Small changes can add up to a big difference when it comes to your health goals. When it comes to those well-intentioned moments, you should be making small changes instead of those large sweeping lifestyle changes. Restore Health Urgent Care knows it is hard to keep up with those exorbitant declarations of healthy habits.
Quit smoking. Lose 20 pounds. Join a gym and start exercising every day, are all wonderful goals, but they are large goals to accomplish. There are also many smaller steps you can take that will help improve your overall health and quality of life. They are things you can easily incorporate into your routine, the steps will be easy to maintain for the long haul.
Even if you have only a few moments to spare, you can use that time to improve your well-being. Try to incorporate the following activities and strategies into your day. When these simple steps become habits, they can add up to a big positive effect on your overall health
1. Relax and De-stress
It is not a new recommendation, but experts say regular exercise, meditation, and breathing techniques will help reduce stress. However, even something as simple as listening to soothing music, reading a good book, soaking in a hot tub or playing with your pet can help you relax, as long as you find it enjoyable.
That’s advice you should take to heart, literally. Prolonged stress can cause or exacerbate many health problems, including but not limited to: heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, mental health disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, and obesity.
In today’s busy world, finding a spare 10 minutes can be hard. However, don’t let that stress you out. Just like with exercise, even brief periods of relaxation are beneficial.
Spending even 10 minutes at a time doing something you enjoy can go a long way toward beating the stressors of everyday life. Try reading one chapter of a book or taking your dog for a few laps around the block will help you feel calmer, refreshed and energized.
Even if you can’t take a full break, try to breathe slowly and focused. When you slow down your breathing, it helps you relax. This relaxation response releases body chemicals that relieve stress and may improve immune function.
Deep breathing can also lower your resting heart rate. People with lower resting heart rates are typically in better physical condition than those with higher rates.
2. Put Down The Salt
It is too easy to consume excess salt when you have a salt shaker on the dining table. Excess salt can lead to high blood pressure. So put the shaker in a cabinet or pantry and bring it out only when you’re cooking.
It’s also a good idea to taste your food before you salt it, because you may find it doesn’t need it.
Another simple switch is to try spicing up your food with lemon or lime juice, garlic, herbs or a salt-free seasoning blend. Make sure to stock your fridge and pantry with fresh and dried herbs so you’ll always have them on hand to flavor your food.
3. Go To Bed.
Unfortunately, most people don’t get the seven or more hours of sleep that we, adults, need.
Over time, the shortage of shut-eye can raise your risk of a heart attack or stroke — regardless of your age, weight or exercise habits.
If you’re consistently sleep-deprived, trying going to bed 15 minutes earlier every night. This could help with increasing your sleep and overall health. Set a regular sleep and wake schedule, and stick to it — even on days off.
4. Red Wine.
Studies have shown that the powerful antioxidants found in red wine protect against heart disease, colon cancer, anxiety, and depression. So unless there is a medical reason why you shouldn’t imbibe, go ahead and enjoy that glass of merlot with your nightly meal — you can even toast to your good health.
But drink in moderation. Just as a small amount of red wine has health benefits, too much alcohol — even red wine — can cause a variety of health problems, including liver and kidney disease and cancer.
Women, in particular, need to be careful about alcohol consumption. They are at a higher overall risk of liver problems than men, so they are more likely to experience liver problems from smaller amounts of alcohol.
For a healthy man, two drinks a day is not likely to do harm; women, on the other hand, should limit themselves to one daily drink.
5. Check Your Posture.
Next time you’re at your desk or on the phone, pause and think about your posture. Then straighten up your back, tuck in your stomach and put your feet flat on the floor with your legs uncrossed. If you are a desk, try a footstool if needed. You will feel relaxed right away.
The few moments this takes can help you avoid back pain, which is one of the most common health problems in the United States and a leading cause of disability.
When you work at a computer, take a moment to look at the ergonomics of your workstation. Observe how you fit and move into your environment. How does it help prevent back and neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, and other occupational injuries.
Try a few simple adjustments, such as repositioning your computer monitor, switching to a chair that provides lower back support. Take regular breaks throughout the day to do stretching exercises, can go a long way toward creating a healthier and more comfortable workspace.
The next time you’re going to a higher floor, avoid the elevator and climb the stairs instead. You’ll get your blood pumping, exercise your lungs and work the muscles in your lower body and be doing something healthy.
6. Weigh in.
Maintaining a healthy weight can have a compounded positive effect on your health. Having a healthy weight can lower your risk for heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.
However, for women, another reason to keep pounds from piling on: It will decrease the risk for future pelvic floor disorders.
Pelvic floor disorders are more common in women who have delivered babies vaginally. However, a recent study found that women who have never had a vaginal birth are also at an increased risk for urinary stress incontinence if they’re overweight or obese.
Therefore, if you are overweight or obese, consult with your doctor about proper weight loss, that is right for you.
7. Make Dietary Substitutions.
Swapping out the standard white bread, rice, pasta, and crackers for healthier fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain versions, like brown rice, can help with your overall health.
There are other swaps that you can do including leaner cuts of meat, using skinless chicken, replacing or eliminating sugary drinks with water and so much more. In addition, incorporating an extra serving of non-starchy vegetables into your daily diet.
Eat a healthy diet by munching on a carrot instead of a cookie when you are craving a snack. Serve more broccoli or spinach instead of mashed potatoes. Add green peas to your rice or peppers to your sandwich. Instead of peanut butter try other nut seeds butter. These small changes can add up to healthier lifestyle choices in other areas.
It’s no secret that vegetables — especially dark, leafy greens — are good for you. But there’s another benefit to packing more veggies into your daily diet: Vegetables are rich in fiber and also contain lots of water, so they’ll leave you full and satisfied without a lot of calories and healthy fat.
8. Stretch it out.
You should be regularly stretching your muscles. It helps you avoid injuries, stay limber and move freely as you age.
Take a few minutes to stretch out before and after you exercise regularly. On the days that you are not working out, you will need to make sure you are stretching. You can find a quiet space in the office where you won’t be disturbed.
Look for natural opportunities in your daily routine to stretch, such as getting out of your car or reaching for items on a high shelf at the store. Stretching right before bed can also help you relieve tension and help you get to sleep.
Adding balance exercises — like tai chi — can help dramatically reduce your risk of dangerous falls. Incorporating yoga can also help with not only stretching but also balance.
It is never too early or late to start healthy routines. Making small changes to your lifestyle can have large changes in your life. Simple changes to your routine – you’ll want to wash your hands frequently or wear sunscreen to prevent skin cancer – can make large upright swings in your health.
If you are thinking of starting an exercise routine, or other charges to your diet you should consult with a doctor.
The team at Restore Health Urgent Care in Palm Bay can perform an exam to make sure you can start your chosen exercise routine. They can also suggest other healthy ways to improve your lifestyle.