Fast Hacks To Boost Your Health
Taking control of your health doesn’t need to be difficult or time consuming. There are several easy, healthy habits you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you lose weight, get in shape, prevent serious illness and de-stress. Here we present several quick health tips to get you started.
Our ancestors didn’t need to worry about their level of physical activity because their daily routines involved walking, lifting and stretching. Today, most of us work in offices where we sit for eight or more hours per day. We exercise our minds, but we neglect our bodies.
Adults should get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. Examples of moderate intensity activities include biking, brisk walking or water aerobics. As a general rule of thumb, an activity qualifies as moderate intensity if you can comfortably speak while excising. If you need to catch your breath after just a few words, it’s considered vigorous exercise.
In addition to the recommended amount of physical activity, you should also aim to do strengthening activities such as push-ups or basic weight lifting exercises at least two days per week. If you’re on a budget and don’t want to invest in hand weights, you can use filled water bottles to make your own weights. As you get stronger, you can switch to milk jugs and other larger containers.
To track your progress, consider investing in a Fitbit, Nike FuelBand or a basic pedometer. The constant feedback provided by activity trackers is often helpful as a motivational tool. If you can see that you’re behind your daily step goal by 5:00 p.m., this may be the nudge you need to head out for a brisk walk after dinner.
Rethink Your Cleaning Routine
Keep germs at bay by tweaking your housecleaning routine. The flu virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours, so it’s smart to get in the habit of wiping down surfaces in your home every day with a disinfectant spray or disposable disinfectant wipes. Don’t forget the doorknobs, as these surfaces are often one of the germiest spots in your home.
If you suffer from allergies or asthma, you should also consider paring down the excess clutter in your home. Stuffed animals, throw pillows, large collections of decorative objects, stacks of books or magazines and blankets that are not washed regularly can serve as breeding grounds for dust mites. These nasty little creatures can cause watery eyes, skin rashes, itching, coughing and a sore throat.
Reduce Your Stress
Stress can have toxic effects on the body. Muscle tension, difficulty breathing, digestive troubles, diarrhea, constipation, chest pains and a lack of sexual desire can all be linked to stress. All of these symptoms negatively impact your qualify of life, including your ability to perform at work and enjoy spending time with family or friends.
Some situations that cause stress are beyond your control, such as dealing with an unexpected job loss or a loved one’s sudden illness. Others, however, can be eliminated with minor tweaks to your daily routine. For example, finding an alternative route to work might reduce stress caused by traffic congestion during your daily commute. If waiting for your children to get dressed in the morning makes you stressed, having them pick out their outfits and pack their backpacks before bedtime might make you feel more relaxed.
Penciling in “me” time is also an excellent way to reduce your stress. Making time for activities you enjoy isn’t selfish. You’re not going to be able to take care of your responsibilities unless you manage your stress levels. Schedule a few hours a week for hobbies such as drawing, knitting, woodworking, playing golf or gardening. Meditating, listening to soothing music and writing in a journal are also excellent ways to lower your stress level.
Eat the Rainbow
For optimal health, it’s recommended that you eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. However, it’s important to vary your choices. One easy way to make dietary changes to improve your health is to challenge yourself to eat something from every color of the rainbow.
The Whole Kids Foundation affirms that different colors of fruits and vegetables offer different nutritional benefits. For example, red produce such as apples, strawberries, cherries, tomatoes and red peppers support heart health and memory due to their high levels of vitamin C, folate, lycopene and flavonoids.
Green produce such as asparagus, broccoli, green beans, cucumbers, grapes and honeydew tends to be high in chlorophyll, vitamin K, carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy bones, teeth and eyes.
If you’re reluctant to eat a variety of produce because you’re concerned about the potential for food waste, try making more frequent shopping trips or look for a farmer’s market near your home that offers easy access to fresh produce as you need it. Frozen fruits and vegetables are another option to consider since they are more convenient to store until you need them.
Give Yourself a Break
Living a healthier lifestyle takes time, and it’s perfectly normal to make a few mistakes along the way. Indulging in a slice of chocolate cake instead of snacking on a handful of almonds doesn’t make you a terrible person. Neither does skipping your workout to binge-watch your favorite show on Netflix. You’re only human.
At heart.org they remind us that when you make a mistake, look at it as a learning experience. Think about ways you might be able to do things differently to prevent it from happening again. For example, maybe you were tempted by the chocolate cake because you didn’t get enough protein at lunch and felt quite a bit hungrier than normal. Perhaps you skipped your workout because you forgot to bring a change of clothes with you in the morning and you lost your motivation to hit the gym once you went back home to grab them.
Develop a Plan of Attack for Eating Out
For most people, making healthy choices at home is easier than making healthy choices when they go out to eat. But that doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to becoming a hermit. Restaurant meals can be part of a healthy diet if you pay close attention to the menu.
When you’re at your favorite restaurant, check to see if there is a light, low-fat or healthy section of the menu. If not, simply stay away from anything labeled creamy, stuffed, breaded or sauced. These words generally indicate that a dish is high in fat and calories. Fish or chicken is preferable to beef or pork, as long as it’s not fried, breaded or covered in a creamy sauce. Depending on the restaurant, you may also be able to customize your meal to make it healthier. For example, many restaurants will allow you to substitute healthy vegetables for fried side dishes free of charge if you ask politely. It’s also common for restaurants to allow you to substitute grilled chicken for fried chicken.
If you’re in the mood to indulge, be mindful of portion sizes. Consider getting soup or a salad first and splitting your entree with a friend. The healthy starter will fill you up so you’ll be satisfied with less when your entree arrives. Splitting your entree will automatically make it a more reasonable portion size, too.