“Don’t sit so close to the television!”, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”, “Stop slouching!” all advice, sometimes accompanied by a cuff to the ear from dear Mom.
However, it turns out that many of mom’s tidbits of advice actually carry weight when it comes to maintaining good health. So let’s pay the moms out there credit where credit is due, here are ten wise health adages that have been passed on for generations…
1. Start Your Day with Breakfast
Mom yelled this to me every day before leaving for high school. Not that I listened to her then, but as an adult I’ve learned that breakfast is in fact the most important meal of the day. Nutritious morning fuel provides better focus and energy, revs up our metabolism, and delivers all of the essentials—i.e., calcium, protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber—we need to tackle the day ahead.
2. An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” A common warning from my mom when I was into a bag of chips or package of hot dogs, and it turns out mom was right. We are, indeed, what we eat—and that matters when it comes to so many things, including body weight, oral health, high cholesterol, cardiovascular health, energy levels, immune strength, and so much more.
3. Don’t Watch Television that Close
I know you liked watching Scooby Doo up close—so did I! However, the American Optometric Association backs mom up completely. Studies show that kids who sit too close to the television screen really do strain their eyes, experience headaches, and damage their long-distance vision (a condition called nearsightedness) over time.
4. Pamper Your Skin
When it comes to looking great on the outside as well as the inside, Mom often reminded us to moisturize regularly, stay out of the sun, apply sunscreen, and wash and tone before bedtime. Not only did this advice help me ward off nasty blemishes as an awkward teen, regular moisturizing and sun protection helped me maintain skin hydration, improve my skin tone, ward off wrinkles, and improve my skin’s elasticity into my mid-30s.
5. Never Read in the Dark
I always used to read under my covers when I was supposed to be asleep. However, I was toast if mom caught me in the act. Why? Because focusing on a book or watching television in darkness will eventually damage the eyes and cause intermittent blurred vision and premature nearsightedness.
6. Get 8-Hours of Sleep Each Night
It’s one thing to plan on plenty of rest and another thing to actually get it. However, mom is always there to remind us that plenty of shut-eye heals the body when we’re under the weather, and helps ward off germs and viruses when we’re low on sleep and at risk of catching a nasty cold or flu.
7. Stop Slouching
Sit up straight! Sound familiar coming from mom? Well it turns out that habitual bad posture strains the neck, shoulders, and back, eventually causing weak muscles and permanent damage. So constant badgering to go outside and play was in fact wise advice. Being active as children helps build strong postural strength and the support necessary to maintain proper alignment as we grow and mature into fully formed adults.
8. Don’t Forget Your Hat & Mitts
You didn’t dare venture a foot outside in the cold without your hat and mittens for fear of a whooping from mom. However, by telling us to bundle up she was doing us a favor. Even though temperature itself won’t make you ill, prolonged exposure to cold can weaken the immune system’s efforts to fight off cold and flu viruses and germs.
9. Turn Down that Load Music
I know; what a drag it is to turn down your favorite song! But listening to load music, especially with ear buds, can cause premature hearing loss later. To save your hearing, make sure to take frequent breaks from your ear phones or use noise-canceling headphones so you don’t have to turn up your tunes so loudly.
10. You Are Loved—Just the Way You Are!
It might be annoying or humorous to hear this from mom as a teen when we’re being bullied or peer pressured at school, but it turns out that many of us learn in adulthood that having confidence about our looks, style, hobbies, and inner selves is what makes us truly attractive, independent, strong, and unique as people.