As yet another birthday arrives, I’m reminded how important it is to give yourself the gift of good health. That’s why we’re all here, right? To make sure we get another birthday? I know when I decided to take control of my health, the main reason wasn’t just to look good in my jeans, it was to make sure I’d be around to watch my children grow up and become adults.
According to the World Health Organization, Non-Communicable Diseases (stroke, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes) are the leading causes of death in the world and roughly 80% of these diseases could be prevented (source). I, for one, would prefer to NOT be a part of that statistic. What can you do to help take control of your health?
- Schedule regular health screenings. Just this week I had my yearly physical, had blood drawn to check my cholesterol and thyroid function, and I have my annual mammogram coming up later this month. That last one is a biggie. Even if you don’t have insurance, many agencies offer free mammograms – so you have no excuse for not making sure the girls are healthy.
- Get regular exercise. Most experts suggest you aim for 30 minutes of movement a day. It can be a walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work, throwing in a yoga DVD, going for a 3 mile run. Whatever you find enjoyable and you will keep doing is perfect. One of my birthday traditions is miles or minutes related to my new age (more on this in a minute).
- Cut out the junk. Start reducing the sugar. If you smoke – stop now. Limit alcohol. Cut out the bad fats (hydrogenated vegetable oils) and replace them with good fats (coconut or olive oil, avocado, etc).
- See a masseuse or go to yoga.
- Get plenty of sleep. If sleep eludes you – talk to your doctor. 8 hours is the minimum most of us should be getting each night. I know I’m guilty of not hitting this (which is one reason for the thyroid testing).
- Take a class on healthy cooking. If you don’t want to do this, start perusing Pinterest or make sure you check out our sister site, Shrinking Kitchen, for tons of healthy recipe ideas.
Now, back to that birthday miles tradition. Today, I’m turning 44 years old. Normally, I would run 44 minutes or 4.4 miles today, but I’m doing my long run today instead because the weather here looks dismal for the weekend. Since I can’t run 44 miles on my own, I’d love a little help. I will get us started off with 20 miles today (yep, when you are in the middle of marathon training, you just might run 20 miles on your birthday). If you run or walk today, please let me know how far in the comments – I would love The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans to join together and walk/run some miles with me on my birthday. If we hit 44 (or more) by the end of the day, that would be the best birthday present ever.
Happy, healthy birthday to me and wishes for good health to all of you!
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