After a long, cold and snowy winter, complicated by COVID 19, we look to spring as a time of renewal. It is a time for great hope and optimism; trees are budding, flowers blooming and more people are doing their civic duty and receiving vaccinations…all contributing to a sense of promise for a fresh start!
Spring can also be a time of personal renewal…a time to reestablish goals for health and wellness. However, to be completely healthy, one must have a healthy mind, body and spirit. A healthy mind requires intellectual stimulation, a healthy body requires eating well and engaging in physical activity and a healthy spirit, requires faith, hope and prayer and meditation. This spring, consider the following tips to promote a healthy mind, body and spirit throughout the year.
Begin your meal with healthy vegetables and salads will fill you up and reduce the temptation to over-indulge in high-fat, high-calorie foods. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is also very important for good health.
Physical activity is one of the most important factors in improving a lifestyle in a positive way. But, it does not have to be complicated. A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity, 3-5 days per week will have many positive effects on your body.
One cannot be completely healthy without a healthy mind. Like your body, you must continue to challenge your mind in order for it to remain strong, learn, expand, and grow. Read a good book, do crossword puzzles or try something new...piano lessons! Emulate my mentor, Dr. Gino Mori, who has been taking classes (and takes the exams) in art, science and history since his retirement more than 20 years ago!
Prayer, meditation, or chanting has been known to reduce your heart rate, blood pressure and stress level. These activities can lead to a sense of peace, serenity, joy, and faith. Remember, those who are spiritual and faithful live longer.
Those who love themselves are more likely to take care of their bodies. People who are not comfortable in their own skin are never satisfied with their appearance and often attempt to change their body. For example, men use steroids to appear “bigger and better” or women have cosmetic surgery to appear “younger and better.” It is impossible to love others if you don’t love yourself. You must learn to accept and embrace change in your body and life in order to have a healthy mind, body and spirit.
Get the appropriate amount of uninterrupted sleep. A good sleep promotes healing and refueling for your body. When needed, sit, rest, or take a short nap to recharge.
Countless hours are wasted on feelings of anxiety, regret or worry about a past or upcoming event. This can be a waste of precious life time and adds stress to the body, which makes you more susceptible to disease. Stay focused on the beauty of the present moment!
When you associate with healthy people, you take on their healthy habits. You will drink less, eat healthier and exercise more if you are hanging around with those who engage in these habits...they will have a positive influence on you! Bob Knowles, local insurance broker, is my health and wellness role model. He has tremendous discipline; exercises every morning before work, eats and drinks in moderation and makes time to reflect for self-improvement.
The camaraderie of good friends is essential for a healthy mind, body and spirit. Make it a priority to associate with people who “celebrate life!” The health benefits from these positive-minded, healthy people who appreciate you for who you are will provide you with the support, love, and respect necessary to survive any challenge. Find people who know how they celebrate life! My role model for optimism is Steven Scheinman, MD, President and Dean of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. He demonstrates a keen instinct to find good in others and maintain a positive and optimistic attitude in challenging situations.
Studies show that laughter has health benefits and assist the body in healing. Laughter is contagious, so hanging around with people who are fun and funny, will bring fun and laughter into your life. Try to look for humor in every situation and keep laughing. Spend more time with people that spread joy and laughter. Silly sisters, Rosemary Quinn Malloy, Melissa Quinn LeStrange and Rebecca Quinn Walsh bring a smile to my face whenever I see them or hear their names!
Read Dr. Mackarey’s Health & Exercise Forum – Every Monday. This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician.
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Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.