What’s the best health advice you’ve ever gotten?
I’m pretty sure you get lots of health advice practically every day. It’s important, after all, to keep your mind and body in great shape. Which is why, when it comes to good health, I don’t adhere to using only the knowledge I have—but all I can borrow.
Here’s a cheat sheet I’ve created on what I consider to be the best health advice I’ve ever received. Let’s go!
1. Forgive yourself.
Sounds very much like advice from a “Dear Abby” column, I know. But do you know that the root cause of a large number of chronic diseases is stress due to an inability to forgive yourself and let go of past hurts and bitterness? And because we just can’t let go, the stress can lead to heart diseases, hypertension, cancer, reproductive issues, and more.
Learn to forgive yourself and those who have wronged you. Crap happens. And life isn’t always fair. But you need to learn to deal and move on. Learn from the experience and look back not with regrets but with an open mind and heart.
2. Eat smart and take long walks.
With the deluge of unhealthy food easily accessible to everyone, actually eating real food is not that easy. But this is undeniably one of the—if not the—best health advice you’d ever get.
And we’re not done yet. The second part of this advice is to get moving. For the majority of us holding a desk job, remind yourself to get up at least once every hour and get moving for 2-5 minutes. Sure, working out at the gym is fantastic, but our bodies are meant to move throughout the day. Spending the entire day seated behind your desk—even if you do go to the gym three times a week—is still bad for your health. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to cardiovascular problems and cause other chronic conditions.
3. Brush up!
So many people don't brush their teeth properly. While not brushing regularly can obviously cause a lot of damage to your teeth and gums, incorrect brushing can cause just as much damage. Whether it’s not brushing long enough, forgetting to floss, or not seeing a dentist regularly, improper dental care can cause damage you’ll regret for the rest of your life. Adults only grow one set of teeth, after all. Ruin them, and they’re ruined for life. Check out these tips to keeping your teeth healthy!
4. Don’t skip breakfast!
My friend and training instructor keeps harping on this. If you’re trying to get fit, keep in mind that eating a proper breakfast can help you lose weight. Skipping breakfast, on the other hand, can lead to weight gain. Go for a balanced breakfast that includes fruit (eaten fresh or juiced), a slice of whole-wheat bread/toast, a high-fiber cereal, a glass of low-fat milk (or yogurt), and a piece of boiled egg. It seriously sounds yummy, doesn’t it?
5. Get 7-8 hours’ sleep.
Yes, yes, it does sound like something your mother would say. And she’s absolutely right! Regular lack of sleep or simply neglecting sleep altogether (no matter the reason!) wreaks havoc on your physical and mental health and wellbeing. I personally have to deal with acne breakouts whenever I don’t get enough sleep.
6. Prevention is better than cure.
What does it mean? It means making an effort to keep healthy, rather than taking health risks or neglecting it altogether—and suffering later in life.
Think beyond yourself. How you take care of your own health will affect your family and other people who care about you. Do you have kids who will follow your example? Do you have people who rely on you? Sometimes, the single most important motivation to safeguarding your health is the person you care most about.
7. Stretch before getting up in the morning.
Everybody says this. Stretching when you wake up and before getting out of bed in the morning helps boost circulation, aids digestion, and alleviates back pain. When you stretch, hold the position for at least 30 seconds, inhale deeply, and don't bounce or push yourself into position.
8. Stop smoking.
This is possibly the most controversial advice on this list, but bear with me! We all know that smoking increases the risks of cancer and heart disease. In addition, orthopedic experts have discovered that smoking also speeds up the loss of bone density and restricts blood flow.
So if you smoke, do whatever you can to quit. And if you’re trying to quit, stop trying and do it.
9. You are in control.
If there was one tip on this list that I’d really like you to remember, it’s that you are in control. The decisions that you make every day determine the state of your health today and in the future.
You will meet professionals and hear numerous expert opinions, but at the end of the day, you’re the one who has to live with the consequences of your decisions. So what’s best for you.
What about you—if you had just one piece of health advice for people trying to get healthy, what would it be? Let me know in the comments below!