Autumn’s golden days offer us the opportunity to slow down and take stock of where we are headed, both physically and mentally. Vacations are over and routines are reinstated after the languid days of summer. November, the month of Thanksgiving, is also the perfect time to recommit to leading a healthier, more active life.
Wise Words That Still Ring True
One way to find a better path to fitness and health is to rely on sound advice that has survived the test of time. Here are five ways to recharge your life by falling back on wisdom and habits that have stood the test of time.
Eat: Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about a revolutionary new diet plan. But think back. Do you remember learning about the food pyramid when you were in school? Well, guess what? It still exists, in a somewhat revised form, and it’s still a valuable tool for a healthy diet. (www.mypyramid.gov) The concepts are still the same: eat whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, reduced fat milk products, and lean proteins. Whether the advice is “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” or our mothers’ admonitions to eat all our veggies, sometimes the old ways are the best ways.
Drink: For centuries red wine has been a staple at most dinner tables in France, a country where heart disease is significantly lower than in the US, despite a diet rich in animal fats. Studies show that the polyphenols found in red wine inhibit the production of a substance that causes hardening of the arteries. The good news? A glass of red wine with dinner is a healthy habit to acquire. Studies also show that drinking green tea imparts health benefits that range from lowering the death rate from cardiovascular disease to improving bone density. Looking to the history of other cultures for clues to healthy drinking habits might just help you to improve your own health.
Work: We’ve all heard the expression: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” But you might not have heard the rest of the proverb, which goes on to say: “All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.” What Jack, and the rest of us, needs to remember is the key to a healthy, happy work life is balance in all things, the proper mix of fulfilling work that feeds our minds and a rich, well-rounded personal life.
Play: When you were growing up, how many times did you hear your mother say: “It’s a beautiful day, go outside and play”? These, it turns out, are words to live by. Fitness and good health should be aspirations for us all, especially as we age. One way of making those goals more palatable and ultimately achievable is to take advantage of playing outside. Call a friend to take a walk on a sunny autumn afternoon. Rake leaves with your spouse. Sharpen your skates or wax your skis in anticipation of the coming winter. Plan an active vacation of hiking, biking, or walking. Making outdoor play part of your exercise routine can help keep you young – in body and in spirit.
Love: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” The words to the traditional Girl Scout song still have meaning and value as we age. Studies show that having and maintaining close relationships can positively affect our mental as well as physical health – from reducing our stress levels to maintaining healthy blood pressure. The benefits derived from close, loving friendships are ones that pay out over a lifetime.
Five simple words. Five legitimate reminders. Which one will you focus on today?