Joan Lunden's Healthy Lifestyle Recipe
Ed. note: This blog post has been adapted from a Joan's Blog post. The original post was posted on May 15, 2017. Read the original post.
Throughout my life and career, I've collected countless tips for living a healthy lifestyle. In honor of National Women's Health Week, I'd like to share my personal favorites that I try to live by every day.
I travel a lot, so I know about not having the time to hit the gym. If traditional workouts aren't fitting into your day or are simply not your speed, find other ways to keep moving. Looking for some ideas? Park in the farthest spot from the grocery store and walk the parking lot there and back (extra points for carrying heavy bags back!), take the stairs (maybe even stop for a squat at each floor?!), get to school pickup early and take a lap around the field (use this time to knock out a phone call you've been meaning to make!), or volunteer to make the office trip to the coffee shop (you'll get points from your co-workers!). You'll be surprised at how these small steps add up throughout your week.
Keep your brain engaged
People are living longer than ever, and we need to keep our brains healthy so we can retain our cognitive skills and enjoy our golden years. According to the National Institute on Aging, engaging your brain frequently by doing things like playing puzzle or card games, visiting museums, and reading newspapers can help lower your risk of Alzheimer's disease by 47%. There are many fun ways to exercise your brain — from learning new things to brain game apps. Some ideas that I love are reading books (my personal fave!), taking a continuing education class, learning a new language, and taking a dance or aerobics class where you learn new steps and sequences! Learning new things makes new connections in your brain, so 1, 2, cha cha cha!
Hydration is key
Over the years, countless doctors have told me about the importance of hydration. From headaches to low energy to chemotherapy management, hydration plays a key role in our overall health. When I was going through aggressive chemotherapy, I was introduced to a concept that I loved: Decide how many glasses of water you aim to drink in a day and put that many bracelets on one arm. They can be your favorite bangles, inexpensive plastic bracelets from a party store, or loose hair bands you have around the house. Throughout your day, move one bracelet to the opposite arm with each glass of water that you drink, challenging yourself to get them all moved over by day's end. Sometimes a personal challenge is the best way to keep yourself in check!
It is easy to get bogged down by the stresses of our day-to-day lives. Work, email, commuting, electronics, etc. But connecting with others is central to our needs as social human beings. You might not think you have the time or energy to keep up with your social life, but calling a friend, chatting with a family member, or engaging with a group in your community can be surprisingly uplifting.
A diet you can live with
If you simply can't live without that cream in your morning coffee, but you can pass up the after-dinner gelato, trade off one for the other. I find that making swap-outs that you can actually live with (and sticking to them!) sets you up for success and leads you to make more and more healthy decisions. When I feel that I am successful in my dedication to a healthy choice, it inspires me to do more. Next thing I know, I've made several small changes that don't bother me too much but all add up.
If you need ideas for your healthy lifestyle recipe, watch the National Women's Health Week Recipe for Health video. Tweet your "recipes" at #NWHW.
The statements and opinions in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health.