We live in an age where people expect to live longer healthier lives. Good food is more plentiful, work is less strenuous and hazardous and we face fewer dangers in our homes than in any previous century. Yet despite all of these advances in medicine, work conditions and home comforts, recent studies have shown that the life expectancy for Americans is actually decreasing for the first time.
How has this happened? While the details may be unclear, the big picture is that on the whole we have the ability to live long healthy lives, we simply choose not to do so. The prevalence of fast cheap food, our lack of physical work and the abundance of fats and sugars in prepared foods coupled with lazy habits means we live unhealthy lives by choice. If we want to change our lives, first we have to change our habits. If the idea of making massive changes in your life frightens you, you aren’t alone.
But we can make small changes, starting in three major areas of our lives: sleep, eating and exercise. When combined with simple things like visiting a dentist such as the one at greatstarthealthysmiles.com that helps you stay healthy from the top down, you will find it not quite as intimidating to begin that new healthy lifestyle.
Talk to just about anyone and they will say, almost with a bit of pride in their voice, how they have not been getting enough sleep because they are just too busy. It doesn’t even matter if the person you are talking to is a young mother with a job and a new baby or a mid-level manager with a full-time support staff at work and at home. Sleep has been pushed aside as something we will get to later, and that is a problem.
Now not everyone actually needs the full eight hours of sleep as we once thought. Different people have different clocks. But most people know how many hours their bodies need, and don’t take precautions to ensure they get it. Turn off those screens, big and small, a good hour before heading to bed. The flash of the lights can create a busy mind, making it hard to fall asleep. Many people have taken up meditation to help them quiet their minds before sleep. And create a schedule that heads for bed around the same time each night, regardless of the day of the week.
At no time in history has a country been so surrounded by good healthy nutritious food and still had so many people who are unhealthy. It is almost as if we don’t want to be healthy. For many, this habit of unhealthy eating begins in childhood when parents fob kids off with a snack of sweets. Prepared foods have sugar and salt in abundance, and make it all too easy for busy parents to simply open a box and make dinner. Somewhere in there is a compromise that can help stem the tide of obesity and high blood pressure that begins earlier and earlier in life.
Fresh fruits and vegetables take little time to prepare and are worth the effort. There are a multitude of websites that show us how to cook healthy nutritious meals in less than thirty minutes. Mommy blogs share the secrets of quick easy meals that taste good and are healthier than premade fast food.
Add in some exercise, at least thirty minutes a day at a quick walk is a good start, and you have made the changes you need. Don’t put this off, it is your life. The time to start is now.