
Make ¼ of your plate whole grains. Try whole wheat bread, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta. Get adventurous and try quinoa if you haven’t – it’s a superfood!
3. Add some protein!
It is recommended that only ¼ of our plate is protein. Choose protein from a variety of sources like fish, chicken, beans, and nuts. Mix them into salads or pair them with your veggies.
4. Get some “good” fat!
Foods high in “good” fats include nuts, seeds, fish, and vegetable oils such as olive, canola, sunflower, soy, and corn. Making small changes such as switching from butter to vegetable oil when cooking or eating salmon instead of steak will help us get more “good” fats into our bodies.
5. Drink up! Drink water – a must!
Skip the sugary beverages. Have one or two portions of milk or other dairy products per day. For more variety, and a kick of caffeine if you need it, drink tea and coffee (with zero or minimal amounts of sugar) in moderation.
6. Carbohydrates are not a bad word!
We need carbohydrates; just be fully aware of the quality of carbohydrates we ingest, depending on your own health needs. Try to focus on the carbs that come from healthier sources like veggies, fruits, whole grains, and beans.
7. Make sure you are moving!
Ten minutes at a time is fine. It is recommended we get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Start small if you need to; break it up into 10-minute increments, and work your way to 150 minutes/a week over a few months. If your endurance level is low, and you can only do 5-10 minutes at first, that’s OK! It’s 5-10 minutes more than you did yesterday!
8. Work on getting stronger!
In addition to doing aerobics or endurance activities, we need to make sure we are doing muscle-strengthening activities. It is recommended we do these 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms). You don’t need a gym membership for this. Just grab some water bottles or cans of food!
9. Flexibility isn’t just for kids!
Flexibility helps with balance, coordination, and overall health. It is recommended we do 10 minutes of stretching each day.
10. Have fun!
Taking care of our physical health does not have to be a dreadful, boring, or painful experience. Start with what you like to do. Try one new healthier food a week. Involve others. Experiment. Explore. Reward yourself for successes, even if they seem small.
Sources: Harvard School of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and healthypeople.gov.
Katie Lee is Director of Behavioral Health Safety Net of TN. After work, Katie loves sitting on her back porch, visiting new and unique restaurants with her husband, and chasing her three year old daughter.