By Dr. Charity Robinson
This is one of the best times of year to make changes toward more positive elements in our lives. The basic necessities in life include food, air, water, exercise, and sleep, and there are some ways to maximize each of these to help keep our bodies healthy.
A great way to provide healthy food is a garden where you can grow your own vegetables, which usually taste much better than anything you can buy in the store. If you only have a small yard, even one or two raised beds in a small sunny area can be enough for a wide variety of vegetables. Children are more likely to be excited to eat fresh fruits and vegetables if they have participated in growing or picking.
We are fortunate to live in a part of the world that usually has clean fresh air, other than during fire seasons. The best way for each of us to keep the air we breathe clean is to avoid smoking or being around those who smoke, especially for children whose lungs are still developing.
Water is an essential part of keeping every part of our body working well. We recommend drinking at least 64-72 ounces of water or water equivalent fluids daily, and even more during the hot summer months or after exercise.
Exercise is important at all ages for different amounts of time and different reasons. Kids need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day to help stay focused and sleep well at night. Adults need 20-30 minutes of exercise daily for a healthy heart, prevent illness such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and reduce stress. Older adults need regular activity to keep their muscles strong and bones healthy. Families should go out and exercise or play together whenever possible.
Sleep also varies at different age groups. School aged children should sleep 10-12 hours every night as an essential part of growth and development, and necessary for learning. Adults should sleep 7-8 hours every night to be most productive and focused through the day.
Use this season of growth to make your own lives more healthy and balanced.