A Healthy Lifestyle

Rochester Healthy living magazine

We are all making efforts nowadays to live a healthier life. We avoid fast food, make an effort to visit the gym more often, and encourage our children to play outside rather than sit on the couch playing video games.

Perhaps not so surprisingly, a great example of a healthy lifestyle exists just to our south, around Keuka Lake. There you'll find the area's Amish community. And when it comes to healthy living, very few communities and cultures embody it as much as the Amish.

Your first thought may be that the differences between Amish and non-Amish people may outweigh the similarities, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. Amish societies reach across the United States, including New York state, and their 'whole living' lifestyle is an example that is relevant to everyone. Consider the Miller family, from Howard, Ohio, members of a large Amish community.

Food:

The Millers grow their own food in their gardens and farm, and create meals accordingly. Vegetables are fresh and organic. Whether you have a plot of land or an apartment, you too can grow herbs or veggies. No more frozen vegetables that you microwave in a plastic bag – grow your own!

Family & Community:

We all need someone to lean on, love, and spend time with. The next time you are thinking of sending an email or a text message to say hi, consider calling, or even better – visit in person. The Miller family even works together, three generationsworth teaching and learning skills and trades, and community events provide regular get-togethers. Get your family, friends, and communities together for events as regularly as possible.

Work:

Americans work longer hours than nearly any other country, many in jobs that aren't rewarding. But there are always other opportunities– something that you are drawn to, something you actually want to do. The Miller family owns OakBridge Timber Framing, a career that's part of their culture. Centuries ago, Amish communities embraced timber frame living as an example of their values: community, lasting quality, and a calming simplicity. It's that 'whole living' attitude that brings them joy in what they do, each and every day.

Exercise:

Sit in your car as you drive to work, sit at your computer at work, sit in your car as you drive home, sit on your couch at night. Repeat daily. Sound familiar?

There is a clear reason why obesity is an epidemic in America, and again, a clear reason why it's a non-issue in Amish societies. The Millers walk to their neighbors, walk to the garden to pick vegetables, and participate in labor-intensive work that burns the calories many of us pay a gym membership to do. While not all of us can do (or want) a manual labor job, the Millers craft their timbers and raise homes by hand, providing them ample exercise. For those in non-manual labor jobs, the littlest changes can help – when you walk to the printer, take the long way, there and back. Walk to your neighbor's house. Park at the farthest end of the parking lot – just keep yourself moving.

So take some tips from our Amish neighbors, and apply them to your life for a healthier "whole living" lifestyle. You'll thank yourself for it.

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