Five ways to improve your health now
Simple steps you can take right now to live healthier
We’d bet that the majority of New Year’s resolutions this year included a vow to get healthier. But what does that mean, exactly? It’s a lofty goal to take on without a clear plan of how you’ll achieve better health. This could be why most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by Spring Break. But don’t worry, we have five simple steps that you can take towards better health today.
1. Get enough sleep
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If you are having trouble getting the recommended amount of sleep, try the following:
• Get in a routine: Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every morning, even on weekends
• Remove electronics: Get rid of all electronics in your bedroom that give off light, such as TVs, cell phones and computers. This light can affect your quality of sleep.
• Make your bed a place of sleep: Avoid watching TV, playing on your cell phone or even reading in bed. Train your brain to associate your bed with sleep, and not other activities that can stimulate your mind.
2. Exercise for 30 minutes each day
It can be daunting to get to the gym 3x a week, but if you focus on exercising for just 30 minutes each day, it is much more attainable. The CDC recommends two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. This could be going for a brisk walk or hike with your dog. It also recommends muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week that work your legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. If you participate in more vigorous activity, such as running, the recommended exercise is reduced to one hour and 15 minutes per week, but at least two days should still include muscle-strengthening activities.
3. Eat a balanced diet
A well-balanced diet includes fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that adults eat the following each day:
• Fruits: 1 1/2-2 cups
• Vegetables: 2-3 cups
• Grains: 3-4 ounce equivalents
• Proteins: 5-6 1/2 ounce equivalents
• Dairy: 3 cups
4. Quit smoking
Did you know that tobacco smoke has more than 7,000 chemicals in it? It increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, lung disease and respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Quitting smoking is hard, and it may require a few attempts, but the benefits outweigh the discomfort. People see the most success in quitting smoking by using a combination of counseling and medication. Medications include nicotine replacement products, such as over-the-counter patches, gum or lozenges, prescription nicotine patches, inhalers or nasal sprays, and prescription non-nicotine medications. Talk to you doctor to develop a smoking cessation program especially for you.
5. Visit your primary care physician
Scheduling regular visits to your primary care physician is the best way to improve your health. Your primary care physician offers preventive health screenings, immunizations, vaccinations and counseling to design a health plan tailored to your needs and specific conditions. Primary care is the starting point for all other care and is at the center of good health. If you don’t have a primary care physician, find one at Adirondack Health.
Lake Placid Health Center
Mountain Health Center (Keene)
Saranac Lake Health Center
Tupper Lake Health Center
To schedule an appointment at any of our health centers, call (518) 897-2778.