Bad eating, little movement, less sleep makes us sick

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 17, 2014

“Eat Move Sleep” is Tom Rath’s formula for well-being. The three activities are interconnected: Eating a healthy breakfast increases your activity during the day, which makes for a much better night’s sleep, which makes it even easier to eat well and move more tomorrow. Note that there are no commas in the book title.
Rath’s premise is that most of your risk in life lies in the choices you make, not in your family tree. So what are these small daily choices with big life-giving dividends? Keep inactivity from killing you.
Most of us have a 10-hour span of limited activity, which for most of us includes our “work.” It’s an epidemic of inactivity, mirrored in increases in diabetes and obesity rates. So follow the 20-minute rule: At the very least, every 20 minutes, stand up and move around your workspace.
The Rath advice for eating is “forget fad diets, forever.” Most diets target a single element at the expense of the whole equation. And calorie counting is insufficient. Rath also dismisses the notion that it’s OK to eat everything in moderation, which is just an excuse to eat whatever you want. Quality is more important than quantity.
What should be your overall approach to choosing foods? Select foods with less fat, fewer carbohydrates, with as little added sugar as possible. Make that your commitment instead of worrying about losing the extra pounds.
As for sleep, just remember you are a different person (not nice) when you operate on insufficient sleep. A study estimates that losing 90 minutes of sleep reduces daytime alertness by nearly one-third. There is a cascade effect: You achieve less at work, skip regular exercise and have poorer interactions with colleagues and family. An extra hour of sleep could be as important as one more hour of work. Need more sleep? Add more in 15-minute increments to your nightly schedule. Rath sums it up: The person you want to fly your airplane, teach your children, or lead your organization tomorrow is the one who sleeps soundly tonight.
Book Bites Club: South Regional (only), Aug. 26, 6:30 p.m., “The All-Girl Filling Station,” by Fannie Flagg. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-8229.
Darrell Connor and the Country Music Legends Band — headquarters, Aug. 28, 7 p.m., Stanback Auditorium. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. His concert is part of the Cheerwine Music Hour, co-sponsored by Friends of Rowan Public Library. Please enter the Stanback Auditorium at the entrance near the historic Henderson Law Office.
Displays for August: headquarters, anime by Robert Clyde Allen; South, lunch boxes by Sharon Ross; East, flowers by Helen Holland.
Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.