by Dr. Hojat Askari, Founder & Medical Director, Thumb Butte Medical Center
Sustainable health to you and me means a commitment to taking responsibility for our health — making sure we exercise, are mindful of what we eat and care for our mental health.
It’s about being proactive over reactive. Remember the costs — financially and emotionally — are far greater when coping with a disease or injury that could have been prevented.
You can establish a sustainable health roadmap in consultation with your doctor, personal trainer, nutritionist or other health care providers. Your aim is to develop and embrace personal health practices and coping skills to prevent getting sick, promote self-care, conquer challenges and maintain your self-reliance and problem-solving abilities.
One of the simplest things you can do for your health is just laugh. This act alone:
- Soothes stress
- Fends off infections
- Fosters brain health
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves your mood
- Burns calories
Research shows that laughter has short-and long-term effects. It can increase oxygen to your heart, lungs and muscles while releasing endorphins that reduce physical pain. A Norwegian study discovered that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don’t laugh as much — the difference was pronounced for those fighting cancer.
Along with laughter, keys to sustaining your health include:
- Maintaining a recommended body weight
- Prioritizing sleep
- Bolstering your immune system with vitamin C, antioxidants
- Drinking enough water
- Not smoking or using drugs
- Washing produce from the store to clean off pesticide residue
- Drinking alcohol in moderation
- Nurturing strong personal relationships
- Pursuing a healthy personal environment
- Cultivating meaning, purpose in life
You aren’t alone, but the commitment must be yours.