The very first one? Eat a pickle! Well, okay, any fermented food. But I happen to love dill pickles, so I'll happily crunch away on my Strubbs while summarizing the 15 things you could do in order to optimize your health. You know, in case reading the original article seems like too much work.
15 things you could do to be healthier:
1) Eat fermented foods (pickles, kimchee, sauerkraut, etc.). It's good for your gut.
2) Don't drink your calories. [I fully agree. It worked for me, making the switch to mainly water and tea.]
3) Relax your mouth. Unclench your jaw.
4) Go for a walk. "It reduces heart disease by 60 per cent, cancer by 27 per cent, Alzheimer’s by 50 per cent and arthritis by 47 per cent. It’s now our best treatment for fatigue and low back pain. It cures a third of erectile dysfunction, and cuts anxiety and depression by 48 per cent. People even lose weight on this method..."
5) Put down the device. "Make a designated cellphone- and screen-free time every evening. That means for 30 minutes absolutely no phones, tablets or TVs are allowed to be on."
6) Stop doing situps. [For real! This is in there! Everyone can do THIS one right away! Well, except, you still need to strengthen your core ... just not by doing the traditional situp. The doula and pelvic-floor expert explains why.] "Stomach crunches shorten your torso, round your shoulders and encourage forward head posture, which you certainly don’t need more of in your life with all the hunched-over sitting you do each day. Crunches also put downward pressure on the pelvic floor, which is never good news and they will never flatten your tummy."
7) Get a good night's sleep. Well, duh.
8) Wake up at the same time every day.
9) Eat your food slowly. When you eat mindfully, you appreciate it more, but you also feel full with a reasonable amount, because it takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to register that you've eaten. Oh, and don't forget to chew!
10) Breathe. "Slowing down to six breaths per minute for seven minutes is enough to calm the nerves and allow our bodies to physically recover."
11) Clean out your kitchen. Get rid of processed foods, and follow the concept that if you don't bring it in, you won't eat it.
12) Move every day for at least 15 minutes. "Move regularly and you’ll think, sleep, work, play and even love better. Move every day for as little as 15 minutes and the rewards are even greater. How great? How’s reducing your risk of some types of cancer by up to 50 per cent? So swim, walk, run, shovel snow, do yoga, play golf, it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it gets you moving." [Hey, that sounds a lot like our 55 Day Challenge!]
13) Wear a helmet. [I love that this was included, even though it may not apply to everyone. But if you do any sport where you can potentially fall, for goodness' sake, protect your head. I wrote about my dad's ski accident and my sister's rock climbing accident. In both cases, their lives were saved because they had helmets on. It's a no-brainer ... bad pun fully intended.]
14) Invest in yourself. Make health a priority, and make the time for it.
15) Get outside. Real sunlight, and nature, have a positive impact on mental health, as well as physical.
Huh. Who knew getting healthy could be so easy? All kidding aside, these are pretty manageable changes to make if you're not already doing them. Pick one, and try it. Over the course of the year, add a few more to the list of habits. They may not all be do-able, or enjoyable. Do what you can.
But, for the love of Pete, WEAR A HELMET!