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Faith and Spiritual Growth for the Maturing Adult

Journey to Wholeness: Optimal Health

Optimal Health

by Richard P. Johnson, Ph.D.

As we mature, our interest in keeping our body running well escalates. Health has always been a concern, but now we find our body demanding more attention. Media bombard us with sometimes confusing health recommendations. The medical community cranks out endless research; and local hospitals seem to issue directives about how we "should" handle our health care. On and on the health carousel swirls around us.

Certainly we want the best medical care we can find, and we want to "keep fit," but with all this apparent contradiction, what are we to do? When we separate the hype from the research, we find that there are seven areas of health practices that together contribute directly to our overall wellness. These seven serve as the foundation for wellness and the backdrop for vitality; they are particularly important as we move into our maturing years.

  1. Avoid tobacco. The research is done, the data is in; there is no question that any type of tobacco use is clearly harmful and damaging to one's health.
  2. Observe proper nutrition. We all know about eating a balanced diet, yet just because we know good dietary habits doesn't mean that we follow them regularly!
  3. Respond to stress positively. We need to devise constructive and healthful measures for managing our stressors, including how to convert them into life enhancers.
  4. Attain sufficient sleep and relaxation. Some social commentators maintain that we have become a nation of sleep-deprived individuals.
  5. Maintain the ideal weight. Fast food, rich food, fatty food, and too much food, all add inches to our waistlines and subtract years from our lives, not to mention rob us of vitality.
  6. If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation. Too much alcohol is a depressant, and can, over the long haul, deprive us of our natural bodily and emotional rhythms, disrupting our normal mood and promoting anger.
  7. Exercise sufficiently. Research indicates that 20 to 30 minutes of vigorous exercise, three to four times per week, is necessary to keep our body in good working condition.

Next month we'll look at why we want to be well; as a Christian, the answer may surprise you.

For more on this topic, look at course 106: www.SeniorAdultMinistry.com

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