What Does Healthy Mean?
Healthy: adjective – Pronunciation: hel-thē – Definition: enjoying good health*
* According to Merriam Webster Dictionary
What does the word healthy mean to you? To the media, healthy is portrayed as: thin models, body builder muscles, miracle weight-loss diets, and intense workouts at the gym for hours on end. It’s time to get real here, this is NOT realistic! Sure, some people do look like that, eat like that, exercise like that, and it works for them. Well for most it doesn’t work, and may actually contribute to unhealthy and possibly dangerous habits. One-size does not fit all in terms of health.
Feeling healthy can be a balance of many things, including proper exercise, nutrition, and mindfulness. Being in good health may also look different for those of different ages and abilities. Let’s talk about what healthy may feel like to you and other everyday folks in west Orange County. Simple healthy habits can make a BIG impact in your life.
You are What You Eat…
Do you ever have days where you’re on the go, eating fast food, and feeling a bit: blah? Healthy to many people means having tons of energy to power through work, household chores, and chasing the kiddos around. Here are some simple tips about how you can use the food you eat to power your busy days and still feel your best:
- Maximize with nutrient-packed foods, including whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat or fat-free dairy.
- Eat less food high in solid fats, added sugars, and sodium (salt).
- Vary your fruits and vegetables.
- Eat a variety of colors, in various ways. Try blue, red, or black berries; red and yellow peppers; and dark greens like spinach and kale. Choose fresh, frozen, low-sodium canned, dried, or 100 percent juice options.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water instead of sugary drinks. Keep a reusable water bottle with you to always have water on hand.
- Eat within recommended portion sizes.
- Eating out idea: order twice the vegetables or a salad when eating out; instead of fries. Most restaurants are happy to accommodate!
We Like to Move It, Move It!
For you, does healthy mean getting up and active? Exercise is a huge part of your health journey. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends trying these tips to keep exercise a part of your everyday life:
- Piece your workout together:you don’t need to get all your exercise at one time. Most people don’t have a large amount of time during their busy days. For example, ten minutes morning, noon, and night can give much of the same benefit as 30 minutes all at once.
- Turn sit time into fit time. Try to combine cardiovascular exercise with a sedentary activity that you already do. For example, try doing simple exercises while watching TV, or set a reminder at work to get up and walk a few minutes every hour. Super simple!
- Reward yourself. Set short-term goals—and reward yourself for achieving them. Try targeting a specific event, such as a road race or a walk-for-charity, to participate in—this can help keep you motivated and working out with a group can allow you to make new friends too.
One aspect of health that is often put to the wayside is mindfulness. Your mental wellbeing is crucial to enjoying a happy, healthy life. The everyday stress people face these days is often overwhelming. Want to know more about mindfulness? We’re here to help! Also, The Mayo Clinic has a few exercises that you can practice to make mindfulness a priority when you’re feeling anxious:
- Focus on your breathing. When you have negative thoughts, sit down, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your body. Sitting and breathing for even just a minute can help.
- Sitting meditation. Sit comfortably with your back straight, feet flat on the floor and hands in your lap. Breathing through your nose, focus on your breath moving in and out of your body. If physical sensations or thoughts interrupt your meditation, note the experience and then return your focus to your breath.
- Walking meditation. Find a quiet place 10 to 20 feet in length, and begin to walk slowly. Focus on the experience of walking, being aware of the sensations of standing and the subtle movements that keep your balance. When you reach the end of your path, turn and continue walking, maintaining awareness of your sensations.
To wrap things up, here’s a note to remember: nobody is perfect! You may have days where you eat one too many cookies (or 5 too many cookies), or sit on the couch and watch TV all day, or stress out and lose control of your emotions. We are human and we all fall off track now and again. What matters is that you work through the setbacks and continue on your health journey, learning more as you go and striving to the healthiest you.
Now that you’ve learned more about how to keep yourself healthy, check back next week for a post about Supporting the Health of Others!
We Want to Hear from You!
What makes you feel healthy? Share with us below!