10 Things You Can Do Today to Be Healthier in 2017
Lehigh Valley, PA — ( January 9, 2017 )
10 Things You Can Do Today to Be Healthier in 2017
Resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep. By the time February rolls around, more than half of the people who make them will quit. In many cases, failure is due to resolutions that are too broad in scope — for example, “I resolve to lose weight.” Without specifics or a definitive plan, these kinds of resolutions are difficult to maintain.
Losing weight and getting healthy are both in the top five most popular resolutions. We compiled a list of 10 specific ways you can get healthy starting TODAY:
1. Get More Sleep
There are many reasons people don’t get to bed at a reasonable hour. It could be work, kids, anxiety or something as simple as looking at your mobile device or tablet while in bed. The important thing to note is that a good night’s sleep is essential for good health.
WebMD reports that getting more sleep can lead to: better health; better sex life; less pain; lower risk of injury; better mood; better weight control; clearer thinking; better memory; and stronger immunity. According to a Norwegian study, people who reported that they did not wake up feeling refreshed in the morning had a 27 percent higher risk of a heart attack, those who had trouble staying asleep almost every night in the last month had a 30 percent higher risk, and those who had trouble falling asleep almost every night in the last month had odds that jumped to 45 percent.
If insomnia is to blame for lack of sleep there are ways to manage the condition. A good overview that includes information about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments can be found at WebMD.
2. Manage your sweet tooth
Cutting down on sugar can go a long way toward a healthier body and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. The Institute of Medicine reports that children and adults should consume at least 130 grams of carbohydrates (sugars) a day (these are supposed to be natural sugars such as lactose found in milk and fructose found in fruits.) A recent report suggests that added sugars should comprise no more than 25 percent of total calories consumed (added sugars are candy, soda and other sugary treats). Avoiding sugar is also one of the best ways to reduce acne, ward off aging, and improve your overall taste buds.
3. Quit Smoking
In as few as 20 minutes you’ll be able to feel the benefits of quitting smoking because your heart rate will begin to drop to a normal level. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports your carbon monoxide levels will drop to normal within 12 hours of quitting. Sometime between two weeks and three months your heart attack risk drops and lung function begins to improve. Coughing and shortness of breath should improve between one and nine months after quitting.
4. Add Soluble Fiber to Your Diet
Soluble fiber is a type of fiber that’s been shown to dramatically improve heart health, improve blood sugars and enhance digestive health. The soluble fiber in oats, apples, pears and barley has been shown to reduce cholesterol and help keep you full. It helps to: regulate digestion; get rid of cholesterol that clogs your arteries; and helps to eliminate toxins that weaken immunity. Other good sources include: oranges, bananas, artichokes, blackberries, beets, onions, carrots, asparagus, pumpkin, potatoes, squash, and chia seeds.
5. Ease into exercise
Regular exercise helps to ward off nearly every degenerative disease, including cognitive decline. To start you can simply walk for as few as five minutes every day and add five more each week. Within two months you’ll reach the recommended amount: 150 minutes a week, or 30 minutes a day five days a week. If walking is painful, try water exercises or cycling. Other suggestions include: Parking farther away from your destination; using the stairs instead of the elevator; planning social outings around exercise; hiding your television remote control and changing channels the old fashioned way; getting hand weights for biceps curls and overhead extensions while reading email or talking on the phone at work; or walking the dog.
6. Get a food journal
It doesn’t have to be fancy – just start by recording everything you eat, with portion sizes like “2 thick slices of bread” or “a small side salad”, rather than getting obsessive about grams and calories. The process of putting pen to paper and being conscious about what you’re eating can actually reduce your snacking urges – after all, who wants to write down that they just ate six handfuls of chips? It can also help you concentrate on healthy choices. If you launch a Google search for, Food Journal Template, you’ll see a plethora of options to download and use.
Break out your lunch box and start packing. Avoid the monotony of the cafeteria or neighborhood lunch spots and take control. By packing your lunch you can change your daily food options and control quantity. Pack a balanced meal that can help with weight control, cholesterol and sodium. It may feel like a time-intensive task, but it will help make healthier choices and save money. Try a veggie wrap, quinoa salad or hearty soup (which can be made in bulk and enjoyed all week).
8. Regularly wash your hands with soap and water and dry properly.
It may seem like a no brainer but this simple step gets rids of germs and drying off prevents the spread of bacteria.
9. Wear sunscreen.
You don't want skin cancer. Get in the habit of applying sunscreen every day you will be outside. According the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) the sun emits harmful UV rays year-round. Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin. Snow, sand, and water increase the need for sunscreen because they reflect the sun’s rays.
Always use broad-spectrum sunscreen because it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The AAD reports the following differences between the types of rays:
UVA rays (or aging rays) can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots, and can pass through window glass.
UVB rays (or burning rays) are the primary cause of sunburn and are blocked by window glass.
There is no safe way to tan. Every time you tan, you damage your skin. As this damage builds, you speed up the aging of your skin and increase your risk for all types of skin cancer, according to the AAD.
10. Avoid dehydration
The human body is made mostly of water so depriving yourself doesn’t bode well for your health. If you’re too busy, don’t feel thirsty or you’re opting for beverages that have high levels of caffeine, sodium and sugar, your body is not going to be well hydrated.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day.”
There are some factors that may require you to modify your intake of water. According to the Mayo Clinic, they are:
Exercise. If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. An extra 1.5 to 2.5 cups (400 to 600 milliliters) of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires more fluid intake. How much additional fluid you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise, and the duration and type of exercise.
Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Further, altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.
Illnesses or health conditions. When you have fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses additional fluids. In these cases, you should drink more water. In some cases, your doctor may recommend oral rehydration solutions, such as Gatorade.
Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are used especially when nursing. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups (2.3 liters) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume about 13 cups (3.1 liters) of fluids a day.