Improve Your Health Now
As we continue into September, I am still plagued by that “back to school” feeling and taking stock of my life and setting goals. Last week’s blog Time to Get Serious talked about goal setting and using the SMART formula to attain your goals. this week, let’s talk about changes you can make immediately to improve your health forever.
Be More Active and Exercise
If you aren’t active now, it is time to start. Time stops for no one. Exercise offers many health benefits. A simple brisk walk for 30 minutes per day can dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and several forms of cancer. Regular exercise also improves brain function and allows people to be active and independent in their later years.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Easier said than done. Losing weight and keeping it off is difficult. Yet studies show that losing just 5-10% of your bodyweight will improve your health. If you need to lose, follow a healthy diet and exercise plan. Add soluble fiber and greens daily to your diet. Eat a plant focused diet and eliminate added sugar. Consume healthy fats. Of course, as mentioned above, be more active and exercises. Strength training is key as we all lose muscle mass and strength as we age. Consult with a trainer and a nutritionist if you have to.
3. Don’t Smoke: Quitting Saves Lives
A no-brainer. It has long been shown that 80-90% of lung cancers are directly caused by smoking and lung cancer remains one of the leading causes of death by cancer. If you smoke, I implore you to stop. It is one of the best things that you can do for your health. In fact, in hindsight, I should have made this number 1. Speak to your doctor about ways to stop
4. Find Joy From Family and Friends
Enjoying life and maintaining a circle of supportive friends is a big part of good health. Research has shown that people with an extensive social network are less likely to have calcification in their arteries and thereby decreasing their risk for heart attack.
5. Get More Sleep
More and more research has been showing that getting at least seven, but preferably eight hours of sleep will ensure that our hormones are healthy, which equates to lower stress and a healthier weight that are key markers of good health.