Below is a guest article submitted to us by Jennifer McGregor on healthy living. There is some good information in here and worth reading. Thank you Jennifer for your input. Jennifer works for the public health library.
Healthy Living from Day to Day: Incorporating Beneficial Practices Into Your Routine
It’s easy enough to decide you want to lead a healthier lifestyle. It’s another thing to see it through by adding activities, such as exercise, that you really don’t have time for. Committing to healthful practices is admirable, but building healthy strategies into your daily routine probably makes more sense than adjusting an already-hectic schedule. Here are a few ideas to help you make that happen.
Knowing your health plan matters
Before you dive into making any big changes to your diet or exercise routine, it’s always a good idea to talk to a medical professional first. They can help you formulate a regimen tailored to your health. While you’re at it, see what else your health plan covers that can help you on your path to living healthier. You may find that you’re no longer getting the coverage you need from Medicare, in which case you should consider finding a new plan. Many Medicare Advantage plans from providers like Cigna-HealthSpring provide additional benefits like vision and dental coverage and coverage for fitness programs.
Don’t skip breakfast
Like many busy professionals, you’re probably intent on getting a head start on each day. That probably means skipping breakfast or grabbing something convenient (and unhealthy) en route. Going without a healthy breakfast robs your body of important vitamins and minerals and the energy it needs to function properly throughout the day. A healthy breakfast should include protein and fiber, so make sure you’re getting whole grain cereal and bread, eggs, yogurt, fruit, and low-fat dairy.
Most of us associate dieting with good health and weight loss, but some diets (especially fad diets) can actually be harmful to your body. For example, the “Five Bites” diet, which recommends skipping breakfast and only eating five bites of food at lunch and five at dinner, deprives your body of calories and can cause problems with the cardiovascular and immune systems. While some popular diets have a lasting impact, it’s always best to consult a medical professional if you’re unsure whether you should start an unfamiliar new diet. Eating a balance of protein, fiber, and other healthful substances will satisfy your nutritional needs while maintaining a healthy weight without requiring the latest “hot” diet.
Exercising on the go
Have you learned the hard way that scheduling a two-hour workout session every day just isn’t realistic? If so, try finding ways to get physical activity as you go about your day. Park a bit from your office entrance and use the extra distance for a brisk morning walk. Use the stairs during the work day rather than hopping on the elevator if you’re only going up a couple of floors. Stair-walking is a healthy practice and is readily available if you’re in an office building. If it’s too cold, or hot to go for a walk outside during or after work, try doing some sit-ups or push-ups while enjoying your favorite television program. Remember, it’s all about physical activity and getting your heart rate up. How you do it is up to you.
Water is your friend
Water is integral to all of the body’s systems, so the more you can stay hydrated, the better you’ll feel and the healthier you’ll be. If drinking 8 cups of water every day (the recommended amount) is a bit much, start out slowly by substituting an 8-ounce glass of water instead of a late-morning can of Coke. Water filters out impurities and makes it easier to keep your weight under control, so make sure you’re getting plenty each day.
Avoid distracted eating
Bet you never thought of mindful eating as a key health strategy. But focusing on your meal without the distractions of television or a mobile device keeps your mind on your food. Eating will be a more enjoyable experience, and you’re more likely to pay attention and avoid overeating. If each day is filled with chaotic activity, set aside a good hour for dinner every day. It’s an important psychological anchor and gives you time to relax with family.
Observing healthy strategies doesn’t have to mean making busy days even busier. Healthy habits can be practiced during the course of your day, and that includes finding opportunities for exercise and restorative downtime. Weave head-to-toe health practices into each day and you’ll see many of the results you’d expect from a formal exercise or nutritional program.
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