Most people rank personal finance as their number one stressor, usually because they feel powerless. Stress not only shortens lives, it also drives people to habits like smoking, drinking, or bingeing on food. Keep some money in a special bank account, safe from your lust for a new television, and you’ll establish an emotional comfort zone with major health benefits.
Take the part of your brain dedicated to your nail salon’s phone number and reassign it to your heart’s vital signs. These include blood pressure (which ideally should be below 115 over 75), LDL cholesterol (under 100), resting heart rate (under 70), and fasting blood sugar (under 100). If your numbers aren’t ideal, change your diet until they improve.
Get your brain fizzing with energy. American researchers coined the term ‘neurobics’ for tasks which activate the brain’s own biochemical pathways and to bring new pathways online that can help to strengthen or preserve brain circuits. Brush your teeth with your ‘other’ hand, take a new route to work or choose your clothes based on sense of touch rather than sight. People with mental agility tend to have lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related mental decline.
Experts say weight training should be done first, because it’s a higher intensity exercise compared to cardio. Your body is better able to handle weight training early in the workout because you’re fresh and you have the energy you need to work it. Conversely, cardiovascular exercise should be the last thing you do at the gym, because it helps your body recover by increasing blood flow to the muscles, and flushing out lactic acid, which builds up in the muscles while you’re weight training. It’s the lactic acid that makes your muscles feel stiff and sore.
In a study that followed 202 women and men for more than 18 years, researchers found that those who practiced meditation had a 23 percent lower risk of dying from any cause during the study and a 30 percent lower risk of death from heart disease. Cutting stress can help your body to heal faster, your mind function better and your digestion work better. You’ll sleep better, too. Spending time with friends, enjoying nature and listening to music promote the deep relaxation we all need.
By shopping with a list, you can avoid spending money on impulse purchases. If you do pick up items that are not on the list, place them in the front section of your shopping cart. Before going to the checkout, choose one item from the front section to keep and place the others back on the shelf. Writing out a list also lends itself to proper meal planning, which can save you the expense of eating out. Save eating out at restaurants for special occasions instead.