With the flue season in full swing, I’m reminded of some simple steps we can do to put a little extra fight in you immune system. We all want to feel healthier, everyone does. You want more energy, a better body and the ability to do what you do better. Like most other people, you’ve listened to the experts, read their advice and never been sure which of it applied to you or was really worth doing. That’s because the things that help you get healthier are usually unique to you. There is no universal plan for better health, no best diet, workout routine or way of solving problems. As unique as you are, there are some guidelines you can follow that will help improve your health:
Start with sleep. Sleep eight hours or more each night. Do what you have to do to get to sleep; there are plenty of natural agents that work. Try them: herbs (valerian), tea (chamomile), amino acids (tryptophan or hydroxy-tryptophan) and vitamins (magnesium and B6). These can be powerful sedatives and work just as well as prescription agents without the risks. Sleep plays a powerful role in determining your appetite, energy and attitude. Sleep better for two weeks before changing your diet. Then try eliminating “white” foods, those that are made with sugar, white flour and milk. If you eliminate them one at a time, start with flour, then eliminate dairy and then sugar. Sugar is easier to quit after a few weeks of no other “white” stuff. Remember high fructose corn syrup and dextrose are sugar by another name. Give yourself about two weeks to get used to each before eliminating the next one.
Exercise regularly. I know you want to but you don’t have the energy to do it. Sleep eight hours for two weeks, then start eliminating “white” foods. After two weeks of sleeping and eating better, you’ll have the energy to exercise. Begin as you like. If you are totally out of shape, start by walking 15 minutes a day and add a minute every day for the first month. At the end of a month, you’ll be up to 45 minutes a day, which should make you ready for whatever more strenuous form of exercise you want to try. Experiment with them all to see what works best for you and stick with it.
Police your thoughts and deal with your feelings constructively. Most of the background chatter in our mind is worrying, judging, criticizing, defending and complaining. Catch yourself and create a distraction by redirecting your thoughts toward the things that you are grateful for and optimistic about.
All these are free and all are within your ability. No professionals required. By doing them you will create a customized health plan that will surely result in you getting healthier by the day.
Christian Renna, D.O. LifeSpan Medicine