Do you consistently practice healthy habits? If so, give yourself a gold star! If not, spring is a great time to make adjustments and engage in more healthful behaviors. Warmer weather and longer days make it easier to exercise outside or do yard work. Farmers markets and stores are already getting local produce to add more veggies to meals.
Unfortunately, it seems that very few people are doing all they can to stay well. Researchers from Oregon State University and the University of Mississippi studied over 4,700 people for 4 lifestyle practices that protect heart health. A study published in March 2016 (news release) revealed that less than 3% of people did all 4 of these healthy actions. While engaging in even one or two of these provides benefits, this is a case where more is better. The 4 benchmarks are:
- Not smoking
- Exercising moderately (150 minutes per week)
- Eating a good diet
- Maintaining a healthy weight / recommended body fat percentage
The Formula for Good Health is a similar set of guidelines for maintaining good health and minimizing the risk of illness. It was published in an editorial in American Family Physician by Dr Colin Kopes-Kerr in 2010.
The formula is 0, 5, 10, 30, 150. It’s essentially the same 4 benchmarks as in the OSU/Mississippi study with the addition of daily quiet time.
- 0: no cigarettes or tobacco products
- 5: servings of fruits and vegetables per day
- 10: minutes of silence, relaxation, or meditation per day
- 30: keep your BMI (body mass index) below 30
- 150: minutes of exercise per week (e.g., brisk walking or equivalent)
I hope you will start today and make a small change for your health.