May 12th is Canada Health Day. This makes this month a perfect time to focus on ways to improve your health. A lot of time, when people consider taking steps towards living a healthier lifestyle, they focus on large lifestyle changes. While such changes can often be beneficial, they are also quite intimidating for many people. It’s tough to come up with (and stick to) very large changes and very big goals. However, there are many smaller things that you can do to improve your health. These changes may seem less daunting, but that doesn’t make them any less effective. Here are five quick tips that can improve your health today:
- STAND MORE: Studies have shown that people who spend more time standing up and moving around throughout the day have lower blood sugar levels and healthier cholesterol levels. Conversely, those who spend more time sitting generally have a larger waist size and greater overall weight in addition to higher blood sugar and cholesterol. In order to improve your health, make a point to stand up more often. Find times throughout the day to get out of your seat, such as during breaks at work, during commercials on TV or when doing chores such as folding laundry or cleaning. Every little bit helps.
- REDUCE YOUR SALT INTAKE: The vast majority of people eat too much salt. Studies have shown that 85% of men and 60% of women (aged 19-70) in Canada eat more than the daily upper limit for sodium intake. Many young children also eat too much salt. There are a number of reasons why this is bad for your health. Eating too much sodium can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, stroke, heart disease and other issues. Most salt that we eat comes from processed foods. Therefore, it’s a good idea to avoid these foods when possible and to always read nutrition labels that appear on food packages. Many foods that you wouldn’t expect contain very high levels of sodium. Cutting these out can improve your health.
- DRINK MORE WATER: There are many health benefits to drinking more water. Water helps avoid dehydration, improves the look and feel of your skin, helps your muscles perform better, flushes out waste and bacteria and much more. However, many people do not get enough water each day. To help you drink more water, carry a water bottle with you and refill it frequently. Be sure to drink water with all meals as well. It’s also important to remember that many foods (such as raw fruits and vegetables) are dense in water, so you don’t need to only get it from drinking.
- EAT ONE MORE SERVING OF VEGETABLES: It might seem scary to overhaul your entire diet, but you can certainly add one more serving of vegetables each day. You can even hide them in foods you already love! Chop vegetables into your pasta sauce, blend them into a fruit smoothie (you won’t even taste them!), grill them on the barbecue and put them on your burger or add them to nearly any recipe. Your body will thank you.
- AVOID SCREENS BEFORE BED: Most of us spend a large percentage of our day staring at various screens. It’s part of modern life. However, avoiding screens before bed is definitely a good idea. Why? Many studies have shown that looking at screens in the hours before bed can have a negative affect on your sleep. The blue light given off by many gadgets can prevent your brain from releasing melatonin, which is a hormone that tells your body that it’s time to sleep. This lack of sleep is bad for your overall health. Not sleeping enough makes you more irritable, it makes it more difficult to concentrate and a lack of sleep can weaken your immune system. Not sleeping enough even make you more susceptible to various health problems, such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. So put down that phone or tablet at least an hour before you go to bed.
If you’d like to explore some additional ideas for, or need help with, improving your overall health, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Remember, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.