Small changes can make a big difference, especially when it comes to your health and well-being. Rather than enduring another fad diet or making a long-term commitment to a gym membership, here are four small things you can start doing today. Each one will contribute to a healthier you in the years to come.
Eat breakfastForget the coffee and donuts. Instead, start your day with protein, fruits and whole grains. Research has shown that people who eat a bowl of healthy cereal or an egg report that they feel mentally and physically better than those who skip breakfast. Breakfast skippers may also be depriving themselves of necessary nutrition. According to Diabetes.org, not having breakfast can lead to deficiencies in minerals such as calcium and important vitamins found in fruits and vegetables. Remember that after fasting all night, a healthy breakfast provides the fuel your body needs to start the day right.
Take a walkWalking is just about the best health bargain you can find - fun, easy and absolutely free. Not only that, but just 30 minutes of walking every day can help prevent hypertension and other chronic diseases. And, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston report in the journal PLoS Medicine report that just 75 minutes of brisk walking per week can mean a gain of 1.8 years of life after age 40, compared to people who don't exercise.
Have FunTo stay in top form, you need to play as hard as you work. Having fun and reducing stress go hand in hand. The American Institute of Stress reports that research over the past two decades shows 43 percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects due to stress. The health problems range from exhaustion and difficulty concentrating to irritability and headaches. Unfortunately, the news gets worse. Medical studies increasingly point to direct connections between chronic stress and serious illnesses such as heart disease and arthritis. To ease your stress, take some time for yourself. Take an afternoon off to treat yourself to a visit to the park or gardens. Shoot a few hoops. Read the latest best seller or take in a matinee movie
Get your sleep.A lack of sleep can cause more problems than just making you cranky. A growing body of research indicates that sleep is essential for mental and physical performance, as well as emotional and physiological health. The National Sleep Foundation reports that lack of sleep can affect major health problems, including Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular troubles and obesity. "Sleep is more important than we thought," says Robert Ballard, M.D. "If you deprive yourself of sleep, you put yourself at risk for chronic illness, reduced immune function, cardiovascular disease, impaired mental function and accidents." To get a good night's sleep, try these tips from the Better Sleep Council:
- Make sleep a priority. Put away your To Do list and save those last minute chores for tomorrow.
- Develop a sleep ritual. Following the same routine each night just before going to bed signals your body it's time to settle down for the night.
- Keep regular hours. Keep your biological clock on time by going to bed around the same time every night and waking around the same time each morning - even on weekends.
- Create a sleep space. Sleep in a cool, dark room that's free from disturbing noises.
- Cut down on caffeine. Consuming caffeine and other stimulants in the evening can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Drinking alcohol shortly before bedtime can interrupt and fragment your sleep.