In Central Florida, the cacophony of health advice can numb you. Some of it is great but some is hype to sell products, subscriptions or services. You don’t need to buy anything special for healthy living. Here is a straightforward, easy-to-follow 12-point guide to healthy living in Central Florida. Of course, individual needs are more complex and varied, but this is a great guide that can’t lead you wrong.
- Eat well. Enjoy 5-10 fruits and vegetables a day. They add vitamins, fiber and great nutrients with no fat and fewer calories than processed foods. Check out the great produce stands in the area, such as Fancy Fruit & Produce on State Road 436 and other locations, or on U.S. Highway 17-92 try Winter Park Produce and Eat More Produce. Go for high-fiber, low-fat foods, such as whole grains and fat-free milk. Limit fried and high-fat foods. Limit sodas and other high-sugar drinks and foods. They don’t do your body any good.
- Enjoy your body. Move. Find exercise that you enjoy. Dancing or walking and biking or rollerblading on our wonderful trails keeps your heart strong and your muscles toned, burns calories and helps overall well-being. Check out the trails in Casselberry, Winter Park and Baldwin Park.
- Protect yourself and be safe. Wear seat belts in the car and helmets (with the chin strap fastened) when biking. Wear parachutes when sky diving. Wear sunblock and sunglasses in the Central Florida sun.
- Be a proactive health care consumer. Get the care you need. Get your annual checkup. Find out what tests and immunizations you should have at healthfinder.gov. Ask questions of your health care provider and pharmacist. Take your medicine as directed. Find out the quality of care at local hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies at healthcare.gov/compare
- Know your numbers. Know your blood pressure, weight and cholesterol. Calculate your BMI at www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/. Reach for your goals. Ask your health care provider for a copy of your lab results.
- Sleep 6-8 hours a night. Sleep restores the brain, the body and the spirit. If you have trouble sleeping, figure out what keeps you awake at night. It could be anything from stress to caffeine to barking dogs.
- Enjoy healthy relationships. Cut loose the relationships that drain you. Celebrate the people in your life.
- Go for no or limited alcohol. Alcohol can dehydrate you in the Florida heat. When used as a crutch, alcohol impairs your ability to function and damages your relationships. If alcohol is a problem for you or someone in your life, call the local Alcoholics Anonymous at (407) 260-5408.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Your urine should be almost clear. Dark yellow indicates you need more water.
- Don’t smoke. Don’t support the tobacco companies with your hard-earned money. Call 1-877-UCANNOW for the Florida Tobacco-Free Quitline at no cost to you.
- Live within your financial means. Simple is best. Finances are a major cause of stress, which affects your overall well-being. Make healthy living your priority and don’t be fooled by advertising or slick sales. See Item 6, above.
- Enjoy life every day. Do something good for someone. You’ll feel great.
That’s it! Start small. Commit to making one change today. Of course you can do it. And you are so worth it.
Maitland resident Nancy Rudner Lugo is a nurse practitioner and president of Health Action, offering workplace health consulting and nurse coaching. Visit healthaction.biz