Heart, Hustle & Habit: Prioritizing Health in 2019

Did you know February is American Heart Month?

We’ve all made, broken, and re-made New Year’s resolutions, but we can’t think of a better time to start working toward improving and maintaining your health than right now.

Summit’s signature Connected Life Program is centered on highlighting the key aspects vital to living a healthy, happy, and balanced life. These include focusing on your physical health, emotional health, and brain health — the same pillars important to a healthy heart. Improving your health may seem like a hefty task, but even the smallest steps in the right direction are positive progress that are well worth taking. With that said, let’s get started.

What are some easy ways to prioritize your health?

Focus on Physical Health

The best way to improve your physical health is to stay active. Health perks from physical activity don’t have to come from strenuous or extreme workouts-after all, not everyone can be a long-distance runner. According to the CDC, even light to moderate exercise-such as walking or stair walking-can be extremely valuable workouts if done consistently. Summit offers residents a number of ways to improve their physical health through regular activity. Whether you enjoy yoga or Tai Chi, have an interest in water aerobics, or enjoy the socialness of group exercise classes — there’s always something fun and active to be part of.

Physical activity is vital, but there are other measures you can take to improve your physical health without always feeling the burn. Eating right is a big part of this: fish are a great, lean source for heart-healthy omega-3s, as well as a good source of protein; fruits and veggies contain a high number of valuable nutrients, and are a must for a healthy diet; adding a carb-heavy food to every meal you eat can be extremely helpful -this will provide much of the fiber that your body needs. Portioning meals is also important; you’ll want to try and base your meal size on your activity amount so that your body doesn’t have too few nutrients, or too many calories.

Improve Your Emotional Health

Improving emotional health is one of the key motivations for new residents calling Summit home. What does good emotional health look like? It looks like a day at a Summit community.

Community – Family, friends, the Summit book club-these are the sorts of things that are important in developing and maintaining good emotional health. Each has a common thread: a sense of community. Finding support, providing support, and being a part of something does wonders for emotional health; we’re all people after all, and there’s nothing more human than connecting with others. We hope that you’re taking advantage of all the different opportunities for connection at Summit.

Security – A feeling of security takes many forms. Here, it means knowing that you’re part of a larger community, the freedom to focus on what you love not household maintenance, and that someone is always around to help. Feeling secure in the most important parts of your life helps create stability in your emotional health, which in turn creates a positive outlook for your overall health!

Know When to Ask for Help – Even the best of us need help from time to time. It’s not always the easiest to ask for it when you really need it, but it’s important to remember that there are people looking out for you. Reaching out for support when you need it is one of the strongest, healthiest things to do. We hope you know there’s always someone here at Summit.

Build Mental Fortitude

The brain is a powerful tool; utilize it! The best way to keep your brain healthy and sharp is to expose it to different stimuli; find something that you enjoy doing, and do that thing as much as you can. A quick list of things that can stimulate your brain includes:

  • Drawing or painting on your own or in the Creative Arts Center
  • Reading in the Summit library
  • Participating in Bingo, Mahjong and Scrabble nights
  • Attending classes or workshops through Summit University
  • Working in your garden or meditating on your balcony.
  • Doing crosswords, math problems, and puzzles

Again, this is just a short list; it’s is in no way a limitation on other possibilities that can help to improve brain health. Frankly, what’s most important is that you are keeping your brain active! Practice makes perfect, and when it comes to keeping a sharp mind, there’s always more practice to be had.

The truth is, while improving any part of your lifestyle is always a valuable and worthy task, these three pillars work best when they can work together. Improving your physical health will always be easier and more effective if you are also working on your emotional health, and vice versa. The three build on one another, and the more you can do to improve each, the more each will improve.

Remember — before you make a big lifestyle change, always consult your physician. Everyone is different, and not all of these pointers are going to be the perfect fit for everyone. Remember to take things at a pace that you are comfortable with; there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to your personal health. Also keep in mind that no matter the challenges or difficulties that you may face, there are always people who are here to help — especially at Summit!