Sunday, June 23, 2013

Five Small Healthy Steps with Major Future Benefits

Making healthy life changes doesn't have to mean deprivation and a major lifestyle overhaul. Small steps can be just as effective in improving your health, and with small, gradual changes you are more likely to make your healthy choices last for the long haul. Here are a few small steps you can take today that will pay off in the future.

Lose a Little

Losing weight can seem like a daunting prospect, especially if you feel you have significant weight to lose. Setting small goals can help. Studies show that losing as little as 5% of your body weight (that's 10 pounds for a 200 pound person) can significantly improve your blood pressure, cardiovascular health, and risk of developing diabetes. Set a small goal for yourself to reap big benefits later.

Sit Less, Stand More

No matter how fit you are and how hard you work at the gym in the evening, sitting at your desk in front of the computer all day is harmful to your health. It increases your risk of kidney disease and death from other diseases. Take frequent breaks to stand up, walk to the copier or another floor, or just sit up tall and stretch. Your body will thank you in the long run.

Take Time Out

Stress kills, and you can't take care of anyone else if you aren't taking care of yourself. Take time to relax with a bubble bath after work, take that vacation time you've accumulated, and practice stress-relieving techniques to lower your blood pressure and fat-promoting cortisol (stress hormone) levels. You'll sleep better, and your heart will be happier down the road.

Make Sleep a Priority

While adults need at least 7 hours of sleep a night, many people get 5 or fewer hours on a regular basis. Sleep effects your mental focus and clarity, your emotional balance, and even your appetite and weight. Getting enough sleep can help fight anxiety and depression, among many other health benefits. Make time in your schedule for sleep, and if you have trouble falling or staying asleep, see your doctor for help.

Care for Your Smile

A healthy mouth is crucial for a healthy body. Seeing your Dental Physician for regular cleanings can help eliminate bacteria under the gum line that like to travel to places like the kidneys and valves of the heart and create problems in the long term. Your dentist can also repair cavities and restore bad teeth before they reach a point where extraction is required. Care for your smile today to keep your whole body healthy tomorrow.