Health Basics

Yu Shing Ting
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Friday - September 08, 2006
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Water is important for good health
Water is important for good

In recent years, my friends and I have been in denial about our age. (We get excited when we’re carded!) And now its our expanding figures.

So I was very surprised this week when I was approached by a college student at Windward City Shopping Center who wanted to sell me magazines (as a fundraiser), but thought I was under 18.

Then while paying for my purchases at Ross, the cashier asked me if I was a professional dancer (and not the ballerina type; think golden poles). Needless to say, I was a little offended at first. But when she said that I looked like I could be one , I decided to take it as a compliment.

My reason for sharing these two encounters is because people often think I’m this healthy, fit person. (I have a health and fitness column, I’m a semi-vegetarian, I coach running, and I love sports.) But the truth is I’m just as guilty as the majority of this world when it comes to living healthy.

So I’ve come up with a list of eight simple things we can all do to better our health and bodies. The reality is that these are things we all already know, but most of us don’t do on a regular basis usually because we’re “too busy.”

1) Say no to junk food! If you don’t buy it, you won’t have it. It really is as simple as that. Next time you’re at the store, control the urge to buy soda, candy and any other type of high-calorie snacks. Not only are you doing your body a favor, but your pocketbook as well!

2) Hydrate your body. On average, water makes up 60 to 70 percent of your body, so if you don’t drink enough water you can become dehydrated which can result in a variety of health complications, including fatigue, headache, dizziness and muscle weakness. And in a more severe case, it can even be life threatening. According to the Mayo Clinic, every system in your body depends on water - “it flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.” As for how much water a person should drink, the Mayo Clinic notes that the Institute of Medicine advises for men to consume roughly 3.0 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women to consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

3) Sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, it shows. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep. People who are sleep deprived often think and move more slowly and have difficulty remembering things. They also have a higher risk of heart problems and high blood pressure.

4) Exercise. The only way to a fit body is diet and exercise. So, get up and get active. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Find an activity you enjoy, whether it be surfing, hiking or playing basketball, you can have fun, burn calories and tone your body at the same time.

5) Don’t smoke tobacco. Why? How about cancer, heart disease and emphysema? Need more reasons? According to the American Cancer Society, smoking causes one in five deaths and millions of illnesses every year in the United States. The list of smoking-related health problems is endless - aneurysms, bronchitis, stroke, reduced fertility, cataracts, bone thinning, hip fractures, peptic ulcers. And, guys, did we mention ED?

6. Eat breakfast.You’ve heard it before - well hear it again. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and probably the most skipped meal of the day. Studies have shown that eating breakfast in the morning gives you more energy throughout the day. And according to the Urban Programs Resource Network, a study of 4,218 adults reported in Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter showed that women who ate breakfast, especially cereal, were less likely to be overweight. The study also revealed that breakfast-eating women are less likely to snack and fill up with fatty foods later in the day, and more likely to make healthy meal choices during the rest of the day.

7) Arrange your schedule around your health. If your reason for not exercising is because you’re too busy, then it may be time to rearrange your schedule so that there’s time to go to the gym, go for a run or work out at home. Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona reportedly has his workouts already penciled in his calendar and schedules any meetings around that. He also takes the stairs to his office instead of the elevator.

8) Dress your age. That’s right, fashion matters! If you dress like you’re 10 years older than you are, then chances are you’ll look 10 years older.

Now is the time to take control of your health and image. Follow these eight simple steps and chances are you’ll start to look and feel healthy at any age.

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