Health Habits: I'll Drink To That
Get The NEWSS, And Stay Hydrated ( But Not Inebriated)
You need to get The NEWSS - that's what I call the five key daily health habits that everyone should adopt (though to different degrees, since everyone's different). NEWSS stands for Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sleep, and Supplements... and whether your leadership mission is in the service of an organization, or you own your own business, you need to make sure your vitality and energy are kept strong. Your business depends on you! And The NEWSS is a good place to start.
Nutritionally, find the plan that works best for you - but have a plan. I've tried several things over the years, from "balanced" calorie-counting to vegetarian, and I've found the nutritional approach that works best for me is a low-carbohydrate approach. Mostly, though, everyone would benefit from adding more fresh, real food to their diet and cutting out the processed "convenience" foods (the consumption of some of which amounts to dumping garbage into your body).
A disciplined exercise approach is also essential for nearly everyone. For some people, based on their age and medical condition, simply walking on a regular basis is a fine exercise regimen. And some recent studies suggest you can overdo it - most people shouldn't exercise more than an hour a day, and won't benefit from more (and could damage the heart). But you should assume you need regular exercise of some kind. I like Bill Phillips' "Body For Life" approach. It's a disciplined exercise program that varies what you put your body through, from aerobic/cardio work one day to strength training (weight lifting) the next. If you're just starting out, do this: work out three times a week - every other day - and do whatever exercise gets your heart rate up to your personal target rate, and keeps it there for 20 minutes (your target rate is 80% of the difference between your age and 220).
You also need to get your eight hours of sleep every night, to give your body a chance to reload (this means you, Busy Entrepreneur); and you should take at least one good multi-nutrient supplement every day (my favorite is a liquid nutraceutical that's formulated to make it easy for your body's cells to use).
That leaves water... and your other fluids.
The journal "Cancer Prevention Research" recently reported on the benefits of drinking plenty of fluids (I try never to drink less than two liters of water in a day). Staying hydrated, according to the report, may help protect men against bladder cancer since the fluids might flush out potential carcinogens before they have a chance to attack and damage tissue. Men who drank at least approximately two-and-a-half liters a day showed about a 24% reduction in their risk for bladder cancer.
Water is the key - but should you be drinking other stuff? The big ones, of course, are caffeine and alcohol. I think people vary in their tolerance to both of these - one good rule of thumb is to have an extra half-liter of water for every alcoholic beverage or cup of coffee you drink... it helps you keep from overloading on things that might not be great for you.
Harvard Medical School also released some recent research, including a report on drinking red wine. There seems to be little doubt that the resveratrol in red wine is good for you, and that's why people think red wine is "healthy." Harvard notes that many studies have shown red wine to be of benefit to the immune and cardiovascular systems. But you have to drink a LOT of wine to get the maximum benefit from the resveratrol, and that would cause you alcohol problems (instead, look at supplementing with a high-quality non-alcoholic resveratrol extract). The Harvard study showed some concern that women who drink even moderately (as few as three drinks a week) show an increase in their risk for breast cancer. Bummer! But the report also stated that women who abstain from all alcohol might find that the potential benefit of lower breast cancer risk is more than offset by the increased risk of cardiovascular disease. What's a girl to do? I think if your family has a history of heart trouble, drink some red wine. If you have more of a history of breast cancer risk, don't. And in both cases, add a good resveratrol supplement to boost your body's protection from all sorts of maladies.
People, especially business leaders, are increasingly realizing that the specter of socialized medicine and shortages of doctors and drugs are threats to a person's vitality - and that, without your health, your mission is in serious jeopardy. They're getting in shape. They're getting The NEWSS.
I'll drink to that!