First of all, fun is good for you! The enjoyment of life affects your health in a positive way. It's a fact! Your attitude, feelings, and emotions can have a positive or negative effect on your health.
You can improve your health in many ways, and we are going to talk about a few. We are going to have a little fun with vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, exercise, personal relationships, mental gymnastics, and relaxation and rest. Sounds exciting to me! I'm having fun already! So let me show you a few ways to have a little fun and get healthier in the process.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS
I never stop preaching that everyone should take a multivitamin supplement daily. I've covered the arguments for this in other articles, but if you would like to read a little more on why you need vitamins, go to my website and read my article on vitamin deficiencies. For the moment, however, let's just assume I'm right (I am, you know) and you SHOULD take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement.
It's a hassle, isn't it? That's the biggest problem for most people. Then there's the people that just don't like taking pills. Some forget until they are on the way to work, or at work. The list of reasons goes on, doesn't it?
Try this? Go buy three bottles of Flintstone chewable vitamins with all the minerals possible. Centrum also makes an adult chewable, but I am told that they don't taste as good as Flintstone. What's that? No, I have never tasted chewable vitamins - I remember to take my multivitamin daily, because I'm a good guy and it's fun to be healthy.
Anyway, take one of your bottles of Flintstone vitamins and put it in your bathroom, near where you do your hair, brush your teeth (I put mine in a glass), or whatever. Put another one in the console, door pocket, or glove compartment of your car. Put the last one in your desk at work, in your lunch box, locker...whatever. Sometime during the day, you, as a responsible adult concerned about your health will surely find the ten seconds necessary to open the bottle, pop one in your mouth, and chew it. Take the bottle with you on trips. If you go on a lot of trips, buy a fourth bottle and put it in the bag you always take with you...toiletries or something.
Antioxidants fight free radicals and in so doing, they help defend you against cancer, cataracts, wrinkles, and other really negative aspects of aging. I've got some good news for you. That Flintstones chewable vitamin you decided to take contained several antioxidants, so you're already going to do yourself and your body a big favor.
Here's some more good news! Chocolate, coffee, green tea and wine all contain bioflavonoids which are antioxidants. So, swing into Starbucks and get a cup of coffee, drink some green tea (lots of different flavors), pop a green tea extract capsule, sip a glass of wine, or have a piece of chocolate. Not all at one time, please. Yes, they ARE good for you, but sweeten your tea or coffee with stevia or an artificial sweetener, and don't go overboard on the wine or chocolate.
Can exercise really be fun? Well, it CAN be if you don't try to start an "exercise program" while you're out of shape! Just look around for a fun physical activity instead. What's a fun physical activity? I don't know! Well, I DO know what I like. I like yoga, walking outside or on a treadmill, and lifting dumbbells. Maybe you like swimming, or tennis, or gardening, or playing with the kids or grandkids (spoil 'em and then run away...that's what I do.)
This is SUPPOSED to be fun! Whatever you decide is good for you, there's a good chance you are out of shape at the moment, so start off slow. Remember, part of the fun is knowing that you can do it again tomorrow or the next day.
Having good, pleasurable relationships with others can improve your health, help you live longer, give more purpose to your life, and help you get more enjoyment out of life.
Remember that activity you were going to engage in? Why not find others who like it too and do it with them? You could look online for forums or discussion groups on the subject and exchange ideas and experiences with others...maybe even meet in person. If you are retired or don't feel that your work or family is providing the personal relationships you seek, become a volunteer for something that really matters to you...support your local library, collect toys for tots, teach people to read. The possibilities are endless.
A personal note on this subject: Several years ago, while I was the business manager of a community mental health facility I would often have discussions with the head of the geriatric day care program. She often told me that most of the doddering souls in attendance wouldn't have wound up there except, as they aged, they lost their ties to, and interest in, friends, family, and humanity. In losing their relationships, they lost themselves.
By the way, a pet works almost as well as a person. In fact, for some people, possibly better!
MENTAL GYMNASTICS...EXERCISE FOR THE BRAIN
You can't teach an old dog new tricks!
It has been shown that using your brain regularly can not only keep your thought processes sharp, but can help maintain your physical health. You don't have to be an Einstein. Take courses on subjects that interest you. Local colleges and community organizations often have life enriching courses that are free or relatively inexpensive...okay, cheap! Don't worry about the end results. Like yoga, it's the attempt that counts. Just because you take a course in baking doesn't mean you ever have to REALLY BAKE anything! However, you WILL have exercised your brain and maybe you made a few new and interesting relationships. You can attend lectures, local theatrical presentations (I just saw my daughter's boyfriend in "A Streetcar Named Desire", and it was fun and entertaining), learn a language, or simply work puzzles or read those books you've been wanting to read. Not the ones your high school teacher TOLD you to read...the ones YOU have always wanted to read.
RELAXATION AND REST...YOU DESERVE IT
You deserve to rest and relax, and you need to do it well for your health. It's important, so do it right. It won't hurt to learn a little about relaxation...things like meditation and yoga can help, but there are other relaxation techniques as well. You don't have to become an expert. You might be surprised at how much relaxation you can accomplish just learning a little on these subjects.
A classic book to read is still Dale Carnegie's "How To Stop Worrying And Start Living". It's a little dated and may seem a little simple as well, but by the time you're finished with it, you will be pleased with the insight you have gotten into things that have been eating at you...and how to minimize the power they have over you.
Take a trip...just to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, The Linen Store, or even Wal-Mart. Get some high thread count sheets. You'll be surprised at how good they feel. Pamper yourself in the evening before bedtime and give yourself some pleasant wind-down time and take some mini-breaks throughout the day. That's one of the reasons I recommend things like yoga, meditation, and Dale Carnegie. What you learn from these can help you relax your way like a pro through each day and into your night's rest.
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