Keeping yourself healthy isn't just about fitting into your favorite pair of jeans again. Taking care of your body and mind is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. There is a lot of pressure in society to look good, but there is so much more to being healthy than physical appearance. Taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle doesn't mean you have to deny your every desire but there are a few things you can do to make a big difference.
1. Get Plenty of Sleep
As an adult you should be getting anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Sleep is absolutely critical to good mental health. Not to mention when you're well rested you are more likely to successfully complete your day to day tasks, including physical activity. Over one third of Americans don't get enough sleep. Insomnia is strongly correlated with depression and a lack of sleep may put you at higher risk for depression. Get a head start on your health and get enough sleep.
2. Eat More Fresh Produce
Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet will not only help you reach a healthy weight but may prevent disease as well. Research suggests that diets including more fruits and vegetable are associated with better health, reduced risk for heart disease and other conditions, and may even protect against certain types of cancer. The USDA dietary guidelines suggest at least 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit each day.
3. Start Moving
Physical activity is an important aspect of your health. Exercise promotes heart health, increases circulation, improves your mood, and makes you feel more energized. Staying active can also help improve your sleep patterns. A sedentary lifestyle actually puts you at more risk for depression and even early death. The Center for Disease Control reports that if you engage in physical activity for seven hours a week you have a 40% less chance of dying early than those who exercise for less than 30 minutes a week.
4. Stay in Touch With a Doctor
Many people avoid going to the doctor like the plague, but being aware of your health is absolutely necessary. How can you improve your health without first understanding where you stand? It is especially important to check your blood pressure and blood sugar. If you're over 40 you should have your blood pressure checked every year. Your blood sugar levels can be an indication of diabetes. Many people have diabetes and aren't even aware. Look into using an online platform that can help you easily connect with doctors, stay up to date with new health information, and even compare prices of different procedures and facilities.
5. Get Outside
It is true that the suns rays are harmful. However there are also many health benefits of exposure to sunlight and the outdoors. The body uses sunlight to synthesize vitamin D a vital nutrient that can help prevent disease. However, many foods are now fortified with vitamin D due to the high rates of vitamin D deficiency. Furthermore, studies have shown that outdoor exposure promotes mental health. A review of a large amount of research on sun exposure also found that performing physical activity outside causes a more positive association with exercise in general. A positive outlook on exercise will help to keep you active. Wearing appropriate clothing, hats, and using sunscreen can help you reap the benefits of the outdoors while protecting yourself from harmful sun exposure.
Small steps can lead to huge benefits when it comes to your health. A well rounded approach will promote physical and mental health, help prevent disease, and make you feel more energized. You don't have to be perfect, but every healthy choice you make can improve your quality of life and make you a better you.