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What Is A Healthy Lifestyle?

What Is A Healthy Lifestyle?

At SierraSil, our vision is to help one or million or more people live healthier and more active lives. This is our joy, and this is what gets us excited – knowing that we’re helping you live a healthy and active lifestyle. In this blog post, we look at the different aspects that come together to support a healthy lifestyle. Now, we don’t want you to get bogged down with yet another blog post that encourages you to eat better, to exercise more, and to improve your sleep habits. Yes, these are all critical components of healthy lifestyle, but we believe there is so much more to you than what you eat, how you move, and when you sleep. At its core, a healthy lifestyle is highly personal and individual. Your healthy lifestyle likely looks very different from the lifestyles of the elite athletes who use SierraSil or even that of our CEO, Michael Bentley. Your healthy lifestyle is one that makes you feel good, happy, and comfortable.


Physical Wellness

Notice how we didn’t simply use the word “exercise” here? The thing is that exercise can be such a loaded word. Pick up a health magazine or browse your favorite health websites, and you’re inundated with advice on how to run farther, to hike more, to squeeze in that extra yoga class, and why CrossFit is the best training option. But here’s the thing – how, when, why, and where you move your body is completely personal. If you’re recovering from knee replacement surgery or are living with osteoarthritis, you’re not about to run five miles. But you might go to a light stretching class, enjoy a walk with friends, or do some chair yoga. We want you to think about your physical wellness. This is your ability to easily get around your home, community, and social activities. You have the ability to walk with ease, to play with your kids, to plan a city tour, etc. This ability to physically move allows you to interact and be part of your community and family. This is very different from hitting the gym three days a week or signing up for a marathon. We want you to have the ability and freedom to move your body without any restrictions on your joint health and mobility. And yes, it would be great if you could get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily and fit in some kind of strength exercises – but it’s also important to recognize that this is not possible for every person. There is no good or bad when it comes to your physical wellness – it is what it is, and we don’t want you beating yourself up because you’re not doing what the magazines and websites say you should be doing. Find what you enjoy and do this.


Creative Opportunities

There is more and more research about the importance of having creative outlets and opportunities. Think of activities such as journaling, drawing, knitting, woodworking, pottery, music, dance, etc. These are the times when you can fully immerse yourself in an activity and really let your mind run free. Your head becomes uncluttered, you’re not thinking about your work deadlines, the latest news headlines, or that lingering to do list. Think of the joy in your children or grandchildren when they show you their recent artwork from school or when they build a giant Lego tower. It’s that feeling of accomplishment – of starting from nothing and creating something that is so important. This feeling of accomplishment that comes with creative opportunities is key to living a healthy lifestyle. The photo you took and have framed on your wall, that scarf you knitted, or the shelf you built – are all reminders that you have so many strengths and dimensions.


Human Connections and Community

In this digital age, it has become so easy to be alone. Yes, you might be texting or chatting with your Facebook friends – but think about the last time you met new people in real life or went out to a community event. The Internet is awesome because it connects us – but it also has the ability to disconnect us from human connections. Instead of picking up the phone and calling your friend, you text. As part of living a healthy lifestyle, it’s important that you have regular human connections and a community where you feel comfortable and safe. This is not a digital community, but a real live human community that can give you the friendship, love, and companionship that we all need.


A Curious and Active Mind

Knowledge is the stuff of life – it empowers you, inspires you, supports you, and encourages you. This is why having a curious and active mind is a key aspect of living a healthy lifestyle. Now, we’re not saying you need to spend your days reading about medieval history – but we do want you to think about what piques your curiosity. This curiosity makes it easier for you to get involved with your community, to meet new people, to explore your creative opportunities, and to be connected.


Quality and Enjoyable Food

Eating food that nourishes you and tastes good is so important. Too many people get caught up in eating as healthy as possible and end up losing the joy in eating and in food. We don’t want you to do this. Yes, we want you to get vegetables and fruit in your daily diet, we want you to think about how much red meat you’re eating, and we want you to make sure you’re supporting your physical activities through nutrition. But this doesn’t mean you need to give up cake, white flour, dairy, sugar, bread, chocolate, etc. Eat the foods you enjoy. Make sure your food is as high quality as you can comfortably afford. Enjoy the cookies but try to get in a vegetable soup for lunch or some fruit with your breakfast. What and how you eat is highly personal – what you enjoy and feels good in your body is likely not the same as your work colleague enjoys. Eat what feels good for you.


Your Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle is all about you and what makes sense for you. You might love working out hard. You might enjoy and feel best on a vegan diet. You might have a deep passion for watercolor painting. You might feel happiest when your social calendar is full of events. You do you. You do the healthy lifestyle that makes you feel good – inside and out. When you think about a healthy lifestyle, we really want you to think beyond food, exercise, and sleep – the fun stuff is so important in contributing and supporting a healthy and active life.

How To Eat For Your Health

How To Eat For Your Health
Your health is important to you. You want to have energy. You want to wake up each day excited for what the day brings. You want to feel and look good. You want to enjoy your favorite sports and activities. This is why we want you to understand the importance of eating for your health. You can do all the running, bodybuilding, stretching, and yoga you want – but without a healthy diet, you’re missing the cornerstone to a healthy life. Small changes in your diet can add up to huge benefits for you immune system health, your joint health, your ability to recover from injury, and your chances of preventing illness. It’s important to remember that the diet so many of us enjoyed in our 20’s is not the one that will see us all living well into our 90’s. While there aren’t any guaranteed ways to prevent disease, we do know that eating a healthy diet goes a long way in aiding in the prevention of and recovery from disease, illness, and injury. And yes, we all know the person who ate super healthy and ran every day, who still died suddenly from heart problems or cancer. But, we want you to put this negative example aside and think about what you want from life and how you’re going to achieve it. Could you make small changes to your diet that would lessen your joint discomfort or make it easier for you to play tennis? Signs Of Poor Nutrition Because our bodies need different nutrients as we age, it’s easy to accidentally fall into eating habits that result in poor age-related nutrition. What you ate and could live well on in your 20’s and 30’s, is not the same now when you’re in 50’s and beyond. It’s important you’re aware of these signs of poor nutrition. We want you to talk to your healthcare provider if you recognize any of these signs of poor nutrition.
  • Fatigue and tiredness. Constant feelings of fatigue, exhaustion, and tiredness can be indicators that you’re not getting enough iron and/or protein.
  • Dry hair and skin. Your body sends much needed resources such as vitamins, iron, and protein to your largest organs. This means that when you’re low on key essentials, your hair and skin can suffer.
  • Dental and mouth problems. A deficiency in vitamin C can cause bleeding gums and gum disease.
  • Digestive problems. Diarrhea and constipation can be signs that your diet is missing key nutrients and essentials including zinc and fiber.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you notice these or other new symptoms. Track your food and beverage intake for a week or so and bring this with you – this can help your healthcare provider notice any trends and gaps in your diet. Eating For Your Joint Health Along with getting daily exercise, taking natural joint supplements, and listening to your body, what you eat can make a big difference in your joint health. It’s no secret that we are what we eat, so start incorporating these key foods in your diet to support your joint health.
  • Berries. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are sweet little nuggets of antioxidants that help fight inflammation. Berries contain ellagic acid and anthocyanins, both of which have been proven to help decrease inflammation.
  • Nuts. Many people fear nuts due to the high fat content, but your body needs this fat to support the immune system and defend against inflammation.
  • Vibrant orange vegetables. Vegetables such as carrots, butternut squash, and sweet potato get their vibrancy from vitamin A and beta-carotene. These key nutrients are essential in reducing inflammation, and they taste delicious.
  • Greens. You’ve been told countless times to eat your greens, and for good reason. Dark green vegetables such as kale, bok choy, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli are jam-packed full of goodness including sulforaphane, a compound that can block enzymes associated with joint discomfort and inflammation.
  • Oily fish. Salmon, sardines, mackerel and other oily fish are high in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to help reduce joint discomfort and reduce inflammation.
  • Red apples and onions. These two common foods are high in quercetin, an antioxidant that has strong links to reducing arthritis and associated joint discomfort.
  • Turmeric. Turmeric is gaining in popularity for the health benefits of curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to help reduce inflammation and to aid in the recovery of the impacts of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Tell us how you eat to support your joint health. Visit our SierraSil Facebook community page and tell us about your favorite joint health recipes. Enjoy These Summer Favorites The summer season provides us with a rich bounty of fresh, local, and delicious fruits and vegetables. Take advantage of the season and enjoy these great tasting foods that also have tremendous health benefits.
  • Tomatoes. Rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and lycopene – these red fruits (yes tomatoes are a fruit not a vegetable) are so good for you and easy to eat.
  • Zucchini. You or someone you know is likely dealing with an abundance of freshly grown zucchini. Eat this vibrant green vegetable raw or cooked and reap the benefits of pectin in helping to support heart health.
  • Watermelon. It’s super easy to get dehydrated in the summer. Sliced watermelon, watermelon granita, or watermelon smoothies are a great way to get a sweet treat and rehydrate on a hot summer day.
  • Apples, figs, and pears. These highly portable fruits are high in fiber and easy to eat wherever you are. Make sure you eat the skin to get the full fiber and nutritional benefits from these fruits.
  • Avocado. More than a food trend with the ever-popular avocado toast, this creamy and versatile vegetable is rich in monosaturated fat. Enjoy avocadoes on toast, in guacamole, in a salad dressing, in a smoothie, or simply sliced with some salt and pepper.
We want you to feel your best and one of the keys to this is eating well. Eating for your health doesn’t mean you need to give up ice cream, pizza, or other favorites – it just means that you need to find a balance. Look for ways to add in an extra serving of vegetables or how to incorporate fruit into your dessert, there are lots of delicious and easy ways to eat for your health.

Let’s Talk Getting Fit

Let’s Talk Getting Fit
Everyone can be fit. What is important is in recognizing and accepting what being fit means for you. Of course, your top fitness is very different from that of a 20-year old hockey player or a 40-year old lifelong runner. We want you to take a few minutes and think about what being fit means to you. Maybe it’s being able to walk up and down the stairs without being tired. Maybe it’s building stronger muscles to support your sore joints and alleviating joint discomfort. Maybe it’s being able to continue to improve your weightlifting and bodybuilding goals. Maybe it’s being able to spend the entire day out in the garden or on the tennis court. Anyway, you get the idea. Your fitness is about you – and not anyone else. Think about what you enjoy doing, what you’d like to do, any goals you have, and take into consideration any physical health limitations you may have. The next step is in moving forward, creating a plan or small weekly goals, and striving to meet these. There is no “too old” or “I can’t”. It doesn’t matter if one week you can’t get to the gym or you’re not able to get out in your garden as you planned – there is no actual failure in this get fit strategy. We want you to set yourself up for the fitness that makes sense for you. You decide what you want, why you want it, and then focus in on it. No goal or target is too big or too small – what matters is that it’s important to you. Think of the famous question, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” – the same holds true for you. We’ve put together some new habits you can focus on that will support you on your new fitness path. Remember to talk to your doctor before embarking on a new fitness plan. Stand and Sit Tall Take a quick scan of your body as you sit in your chair. Is your back straight? Are your feet flat on the floor and are your knees bent at 90 degrees? Is your neck straight or are you leaning towards your monitor? Yes, good posture habits are vital in ensuring your body can support any new fitness goals or routines. When you’re walking and sitting, think about keeping your back straight, roll your shoulders back, and try to tense your stomach muscles. Yes, easier said than done, but with a little practice and attention every day, you’ll soon be standing and sitting tall. Walk Regardless if you’re a swimmer, cyclist, avid gardener, tennis player, bodybuilder, or yogi – you still need to walk. It’s very important to do regular weight-bearing activity to help support strong and healthy joints, bones, and muscles. You might think you get enough activity with your daily bike rides or lap swim, but you still need to walk. Along with helping to strengthen your bones and joints, a short daily walk invigorates your circulation, aids in digestion, and supports your heart health. Get Out and About It’s very easy to suddenly find yourself alone. Maybe you’re retired and live alone or have moved to a new community where you don’t know many people. At first you don’t feel isolated or alone, but over time it’s very easy to feel very alone. We are social animals and need regular friendly human contact for both our mental and physical health. If you find yourself alone, think about joining some kind of club or group. For example, join a photography club, walking group, gardening club, quilting group, tennis club, or whatever meets your interests. Don’t be shy, talk to the cashier at your grocery store, strike up a conversation with your neighbor - make small talk with the people around you. It can be as easy as striking up a conversation about the weather or chatting about your local sports team. You never know who you will meet or what you’ll learn. Eat Well You are what you eat. Think of your favorite fruits and vegetables and look for ways to eat 5 – 10 servings a day. Add a chopped apple to your daily bowl of oatmeal. Enjoy some fruit and yogurt. Make a big batch of vegetable soup that you can enjoy for lunch all week. To make things easier, buy frozen fruits and vegetables – these fruits and vegetables are already washed and have been chopped and peeled. Remember to incorporate healthy sources of protein such as lean meats, beans, and other legumes. Of course, we want you to enjoy a treat or two, just keep an eye on your portions, but don’t be afraid to indulge every now and then. Get a Checkup Yes, please go see your doctor for your annual checkup. This annual checkup is the best way your doctor has to monitor and track your health. It’s important you get your blood work done, have your cholesterol monitored, that your blood pressure is taken, and that you are going for mammograms and colonoscopies as required. Even if you feel fine, it’s very important to see your doctor for an annual visit. This is your chance to ask questions, to learn how to monitor any arthritis pain or other joint discomfort, and to talk about any mental health concerns. Set Some Goals Think about what you’d like to accomplish – something big or something small. It doesn’t matter, just so long as it’s something that motivates you. For example, set a goal of completing a five kilometer run in three months or playing tennis twice a week or joining a hiking club and going out for weekly hikes. Goals are a great way to keep you motivated and focused on good healthy habits. There is no failure level attached to these goals – they’re goals, so they should be somewhat challenging and motivating. If it helps, partner up with a friend and commit to the same goal. Plan to meet every Saturday morning for a regular walk or bike ride – when you’re lacking motivation, it helps to know that your friend is counting on you to come out. Enjoy the Journey We want you to have fun and enjoy your fitness journey. Don’t compare yourself to others or what you used to be able to do. Focus on what you’re doing today, what you’re going to do tomorrow, and how great you feel about this. Your confidence will increase, your mood will lighten, and you’ll be that person full of life and energy that others admire.