Certain numbers are well worth crunching. We’re not talking about your bank account — but rather five essential health stats: your blood pressure (less than 140/90), LDL cholesterol (less than 100), blood sugar (less than 100), waist-to-height ratio (less than .5), and nicotine use (none at all). Achieve what we call “the five normals” — healthy levels for all of these markers — and you’ll reduce your risk of chronic illness by a spectacular 80 percent. If that’s not a sound investment, what is?
There’s no “cooking the books” when it comes to your health. The power to optimize your health is in your hands — not to mention your feet, your plate, your pillow, and your social calendar. To that end:
- Eat a rainbow of whole plant foods and nutritious fats, don’t eat more than your body needs.
- Move your body — a lot! Walk, run, bike, dance, play tennis — or all of the above.
- Do something you love every day.
- Don’t smoke — even a little bit.
- Practice meditation.
- Sleeeeeeeep — six and a half to eight hours every night.
- Prioritize your friendships. Social support, fun, and laughter are excellent medicine!
: “To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” Buddha