Adopting eco-conscious habits is becoming more urgent than ever, not just for the planet but also for your health. So, let’s go green & get healthy with Stay-Healthy.Org!!!
This article was originally posted in our May 2019 edition. Some additions have been made.Stay-healthy.Org
The sooner you adopt a healthy lifestyle the more time you have to recoup the benefits as they pile up. The sooner you choose to begin taking steps to reduce the waste and greenhouse gas your household is responsible for the more it’ll benefit the environment and reduce the effects of climate change.
You have many more options beyond these four to begin leading a healthier life that’s also more sustainable for the Earth, but these are some of the most fundamental shifts with the biggest impact:
Where do we begin? Mapping out and shopping for your meals ahead of time helps you stick with whatever way of eating you have chosen to keep your brain, heart and everything else in tip-top shape.
Knowing what recipes you’re going to use makes it easier to buy food in bulk to reduce packaging. It also makes it less tempting to take the “easy” way out with fast or ultra-processed food, which make things harder in the long run by adding to pollution and waste while causing inflammation throughout your body.
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The upsides of a plant-based diet for people and our planet are well established by now. Such a diet cuts down on the amount of fossil fuel and other nonrenewable resources required to produce food.
A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes is the near-universal recommendation for maintaining good health and avoiding heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.
If you aren’t ready to adopt a meatless diet, take a more flexitarian approach to your eating by reducing your consumption of animal products and choosing locally sourced, grass-fed meat sources as much as possible when you do eat it.
This is another area where the dual benefits of taking action are easy to pinpoint. Some sort of exercise that is above and beyond your normal daily activity is of HUGE benefit.
It’s a lot easier to net the recommended 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise recommended weekly and slash our fossil fuel consumption when we’re using our feet to get wherever we’re going.
That’s right, for most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:
- Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week. To provide even greater health benefit and to assist with weight loss or maintaining weight loss, at least 300 minutes a week is recommended. But even small amounts of physical activity are helpful. Being active for short periods of time throughout the day can add up to provide health benefit.
- Strength training. Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.
Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, biking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running, heavy yard work and aerobic dancing. Strength training can include use of weight machines, your own body weight, heavy bags, resistance tubing or resistance paddles in the water, or activities such as rock climbing.
As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight, maintain weight loss or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more.
Reducing sitting time is important, too. The more hours you sit each day, the higher your risk of metabolic problems. Sitting too much can negatively impact your health and longevity, even if you get the recommended amount of daily physical activity. And some research has found that people who’ve lost weight may be more likely to keep off the lost weight by sitting less during the day.
Short on long chunks of time? Even brief bouts of activity offer benefits. For instance, if you can’t fit in one 30-minute walk during the day, try a few five-minute walks instead. Any activity is better than none at all. What’s most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.
Using public transportation, when available, generally requires some foot transportation that will help reduce our blood pressure, speed our metabolism and do other wondrous things for us while reducing our dependence on polluting, expensive gasoline.
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DIY CLEANING SOLUTIONS
Most commercial cleaning fluid bottles don’t list their ingredients because they’re not required to. It’s difficult to know which ones contain compounds that can harm the ecosystem inside you and the one around you, including air-polluting volatile organic compounds and hormone disruptors like phthalates.
Try making your own cleaners, air fresheners, carpet stain remover, grout cleaner and laundry detergent with vinegar, baking soda, borax, hydrogen peroxide and other natural, easy-to-find components.
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