Improving your quality of life through small changes.
We all desire a great quality of life. We want to be able to play with our kids, go out to dinner with our friends, and enjoy an active life. HealthStar Physicians Premier Medical is here to help you along your journey to improving and maintaining better health. We’ve outlined four healthy habits that can help you make positive strides.
Eating a healthy diet.
A healthy well-rounded diet is always the first step in improving your quality of life. This doesn’t mean you have to cut out all the guilty pleasures like that piece of strawberry pie or the onion rings with your burger. Everything needs balance though.
The balance starts with not skipping breakfast. Eating breakfast gives your body energy to start your day. And energy puts all of us in a better mood!
As you think about your meals during the day, check the necessary boxes:
- 7-10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Fruits and veggies hold the necessary minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants to keep us running at top performance. Fruits can also sometimes satisfy a sweet tooth to help avoid extra sugar intake.
- Consume whole grains which contain high amounts of fiber. Our bodies need this fiber for top performance from our gastrointestinal tract. Fiber also has benefits including reducing insulin response and helping you eat less as you stay satisfied longer.
- Be selective in your choices of protein. Ideally, we should consume less than 12 ounces per week of red meat. But in addition to this consideration, we want to cut out or strongly reduce the consumption of processed meats like hot dogs and lunch meat as they are high in sodium and saturated fat. As you consider your protein sources, don’t discount vegetables that are high in protein such as lentils, beans, soy, and nuts. These choices are heart-healthy due to being low in saturated fat.
- Limit alcohol to help maintain weight and also reduce cancer risk. Guidelines suggest women should have a max of one drink per day and men up to two drinks per day.
- Consume less refined sugar. By reducing your sugar intake, your body will produce less insulin. Higher insulin levels are closely linked to increased inflammation.
We should never make too many changes at once. Too many changes are often linked to “diets” rather than “habits”. Strive for small goals and celebrate the wins. Maybe this week you are focusing on eating vegetables at every meal. This could mean sneaking spinach into a smoothie or selecting veggies for snacks.
Once you have made that change, add in a new goal for the next week such as cutting out a meat protein for two lunches during the week. Small changes added together will reap positive results over time. Most importantly, you will find yourself making healthy habits and being a better version of yourself.
Be sure to keep moving.
Exercise is great and key to feeling good. You can take small steps if you aren’t ready to commit to a workout schedule. Start with consistently moving during the day. If you are in a desk job, get up and move around once an hour. Go to get water. Get up and stretch. Your goal should be to have at least 250 steps every single hour. This helps remind our bodies that we are awake and functioning.
Now that we are starting to see some warmer spring weather, a daily afternoon walk is a great option for a new healthy habit. This allows you to have movement for a longer period of time. During a walk, you are also given time to decompress and shift your thoughts away from work or other stressors.
Your goal should be to do activities that raise your heart rate for at least 30 minutes a day. This could be brisk walking or running, an exercise class, swimming, or other cardio activity. Doing these activities will help exercise your heart and make your day-to-day activities easier.
Everyone needs sleep.
Many of us are going on fumes and cutting our sleep schedule. This is counterproductive to our day. Establishing awake and sleep routine is one of the most important habits to benefit our health. As you establish a routine of when you are awake, you begin to eat meals at the same time each day. This helps your body to understand when it is being fueled up and how long the fuel is intended to last. Establishing this routine impacts our metabolism and goes hand in hand with the other positive routines we are building.
Sleep also gives our bodies time to take a break. Rest is essential for our entire body. Our brain functions better on a full night’s rest and we appear sharper. Cutting out sleep is actually counterproductive and often makes us forgetful and less productive with our time.
Don’t forget to get regular checkups.
Many people feel they are too busy to schedule doctor visits. Others might be scared to go to the doctor. These routine visits are so important to maintain your health and ensure you avoid those “scary appointments”. Some of the key benefits of routine visits include:
- Preventive care is often covered by insurance and has reduced costs
- Diagnosis of critical conditions
- Early treatments to increase the potential for good outcomes
- Monitoring of health conditions or illness to stay in front of worsening conditions
- Staying up to date on vaccinations and screening tests
- Building your own health plan to improve your quality of life
HealthStar Physicians Premier Medical is here to partner with you as you work to improve your health and quality of life. We want to support you as you work to build healthy habits.
We’re still Newport’s compassionate, experienced Osteopathic healthcare providers. We offer a wide range of care, including everything from DOT physicals, vaccines, and weight loss management. Click here to learn more.
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