Monday, April 19, 2010

Maintenance for Mom

I'm probably cursing myself for saying this but, except for the occasional self-inflicted Saturday morning headache and a sore throat that results from yelling at my kids, I rarely get sick. I can't remember the last time I've had the flu (stomach or influenza), strep throat, a sinus-jamming cold or a respiratory infection. I'm not sure why, because it's not like I'm a psycho health freak that eats vegan, sleeps on organic sheets, always remembers sunscreen and is manic about hand washing. Doug and the kids occasionally get sick (except for Charlie -- he never gets sick either), and even though I have no choice but to interact with them when they're feeling feverish, I somehow manage to avoid their diseases.

Recently, since Zoe was nice enough to point out the fact that I was old (or in her words, "Wow, you're a whole lot of years"), I figured that maybe I should stop taking my good health for granted and pay more attention to the choices that I make each day. So, I read an article that included some diet and lifestyle tips for keeping my blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and BMI in healthy ranges and after I read the tips, I realized that I lead a healthier lifestyle than I thought.

Get 150 to 240 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. In addition to occasionally standing on the elliptical trainer, I meet this requirement by spending 75 minutes sprinting through grocery stores, 30 minutes dashing in and out of the aisles of Target and chasing after Zoe on her bike for 20 minutes each day.

Do strength training two or three times a week. Accomplished by hauling bags of groceries, cases of Gatorade and water, gallons of milk, and the occasional schlepping of a tennis bag. Also, 12-oz. curls are usually performed daily.

Consume five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. In addition to eating a ginormous salad for lunch every day, I make sure to include plenty of lemon and lime wedges, salsa, lime juice, onion rings, green olives, pickles and bloody mary mix.

Eat a serving of fatty fish twice a week. I'm assuming this means fish 'n chips since it's pretty fatty, and even though I don't eat it twice a week (or even twice in a month), I make up for the shortfall by eating absurd amounts of it when it's available, sort of like a stock-up sale. As an added bonus, the lemon wedge and the pickles in the tartar sauce = fruits and vegetables!

Get 75 mg of vitamin c (6-oz. of orange juice) daily. Even though I'm not a big fan of brunch, I am a big fan of screwdrivers.

Get 1,200 mg of calcium and at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day. I won't lie here: I suck at the calcium thing, since that's what happens when a girl can't digest dairy. Besides yogurt and a daily vitamin, I don't get much calc...hey wait. There's calcium in the orange juice that I buy, which ends up in the screwdrivers that I make. Hell yeah! I won't snap in two after all! And since I can get my vitamin D from being in the sun, I'm probably at risk of an overdose.

Limit alcohol intake to one drink per day maximum. I assume they define "one drink" as one six-pack of beer, or one 64-oz. tumbler filled with a vodka tonic, or one round of 2-for-1's. If so then yes, absolutely, I only have one drink per day.

Don't smoke. I don't smoke. I used to smoke a little, I like the smell of cigars and I will intentionally sit really, really close to anyone smoking a pipe and inhale deeply, but I don't smoke.

Get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Okay, seriously. Who in the hell does this? Are they talking about actual consecutive hours spent sleeping? What about the peeing, the coughing, the cramps in the arch of your foot, the unexplained sweating, the middle of the night thunderstorms, the barfing dogs and the noisy neighbors? I think that if I can remain in one room in a horizontal position in something that resembles a sleep-like state, for seven to eight hours in a row, I'm doing pretty good.

I've also read a little bit about the benefits of interval training and combining several different movements into one exercise. So when you see me running behind Zoe's bike while clutching a 64-oz screwdriver in one hand and a hunk of fried fish in the other, don't be alarmed. I'm just trying to improve my health.