As a trainer, instructor and fitness professional I am often asked for advice on how to be healthier and look better. This is a question I love actually - because I have such a strong passion for health and wellness and can talk about it 24/7.
While much of my advice is based on the science of anatomy and kinesiology, many people are surprised to find out that the basics all come from my mother. For centuries, mothers have been giving their children the best health and wellness advice you can get. So in honor of Mother's Day, let's give moms credit for the best health advice you can get.
Here are a few points of advice from Moms and how they can positively affect our lives today:
- "Sit up straight" - Good posture not only looks good but it also aligns the body so that it moves well. As a trainer, the first thing I check on a new client is their posture. It is not only the key to being able to perform exercises more effectively, but good posture allows your internal organs to perform to their full capacity. This can improve your ability to breathe better and can also improve your digestive process.
- "Eat your veggies" - This goes along with being told to eat fruit as a snack as opposed to chips, cookies or crackers. A healthy, active body needs 5 servings of vegetables and 5 servings of fruit a day, every day! This is the best way to provide your body with the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that it needs not only for internal health but also for healthy skin, hair, eyes and finger nails.
- "Don't eat so fast and chew your food" - Your body's digestive system works at a much slower rate than you can eat. It takes approximately 36 hours for food to completely go through the digestive process. Eating too fast will increase the chance of feeling bloated and gassy and can put a strain on your digestive system. It's also important to thoroughly chew your food. The more you chew your food, the easier it is to digest. It also increases the amount of calories you burn while processing food.
- "Go outside and play" - Modern humans spend far too much time indoors and most of that time is spent utilizing digital devices. Not only does this enhance and promote a more sedentary lifestyle but it also has an effect on your eyesight and mental well being. Being outside, especially at parks and nature centers, is not only good for you physically but also mentally. There's nothing better than being outside on a beautiful day, spending time with family and friends and enjoying the world we live in. If you are sensitive to heat and sunlight, enjoy the outdoors in the early morning or late afternoon and evenings. Either way, try and commit to spending time outside at least once a week.
- "Get a good night's sleep" - Sleep plays as important of a role in our health as our diet and exercise routine. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night, especially if you are active. Getting the right amount of rest can strengthen your heart, improve your immune system, reduce stress, improve your memory and mood, and can also help to improve your workout performance.
- "Don't watch too much TV" - This advice also includes smart phones, tablets, laptops etc. Looking at any digital screen for too long can lead to difficulty focusing, cause headaches, as well as dry and itchy eyes. Try and take breaks at least every 20 minutes from the screens. During these breaks, stand up and stretch and look outside at items in the distance. This will allow your eyes to refocus the distance aspect of your vision.
- "Don't worry so much" - This piece of advice is really the key to not only mental health but physical health as well. Prolonged stress can have a negative affect on almost every system of your body and major organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and stomach. One way to lower your stress is to participate in physical and social activities. Get outside and ride your bike, go for a walk, run or just spend quality time with family or friends. Safely, of course.
In addition to these, there are many excellent resources that you can use to improve your health and wellbeing ranging from personal trainers and instructors to reading blogs from Fitness Directors. But the best advice that I can give you is to just listen to your mother.
From all of us at the JCC to all the mothers, who take the time to give their kids of any age advice on how to be their best, thank you and Happy Mother's Day.