The weather outside may be freezing, but you’re probably already starting to think about spring and all that comes with it—the fresh air, the green outdoors, and the spring cleaning. Something about airing everything out and getting your surroundings truly clean is very appealing, allowing you to take a breath and start fresh. But what about your health habits? Could they use some spring cleaning as well?
- Ditch the sedentary lifestyle. A lack of physical activity can be detrimental to your overall health, increasing your chances of gaining weight and facing problems like type 2 diabetes. Even worse for you is watching television, which can lead to the overconsumption of unhealthy snacks. For better health, limit your TV time to two hours or fewer each day, and make sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
- Don’t skimp on the produce. Spring is not just the time of year for cleaning, it’s the time when the earth yields a bountiful feast of fresh fruits and vegetables. Make the most of this bounty, and eat as many of these nutrient-packed foods as you can squeeze into your healthy diet.
- Stop skipping sleep. Sleep deprivation doesn’t just make you cranky and inefficient, it can also shorten your life span and increase your risk of problems like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night, and you’ll find yourself more productive and healthier.
- Don’t rely on fast food. Fast foods are convenient, but at what cost? The trans-fat in fast food can raise bad cholesterol and blood fats, causing hardening of the arteries and increasing inflammation in the body. This can lead to not just a bigger waistline, but also health issues like heart disease and diabetes. Taking the time to pack a lunch can lead to healthier choices, and save money, as well.
- Quit obsessing over your weight. While maintaining a healthy weight is important to your healthful lifestyle, spending too much time focused on the scale can cause unnecessary stress. Change your focus, looking instead at health issues, like cholesterol, blood pressure, energy level, and quality of sleep. If you’re concerned about weight loss, try using a measuring tape instead of a scale.
- Dump the negative self-talk. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies, derailing the healthiest of intentions by talking to ourselves in a negative tone. We tell ourselves that we can’t accomplish our goals, that things will never change, and that we’re not worthwhile. Fortunately, this can be turned around! Speak kindly to yourself, reframing every situation in a positive light, and reminding yourself to keep going until you see the desired result.
- Say no to stress. Stress hormones can increase blood pressure and blood sugar, as well as lowering immunity and slowing digestion, and putting you in a bad frame of mind. Stress can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes, while reducing stress can help ease chronic pain, lower blood pressure, reduce depression, and even improve immunity. Yoga, deep breathing, and meditation are all techniques known to reduce stress, and cultivating a sense of optimism, hope, and even silliness can help improve your outlook. Eating well and getting enough exercise, too, can help you find the tools to manage stress more easily.
Working to develop good health habits will help set you on the path to optimal wellness, and allow you to live your best possible life. At our clinic, we believe in helping our patients achieve the kind of mind-set that will allow them to create the kind of lives they want to live. For more information, or to schedule your free consultation, call us today.