The Dangers of Skimping on Fundamentals

(Dr. Clayton Lawrence, founder and CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on community wellness and inspiring others.)

The fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle: regular exercise, plenty of water, healthy foods and ample sleep. While these don’t seem like difficult goals to attain, today’s busy lifestyles can interfere with the things that keep us healthy. Instead, we turn to caffeine, we pull all-nighters and we swing through the nearest fast food restaurant because, well, who has time to cook a healthy meal?

But the truth is, when any one of these critical needs is forgotten, more than likely the rest will suffer, as well. A great way to ensure you are making your health a priority is to start with a few simple changes each night. Spend an hour or two in wind-down mode so that the body naturally becomes ready for sleep and be sure to head to bed at the same time each night. Fill a 64-ounce reusable water bottle before heading to bed so that it’s ready to grab on the go the next morning. Start the morning with energizing and healthy foods, like fruits, eggs and granola and pack plenty of protein-rich snacks like nuts, yogurt and (if you’re a meat eater) jerky. Take the farthest space when parking at work to ensure physical activity and sneak in a walk after eating a healthy lunch.

Here are a few ways in which our bodies and minds suffer when we aren’t diligent in these areas:

Regular exercise

  • Lack of energy
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Brittle bones

Hydration

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Kidney stones

Nutritious foods

  • Lack of energy
  • Weakened immune system
  • Weight gain
  • Impaired ability to handle stress
  • High cholesterol

Sleep

  • Lack of productivity
  • Safety concerns
  • Weakened immune system
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Trouble concentrating and remembering things