Lives Made Better | Summer 2011

What is Wellness?

Wellness is a big buzzword these days. But what is actually included in that term? Wellness has three basic components: a balanced diet, regular exercise, and wise lifestyle choices. Incorporating all three into your daily routine can help you live a longer, healthier life. Adopting even one of them can improve your well-being.

Memorial Medical Center is a member of the community coalition that has organized the Win with Wellness program to help area residents focus on these key aspects of healthy living, To find out more, please visit the program website at ludingtondailynews.com/wellness. The program is now in the second of at least three sessions planned for this year. The third session runs June 6 to August 1. This structure allows participants to set short-term goals during each session, earning points and qualifying for prizes. The positive reinforcement of achieving short-term goals can translate into lifelong habits and long-term health gains.

Eating Healthy

A healthy diet can reduce your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. According to nutrition experts, a healthy diet is:

  • High in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. These should make up 45 to 65 percent of an adult’s diet.
  • High in variety for essential vitamins and minerals
  • Low in fat. No more than 20 to 35 percent of your total calories should come from fat.
  • Low in cholesterol. Use moderate portions of meats and other animal products.
  • Low in sodium

See the www.mypyramid.gov website for additional information.

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise can reduce your risk for heart disease, cancer, obesity, and osteoporosis. The 2005 USDA guidelines for exercise include 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise most days of the week for adults and 60 or more minutes daily for children. Be sure to check with your health care provider before beginning an exercise program. A balanced exercise program includes:

  • Aerobic exercise to increase cardiovascular endurance
  • Weight or resistance training for muscle strength and endurance
  • Flexibility exercise to protect your muscles from strains and injury.
  • Always warm up before stretching major muscle groups.

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Many of the stroke-risk tips advocated by Dr. Ryan in his companion article apply equally well to overall wellness. These healthy habits can help prolong your life:

  • Not smoking
  • Drinking alcohol moderately, if at all
  • Scheduling regular medical checkups for prevention and early diagnosis of health problems
  • Wearing an SPF 15 sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA on exposed skin year-round when you are outdoors
  • Controlling stress and anger