Health can be measured in many ways. Whether you’re looking at pounds on the scale, blood pressure fluctuations, or mood and emotional health, so much of health depends on physical health. However, it is much more than weight; it is physical activity and attention to the needs of your body. Here are 5 things you can implement in the next 5 days to improve your physical health.
- Drink more water and fewer sugary drinks! Your body is mainly water, so staying hydrated, especially in the bitter wind and cold of winter, is really rather important. And it isn’t dehydration that you should just consider. Hydrated cells in your body function more efficiently, so keep them watered. (And we all know we don’t need the added sugar found in soda, juice, or hot chocolate. Keep in mind: all things in moderation; including moderation.)
- Exercise regularly. Okay, so I lie on this one. I tell people I run because of brownies, cookies, cake, and to improve the life expectancy of my children. That’s only part of it. I have witnessed how debilitating arthritis can be. (It’s the leading cause of disability in this country!) I know what it feels like to realize that at the ripe old age of 30 all my shampoo, lotion, and body wash had magically been selected with pump dispensers instead of flip caps because flip caps have long-eluded my ability to open them in the morning. I run because I fear what slowing down will do to me. And you don’t have to run. You can walk, bike, do calisthenics, yoga, or sing Father Abraham while doing all the motions. What you do to get moving isn’t nearly as important as the fact that you move!
- Eat more fruit and vegetables. Although some people suggest substituting fruits and vegetables for your snacks, I prefer to add vegetables to meals. I’m not even subtle about it. Well, there was that one time I added roasted butternut squash to the red sauce for our spaghetti, but I’m not usually that creative. (It was good, and I recommend trying it.) Instead of protein, potato, and a vegetable, I’m good at protein, vegetable, and salad for dinner instead. And the easiest place to add a piece of fruit or vegetable: breakfast. I think that has to be the least veg/fruit meal in most households. I sauté squash to go in scrambled eggs or cut apples to put in our oatmeal.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Just like hydrated cells perform better, sleep helps cells repair themselves. And if you’re having trouble sleeping, you can try warm milk, journaling, mint tea…or just see your doctor. Melatonin for 3 days might work wonders for me, but talk to your doctor about your options. It might be that stress or a medication might be causing your restlessness. It is best to get that checked out.
- Wash your hands. Yes, it was good advise before the pandemic. Good personal hygiene is always a good decision. You don’t have to obsess about it, but washing your hands before you eat and after you use the restroom will help eliminate most germs.
That’s it! Try these things over the next 5 days, and see what happens. There’s no magic pill here; just small steps to improve your health.