By Dr. Pete Pfeffer
The sun is back, school is out and nothing feels better than being outside. Facebook pages are exploding with superfoods, cleanses and workouts. There is merit to good nutrition and working out, but there are really just three simple components to better health.
How we eat, move and think are the three categories. Let’s begin with foods and the questions: ”Was it alive?” (note to self, hotdogs weren’t alive) and “Is it better for me than water?” (shakes, energy drinks and additives aren’t better, just more convienient).
The second category is movement. Humans as a species developed outside on the move, not in chairs. To satisfy our genetic requirement for motion, we need to move our body, our whole body, through its entire range of motion and against resistance every day.
Number three, how we think, is every bit as important as eating and moving. Our thoughts and self-talk are linked to our beliefs and emotional response to the world. “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world. Speak or act with a pure mind and happiness will follow you as your shadow, unbreakable.” – Buddha.
So, where to begin? Start with simple additions to your existing routine. Aim for at least 5 cups of water per day, and increasing the number of high water content fruits and vegetables. Examples of fruits with water content higher than 85 percent are apricot, blueberry, cantaloupe, grapefruit, orange, peach, pineapple, raspberry, strawberry and watermelon. Examples of vegetables with water content greater than 90 percent are broccoli, cabbage, celery, cucumber, lettuce, spinach, tomato and zucchini.
To add movement into a daily routine, keep in mind just 30 minutes per day leads to huge benefits. When this is increased to six days a week, according to Chakravarthy et al in the Journal of Applied Physiology, this translates to “a significant reduction in cancer, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and depression. The goal is 60 minutes per day with resistance exercise, but this is a great place to start.
How we think is vitally important to our health. Gratitude is an amazing starting place. Taking a few moments each day to journal the four or five things we are thankful for starts a cascade of happiness. It is very powerful to notice how this activity when observed affects our families and children.
These three categories of how we eat, how we move and how we think have a lasting powerful impact on our health.
Peter Pfeffer is a doctor of chiropractic with HealthSource Chiropractic and Progressive Rehab in Alexandria.