10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Health
Let’s face it, most of us want to improve our health. We spend a lot of time thinking we should be eating less fast food, spending less time on the couch watching Netflix, getting more exercise, and taking better care of our health but we don’t spend the time on actually doing it. With these 10 easy ways to improve your health, you’ll have a roadmap of actionable steps you can start taking today.
1. Drink More Water
Drinking water is essential for a healthy and hydrated body. It helps maintain normal functions of the body, such as circulation, digestion, and metabolism.
We should aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water each day to stay hydrated. Some people need more than that depending on their activity level or health conditions they may have. Drinking enough water can also reduce the risk of kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and high blood pressure.
It is best to drink water immediately upon waking, between mealtimes, and more during physical activity or when it’s hot outside.
2. Increase Lean Protein in Your Diet
Protein is an important macronutrient involved in nearly all bodily processes and functions, thus crucial for good health. It is an essential building block for tissues, organs, muscles, antibodies, enzymes, hormones, and more. Protein is beneficial for weight loss as it increases satiety, supports lean muscle growth, and burns fat. It also regulates blood sugar for increased energy, more restful sleep, and better mental health.
For significant fat loss, it’s recommended that adults eat between 0.8-1.1 grams per pound of body weight. If the BMI is over 30 or for those with a higher body fat percentage, it’s recommended to go off of your goal weight. For example, if your goal weight is 150lbs, aim for 120-165g of protein per day. The exact amount needed depends on activity level, digestion status, and more. If you are more sedentary, aim for the lower end range, and if more active, aim for the higher end.
As a society, the majority of us tend to eat a diet higher in carbs that lacks protein. Because the body burns through carbs quickly, this causes us to experience more frequent hunger, cravings, fatigue, poor mental health, irritability or mood swings, and an overall increase in body fat storage.
Ensuring you have lean protein with every meal, focusing on eating more lean proteins such as poultry and fish, and reducing fattier proteins such as red meats is a good place to start.
3. Eat More Vegetables
Vegetables are a big part of any diet, and they can have a huge impact on your health. Vegetables are low in calories, but high in fiber and nutrients. They are also full of antioxidants which help to fight off cancer cells.
Mix up the colors and varieties to keep it interesting. Choose organic produce when you can to minimize exposure to pesticides and chemicals. Explore new recipes such as roasting, grilling, and marinating. There’s so much more out there than the vegetables we maybe didn’t want to eat as kids, you’ll probably find a new favorite dish.
4. Avoid Added Sugar
The human body needs sugar for energy and to function properly, but it needs very little of it. If you eat too much sugar it will get stored as fat in your body and lead to weight gain.
Too much sugar in the diet can also lead to some serious health issues. The worst is diabetes, which is a serious disease that can cause blindness, kidney failure, and heart disease.
The World Health Organization recommends that people should only eat less than 5% of their daily calorie intake in the form of sugar.
It’s especially important to learn to read food labels so you can be aware of just how much sugar is being added to foods you consider to be a healthy choice. Avoid artificial sugars and sweeteners as these are toxic to the body and disrupt our health. If you’re craving something sweet, opt for natural sweets like fruit, raw honey, organic maple syrup, or organic stevia.
5. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It helps with weight loss, improves cardiovascular health, improves mobility, increases bone strength, and decreases the risk of developing chronic diseases. Exercise also provides positive benefits to sleep quality, mood, and energy levels.
The majority of adults can benefit from some form of resistance training as it builds muscle strength to carry out everyday activities with ease such as lifting a heavy box, carrying groceries, or doing yard work with ease while reducing the risk of injury.
It is important to find an exercise routine that fits your needs, that you will enjoy, and will help you stay committed to a healthy lifestyle. An exercise routine doesn’t have to be hours spent in a gym. Go for a walk, swim, or a bike ride, find your inner child and play with your kids, if you don’t have kids do that physical activity you loved doing when you were one, even do some jumping jacks or squats in front of the TV instead of sitting on the couch.
Any movement is better than a sedentary lifestyle.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is known to be the best way to keep our bodies running at their peak. It’s a time when our bodies can recover and refresh, repairing damaged cells and muscles. But besides just getting enough sleep, we also need to get quality sleep. The quality of your sleep can determine how well you are able to concentrate the following day, how much energy you have, and how well your body heals itself. The majority of adults should aim to get between 7-8 hours of sleep each night for optimal health.
7. Manage Your Stress
Stress is a major factor in the modern workplace and home life. The constant pressure to perform well can lead to mental health issues and physical ailments.
Some of the most effective ways to manage your stress levels are yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, practicing gratitude, and getting out in nature.
While stress is unavoidable, managing it on a regular basis helps to lessen the effects of dealing with unpleasant tasks or situations on your mind and body. The more frequently you can incorporate stress-reduction techniques into your lifestyle, the better equipped you will be to handle whatever life throws your way.
8. Reduce Screen Time
There is a growing body of research suggesting that the excessive use of screens can lead to some negative effects. These include problems falling and staying asleep which is typically due to blue light exposure from electronic devices, especially in the evening hours leading up to sleep.
Blue light exposure can mess with your circadian rhythm, also known as your internal clock, which regulates your sleep and wake cycle, causing you to feel tired upon waking or have difficulty falling asleep. This is why it’s best to limit your screen time in the evening hours and eliminate electronic devices 1-2 hours before bedtime or invest in blue light blocker glasses for better sleep.
When we’re looking at a screen chances are we are sitting, and even mindlessly snacking, which can lead to weight gain.
Reducing screen time means we have more time to be active and engage with the world around us which is better for our minds and bodies.
9. Take Time for Self-Care
Self-care is a process in which people take time to tend to their physical, mental, and emotional health. The concept of self-care is often associated with the idea that people should take care of themselves before they can take care of others.
It is important to remember that self-care is about taking care of yourself and not about neglecting others. It does not mean you are selfish or putting your needs first.
The benefits of engaging in self-care include: feeling more energized, having better concentration and decision-making skills, and feeling less stressed and more hopeful about the future.
Prioritizing your health is an important part of self-care.
10. Keep Your Mind Active
Maintaining a healthy mind is critical to your overall health.
There are many ways to keep your mind active. These include playing games, reading, and socializing with friends. They also include getting regular exercise, eating well, and taking care of your mental health.
A strong, healthy mind helps us to maintain a strong, healthy body.
There are many benefits of improving your health. It can help you live a longer and more fulfilling life. It can also help you look better, feel better, and have more energy. Improving your health is the single best investment you can make for yourself. If you don’t have your health then you will be unable to fully enjoy any of the other “riches” in your life.
Dr. William McKenna
Dr.William McKenna has been a Chiropractor for over 20 years in Westchester and Dutchess County, helping his patients to achieve greater health and live more active lifestyles. He is the founder of McKenna Family Chiropractic located in Pelham, NY, and Dutchess Braincore Therapy and Wellness Center located in Hopewell Junction, NY. He graduated from Life University in 1999 and has been advocating for better health, naturally, since. Dr. Will believes a smile is the first step in healing and building valued relationships with his patients. Book Appointment
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