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Deciding to take charge of your health is only one of the pieces to life’s puzzle. Knowing what to do to affect change is another. A simple acronym can help you remember what can be done to make choices that will improve your health and quality of life. That acronym is N.E.W. S.T.A.R.T. 1
(1) Nutrition (2) Exercise (3) Water (4) Sunlight (5) Temperance (6) Air (7) Rest (8) Trust in Divine power
N – Nutrition-It has been said that “you are what you eat”. Do you want a “healthy” you? Then eat foods that are of good quality and that promote health. Foods in that category include grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Things to remember about eating: Plan meals a week at a time and then shop for groceries based on the menu. You’ll save money and buy fewer junk foods if you develop this practice. Try to increase the amount of fruits, grains, and vegetables you eat. Eat two to three meals per day. Check out 13 Keys to a Healthy Diet for other helpful dietary hints. 2
E – Exercise or physical activity is essential to building a healthy body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two hours and 30 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic exercise per week and muscle-strengthening activity two or more days per week. Don’t panic!! It doesn’t all have to be done at one time. You’ll be more inclined to exercise if you choose an activity that you enjoy, if you have a “buddy” or partner to exercise with you, and if the time and place for exercise is not unreasonable. Plan your exercise program so it is doable and within reach. Check out Physical Activity for Everyone 3
W – Water is the body’s dominant chemical and plays an important role in every system of the body. In fact, 65% of the body weight is water. It not only brings nutrients to cells and tissues, it helps flush the body of toxins and waste that build up inside. Question. Would you wash your floor with soda or juice? No, unless you want a sticky floor that attracts flies and ants. Even though soda and juices are liquids they are not suitable for cleaning. They are not suitable for cleaning the body either—inside or out. Water is a better choice. You would do well to drink 6 to 8 8oz of water daily just to hydrate yourself. Check out Drink Water for Your Body’s Health: How to Hydrate and Replenish Fluids Using the Replacement Theory | Suite101.com. 4
S – The sun is 865,000 miles in diameter, is 93 million miles away from us, and takes only about 8.5 minutes to reach us. In proper doses, ultraviolet radiation, which comes from the sun, kills germs, stimulates production of vitamin D. Vitamin D allows the body to absorb calcium, a mineral critical to the body’s functioning. For more information on calcium check out, What Does Calcium Have To do With The Sun?5 Some of the beneficial effects of the sun are that it slows the heart rate, increase stroke volume of the heart, lowers blood pressure and slows respirations. Even with these positive benefits, it is important to remember exposure to the sun should be limited to 10-15 minutes if sunscreen is not being used.
T – In the 19th and early 20th centuries, temperance was an organized movement to encourage moderation in the use of intoxicating liquors or complete abstinence particularly among women. The definition of temperance is moderation in indulgence of appetites and passions. With the introduction of “super sizes” it has become increasingly more difficult to know, much less ask for, considerably smaller portions. Some strategies for eating out include a) asking for a “kiddie” size serving, b) asking for a “doggie bag” and putting half of the meal away before you begin eating.
A – Air is a vital source of life on planet earth. It has oxygen which is a necessary element for the cells of the body to live. As oxygen is breathed in carbon dioxide is released. The importance of air is made obvious by the fact that you can live for months without food and weeks without water, but only minutes without air. Although there are many pollutants in the air you should make every attempt to breathe as “fresh air” as possible. Even those who are sick would benefit from breathing deeply of fresh air. 1
R – Some researchers suggest rest is one of the most important keys to maintaining good health. Although rest is an antidote for stress, which is known to contribute to disease, people are so busy that they do not take the opportunity to rest or sleep. Rest is needed because every cell in the body is constantly at work therefore expending energy. The time of rest gives the cells an opportunity to rest, catch up on needed repairs, and recover from their work. Rest is not synonymous with sleep but both are needed to restore and refresh the body. Do you want to reduce the risk of premature death? Get 6 – 8 hours of sleep per night. Check out these tips on how to improve your quality of sleep. 6
T – Trust in a divine power is the most important thing to have as you make a NEW START because it is as you rely on a power outside of yourself that you can make changes. Lifestyle changes, such as those in NEW START, may often seem difficult to you because they are new. Don’t be discouraged. Trust in a divine power makes it easier to achieve your goals. 7
Test Your Knowledge
Take the Quiz: N.E.W. S.T.A.R.T.
This short quiz tests your knowledge on: Food. Follow the directions for each question. When completed, insert your email address and you will instantly receive your graded response
7. Ludington A, Diehl H. 2000. Health Power: Health by Choice, Not Chance. Review & Herald Publishers, Hagerstown, MD