Saturday, December 8, 2012

7 Things I Try to Do to Stay Healthy

1. Drink juice; commercial tomato juice is an especially good choice.  A large study has shown that people who drink juice several times a week are 76% less likely to get Alzheimer's disease.  Recent research from Finland has linked tomato products with a reduced risk of stroke because of their lycopene content.  Store-bought sauce, paste, and juice are are concentrated and have more lycopene than fresh tomatoes.

2. Look up, not at my feet, especially when going up or down stairs.  This encourages my brain to use my sense of balance, a tip from Dr. Michael Merzenich, the neuroscience behind PositScience, which produced the Brain Fitness Program and other brain games.  As an added benefit, looking up is supposed to improve your mood.

3. Know my blood pressure.  I take mine at home but there are machines in pharmacies and lots of other public places.  For an accurate reading you should sit quietly for a few minutes beforehand.  At doctors' offices, staff members often skip this step so that my normally lowish numbers are high instead.  I wonder how many people end up unnecessarily taking blood pressure medication as a result of situations like this.

4. Use a heart rate monitor for cardio workouts.  Until you know what your cardiovascular system can do, how can you tell whether you're working too hard or not enough? How do you know what particular type of workout will be effective for you?  You get the answers to these questions by trying different routines and watching what your heart rate does in each situation.  (I never took notes, but that's probably not a bad idea.)  In my case, there is a sweet spot at about 80-85% of maximum heart rate, somewhere in the vicinity of 130 beats per minute,  where I'm working just hard enough.  (Maximum heart rate = 220 - 66, my age, = 154 x .85 = 131.)  I also like knowing my resting heart rate.  If I'm doing a new routine and resting heart rate goes up, I'm not getting enough of a cardio workout.

5. Take care of small problems right away.  If I get a little cut or a torn cuticle I immediately put a band-aid and antiseptic on it so that it will heal quickly.  If a faucet starts to drip I call the plumber.  Any trouble sign that I ignore or push to the back of my mind will lead to anxiety and a worse situation in the future.

6. Practice empathy; keep in mind that there is a person at the other end of any transaction.  This is not for the sake of altruism but because behaving this way gets me through exasperating situations more easily.  If I give someone a hard time I end up feeling bad myself.  Also, you never know when you're going to pick up a valuable new insight.

7. Be an honest moral bookkeeper.  If I've made a mistake I try to acknowledge it.  Ongoing avoidance and denial sap energy from the rest of life.  Letting go of illusions about yourself can be a great relief.

No comments :

Post a Comment