The average adult in the U.S. spends more than nine hours a day at work, and our jobs often require us to sit for long periods. Unfortunately, our sedentary lifestyles and desk jobs aren’t always good for us.
In fact, research shows that spending extended amounts of time sitting down increases the risk of developing chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
On top of that, in today’s digital age, we are more connected than ever before. We stay in touch with our friends, family, and colleagues thanks to social media sites like Facebook and Snapchat. We can even keep tabs on the location of our pets remotely.
But being connected also has its downsides. One of them is the fast pace of our modern world which often leads to stress and anxiety for many of us.
When we’re under too much pressure, it negatively affects our health by triggering physical and mental symptoms. These include fatigue, insomnia, headaches, mood swings, and more.
Stress can also keep us from maintaining a healthy lifestyle by making us less likely to prioritize healthy activities over unhealthy ones or eat healthy foods over junk foods.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to reduce stress levels now since most people are exposed to many negative things daily. This negativity is mostly through television shows, movies, advertisements, news articles, and other forms of media almost 24/7.
Fortunately, improving your health outcome doesn’t mean completely overhauling your lifestyle to accommodate the changes you need to make.
In this article, we look at some simple ways you can improve your health by taking action today.
Ways to Improve Your Health
- Move More Often
We spend an average of two-thirds of our waking hours at work. So, it’s not surprising that a significant portion of our health outcomes are affected by the amount of time we spend sitting down.
Unfortunately, sitting for a long time is bad for your health, and the longer you spend sitting, the greater the health risks you’ll face. In fact, some studies have shown that sitting for just three hours at a stretch a day is enough to lead to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
It is crucial to find ways to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting. One simple way to improve your health outcome is by making more active breaks a part of your workday.
Whether you walk around a bit during your lunch break or take a short break every hour or two, getting up and moving around can help you avoid the health risks associated with prolonged sitting.
It can also have other benefits like improving your concentration, eliminating back pain, lowering stress, and even increasing your productivity.
- Be Proactive in Your Health Decisions
Being proactive in your medical decisions is one of the most important steps to improving your health outcome. This means making sure you are aware of your health risks and taking action to reduce those risks wherever possible.
The first step is to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have. Whether it’s for the prevention or treatment of diseases, your healthcare provider will be able to allay your fears. Many risk factors can be managed with lifestyle changes, and it’s important to know what those are.
At the same time, learn your options concerning medication and treatment for your ailment. Patient engagement in healthcare decisions will enable you to take charge as much as possible. This will give you confidence and satisfaction that you are getting what’s best for you.
Other risk factors that may require more immediate attention include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and obesity.
Once you know what needs to be done, it’s time to get started! The earlier you start reducing your risk factors for heart disease and other serious conditions, the better off you will be.
- Drink Lots of Water
Increasing your water intake is also one of the easiest ways to improve your health outcome. Water is essential for life and is vital for digestion, metabolism, and health.
Water makes up approximately 60-80% of your body weight, so if you’re dehydrated, you could miss out on critical nutrients and minerals. Moreover, your metabolism will slow down if you’re not getting enough water. This can lead to increased risks of developing certain diseases, including diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Water plays an important role in maintaining a healthy metabolism, bowel function, and skin, as well as helping prevent constipation. It also helps to keep your skin hydrated and soft by helping to break down proteins in the skin and reducing inflammation.
A good rule of thumb is to drink a large glass of water before you eat and another glass after you’re done eating for a couple of meals during the day.
- Don’t Diet
Too often, people focus on the short-term gains of following quick-fix diets, but there are also important long-term ways to improve your health outcome. One example is making healthier diet choices.
It might be tempting to follow fad diets that promise quick weight loss. However, dieting is never sustainable and can lead to weight gain and even health conditions like heart disease.
Instead, make better choices when grocery shopping, preparing meals, and eating out. Choose whole-grain foods, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and a limit on fats and sodium. You don’t want to consume excessive amounts of calories, but you want to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Image source: Pixabay.com
- Try to Quit Smoking
According to this report, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. The harmful effects of smoking all add up and can seriously affect your health.
These effects include potentially deadly health conditions, like heart disease and stroke, and social issues, such as loss of self-confidence and low self-esteem.
If you smoke and would like to quit, one important step you can take is to cut back on your smoking habits. Reduce the number of cigarettes you’re smoking and the time you’re spending smoking them.
It can also help if you follow a healthy diet and exercise plan that you can keep up with long-term. If you’ve already quit smoking, ensure you’re still taking beneficial actions to improve your health outcome.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
We know that excess calories are not healthy, but you may be surprised to learn that not getting enough calories can negatively affect your health outcome. For example, it can lead to muscle loss, leading to weakness, pain, and low self-confidence. Moreover, it can also contribute to diseases like anemia, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
So, what are some simple ways you can improve your health outcome by making healthy food choices?
- Be mindful of portion sizes. It’s tempting to automatically reach for fast food every time you’re hungry, but make sure you don’t overeat. Instead, aim for smaller portions and stay hydrated by drinking a large glass of water before and after you eat.
- Whole-grain Foods – Choose whole-grain foods over refined grains. This can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Vitamins – Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B-12, calcium, and iron. Vitamin B-12 can reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Calcium and iron support healthy bones and teeth.
- Limit sugary drinks– Avoid or reduce sugary and processed drinks like soda, energy drinks, and sweetened iced tea.
- Make sure you’re getting enough potassium – Potassium is essential for helping to regulate your heartbeat, muscle contraction, and nervous system function.
- Make sure you’re getting enough fiber – Fiber can help to reduce cholesterol levels and may also help to prevent cancer and diabetes.
- Limit saturated fat – Saturated fat can increase LDL cholesterol levels, which can lead to heart disease.
- Limit sodium – Too much sodium can lead to fluid retention, which can lead to high blood pressure.
- De-stress Regularly
When we’re stressed, it means that our body’s adrenal glands are working overtime for us. This extra stress hormone turns on our sympathetic nervous system. This is responsible for reacting to a threat by increasing heart rate and blood pressure.
It also increases stomach acid and the release of cortisol. All these factors can put a huge strain on the cardiovascular and digestive systems.
One of the best ways to relieve stress is to make time for yourself. That might mean taking a walk, going to the gym, or simply taking a break from your smartphone.
De-stressing regularly helps maintain your health and makes you more productive at work and home. This will help you ultimately feel happier overall.
In addition, if you know someone struggling with stress, try to support them in any way you can. It might be as simple as sharing a laugh or offering some words of encouragement.
Being there for someone when they need it most can go a long way in helping them to feel less stressed overall.
The good news is that making healthy changes can improve your health outcome. You may even notice that you feel better and are more confident as you incorporate these changes into your daily life.
In addition, many chronic diseases are preventable, so by making healthy choices, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing them.
Making these small changes can significantly impact your health outcome, so don’t be shy about getting started.