Being healthier doesn’t have to mean overhauling your entire lifestyle. Sometimes all it takes is a few simple changes. From eating more fruit and vegetables to taking daily walks, these quick-and-easy tweaks to your daily health regimen can make a huge difference in the way you feel. Here are a few tips to get you on a healthier track.
1. Say Hello to H2O – Drinking enough water every day is good for overall health. As plain drinking water has zero calories, it can also help with managing body weight and reducing caloric intake when substituted for drinks with calories, like regular soda. Drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, result in mood change, cause your body to overheat, constipation, and kidney stones.
2. Be Physically Active – Walking, jogging, playing team sports, and biking are just a few examples of how you can get moving. Start small and work up t 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week if you are not already physically active.
3. Find the Best Fitness Friend – A workout buddy is hugely helpful for keeping motivated, but it’s important to find someone who will inspire- not discourage. So make a list of all your exercise-loving friends, then see who fits this criteria: Can your friend meet to exercise on a regular basis? Is she/he supportive of your goals? And last, will your friend be able to keep up with you or even push your limits in workouts? If you’ve got someone that fits all three, make that phone call.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet – Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products are healthy choices. Include protein foods such as poultry, fish beans, eggs, nuts and lean meats. Choose foods that are low in saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars. For more information on how to eat a healthy diet visit http://choosemyplate.gov
5. Slather Up! – There’s no denying it: Getting fresh air from exercising outdoors is great! But along with hit, you also get harmful UV rays. To keep yourself shielded while still having fun in the sun, opt for a sweat-proof sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher (look out for types that say “water-resistant” or “waterproof” on the bottle, terms regulated by the FDA), a lip balm with SPF 15 or higher, a lightweight hat, and sports shades. And remember, the rays are at their brightest from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, so try to plan a before-work or post-work sweat-session.
6. Get Your Rest – Too little sleep can lead to weight gain by altering levels of the hormones that regulate safety and hunger, leading to overeating, overweight, and obesity. The amount of sleep needed by each individual varies but according optimal sleep is at least 7.5-8 hours per night.
If you would like to know more about nutrition, physical activity and healthy lifestyles, contact your local extension office.
Lori Wiggins, Taylor County UF/IFAS Extension Agent III