Words by Jennifer McGregor
Your health isn’t something your primary care provider has control over. Sure, they can check your weight and blood pressure, and they can even put you on medication to control health problems. What they can’t do, however, is ensure that you make good decisions that perpetuate health. However, you can. With that being said, here are five things you can do every day to be a better you on the inside as well as the outside.
Feed Yourself Well
You already know that the food you put into your body has an impact on your weight. However, that’s not all that nutrition affects. What you eat is broken up by the body, and your food’s nutrients are routed to every system. Eating enough calcium, for example, can improve your bones and teeth. A diet rich in antioxidant foods may actually lessen your chances of cancer. Further, every bite you intake has influence over your gut microbiome, which is a tiny universe inside of you. The organisms — bacteria, fungi, viruses — that live there play a role in your overall health, from your immune system to your ability to emotionally self-regulate.
Just as important as what you put into your body is how you work your body. Exercise is a crucial component of health, and it’s something you should prioritize every day. And if you are a senior, strength training, balance exercises, and other forms of physical fitness might even help lower your chances of being injured in a falling accident.
Keep yourself motivated by investing in some tech. Using a fitness tracker allows you to set goals and track your progress. Music is a great motivator as well and can help you power through your workout. Avoid poorly fitting traditional headphones and invest in a set of wireless earphones instead. A model like the Beats PowerBeats 3 earphones are sweat resistant and won’t fall off when you exercise. Or a set of Bose SoundSport headphones offer comfort and dynamic sound quality.
Keep Your Body Clean
Hygiene isn’t something you can neglect, at least if you want to prevent diseases and keep your confidence and self-esteem high. According to Solv Health, washing your skin can rinse away bad bacteria you come into contact with each day. Removing these bacteria can help prevent a number of different illnesses. You don’t necessarily have to take a full shower every day, but at the very least, wash your face each evening and your hands anytime you prepare food, touch another person, or come into contact with chemicals.
Do you lie awake all night worrying about work or toss and turn until what feels like moments before the alarm goes off? If so, you may find that you are tired, distracted, and irritable each morning, and by the afternoon, you’re chugging coffee and eating pastries just to stay alert. Not getting enough sleep is unquestionably detrimental to your health. If you suffer from insomnia, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about the ways you can settle in at night. A few things you can try on your own are to use up your energy during the day (see exercise above) and give yourself a predictable bedtime routine.
Laugh, Smile, and Cry
Emotions are complex. And we often fear them for reasons, including concern about social acceptance or giving off the appearance of weakness. However, when you avoid your emotions, whether positive or negative, you do your body and mind an injustice. First, when we spend so much time avoiding emotions, we put ourselves into a fierce cycle. This can cause stress, which releases adrenaline and cortisol into our bodies. While these hormones serve an important purpose, when we are exposed to them all the time, we can suffer physically and mentally. Instead of hiding behind a fake smile, learn to experience your emotions. Laugh, smile, cry, shout – whatever you need to do to digest and work through your feelings.
The above advice can set you on a positive track where your health is concerned. It is not a full listing of everything you need to live your best life, but it can get you going, and the starting point is your first step toward mastering your own health.
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