Nowadays, we are more health-conscious than ever, but this comes with its pros and cons. On the one hand, we have all the information we need to make healthier choices. On the other, there is so much information that it’s practically impossible to know what advice to follow.
When it comes to health, it pays to keep things simple. These four habits are all straightforward enough to implement and can have incredible effects on your head-to-toe well-being.
Go for a Walk Every Day
An ideal healthy routine will involve 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. There’s no getting around the importance of exercise for a healthy life, but it is important to realize that it’s not just about the workouts you do at the gym.
Going for a walk every day, preferably one that is at least half an hour long, has an assortment of health benefits, ranging from boosting creativity to helping digestion, improving mood, and reducing the risk of chronic disease.
If you really struggle to keep up with an exercise plan, commit to at the very least doing a daily walk. You can take it as slow as you want (although if you speed up it can count toward your 150 minutes), and it can be a great way to ease yourself into a more active lifestyle. Bring along your dog or an accountability partner for extra motivation and a walking buddy.
Breathe Cleaner Air
The quality of the air we breathe has a huge impact on our overall health and well-being. Breathing clean air can significantly reduce the risk of asthma, lung cancer, and a host of other diseases. This applies to the air we breathe in the streets as well as the air inside our homes.
It can often feel impossible to control the air we breathe outside, but there are a few things we can do to reduce the impact of city pollution on our bodies. For example, download an app that tells you about pollution levels in your city every day, and avoid being outside during peak pollution times. Keeping yourself and your home clean can also help. If a busy schedule keeps you from cleaning regularly, hire a cleaning service to come in on occasion.
At home, a HEPA air filter can make a huge difference. When changed regularly, a good-quality filter will remove pollutants such as smoke, dust, pollen, and mold from the air. Look for filters with a higher MERV rating — the higher the number, the more particles trapped. You can also purchase an air purifier to can also help remove pollutants from the air (many models are available for under $100)
Stay on Top of Your Healthcare
This may seem obvious, but one of the best things you can do for your health is to be smart about your health care. If you get insurance through your employer, find out everything there is to know about your coverage. If you don’t (or if you still want to look for an alternative plan), read plenty of guides to health insurance so you know exactly what you are buying.
Being insurance-savvy is especially important if you are a senior on Medicare. Do your research on the Medicare Advantage plans available in your area, and look at whether you could be getting better coverage. For example, several plans have coverage for dental and vision, as well as access to fitness classes.
Cut Down on Sugar
You know you need to improve your diet, but you’re not quite sure where to start. Instead of trying to embark on a full-blown nutritional overhaul, choose one single thing to cut down on. Sugar is probably your best choice starting out.
Refined sugar has been scientifically linked to weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, depression, cancer, and many more health problems. Most of us are eating far too much of it and could afford to cut down. Pay attention to how much sugar is in the food you’re purchasing at the grocery store. Once you start reading those labels you’ll be shocked just how much sugar is in the items you consider your go-to for meals and snacks. You can make things easier as far as sorting the good from the bad by using a meal delivery service to easily incorporate fresh produce with minimal sugar into your meals. Don’t worry — cutting down doesn’t mean you have to give up desserts. Small changes and swaps can make a big difference while still giving us plenty of sweet treats.
Of course, there are ways in which you can improve your health, but it’s always a good idea to look for the most achievable goals first. Anyone can remember to change their air filters, check online for better health insurance, or swap chocolate for a piece of fruit. These acts may not feel like much, but when combined, they form the building blocks for a happier and healthier life.
*This article courtesy of Jennifer McGregor with Public Health Library*
About the Author: Jennifer McGregor co-created Public Health Library to make it easier for people to find high quality health info. She is a pre-med student who enjoys writing about health and medical topics to help the readers find reputable health resources.