Long working hours, lunching at your desk, and coughing co-workers make it hard to stay healthy and fit. Shorter, colder days add to the challenge. With obesity on the rise and new strains of viruses and bacteria emerging, it's more important than ever to be vigilant about your health...especially when you consider the following facts:
● Nearly 70 percent of Americans age 20 and over are obese or overweight.
● A mere 30 percent of adults consume their five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
● The CDC reports 80 percent of American adults do not get recommended exercise.
● According to researchers at Michigan State, 95 percent of people do not properly wash their hands. While other studies indicate the percent is closer to 75, there's still work to be done.
The good news is that there are simple things you can start doing today to give your health a boost.
1. Get enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), more than 65 percent of adults suffer from sleep issues. Sleep rejuvenates your body, mind and spirit. The NSF warns that people who get insufficient sleep are more likely to develop physical and emotional problems. Aim for seven to nine hours nightly.
2. Wash your hands 6-7 times a day. Lather up thoroughly before, during or after preparing or eating food, using the restroom, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or touching garbage. Follow these simple steps:
● Wet your hands with warm water.
● Apply soap.
● Lather well, rubbing your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
● Rinse well.
● Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dryer.
● Use your towel to turn off the faucet and/or open the door.
● If water is unavailable, use hand sanitizer, making sure you apply enough to thoroughly cover you palms, backs of hands and fingers. Rub until dry.
3. Exercise. Strive for 20 minutes of purposeful movement each day. Even modest exercise has been shown to help control weight, boost mood and energy, and maintain healthy bones, muscles and a cardiovascular system. That might be walking up the stairs during the day, going for a stroll during lunch, or parking at the far end of the lot. Enlist a friend and you’ll burn even more calories. Just a few minutes a day should be no tall task if you pick something you enjoy.
4. Have some fun. Many people toil through their day - or even their life without enjoyment. Get involved, make friends, dig deep inside to discover what it is that truly makes you happy. Whether it’s fishing, playing the piano, or restoring old cars, a passion gives meaning and joy to your life.
5. Reduce stress through meditation, deep breathing exercises or relaxing with music or a good book.
6. Drink plenty of clean water. While the amount you need can vary according to activity level, the standard mantra of eight, eight-ounce glasses is easy to remember and probably close enough to what you need.
7. Eat raw foods. Keep nuts, cut-up vegetables and fruit at your desk to snack on.
8. Reduce your intake of saturated fats commonly found in processed foods and carry out meals.
9. Take your lunch to work. You'll eat healthier and save money too.
10. Strive to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. (Potatoes don't count!)
The ancient philosopher Virgil said, "The greatest wealth is health," and it's as true today as it was two thousand years ago. Incorporating just a few of these tips into your day will have an immediate, positive effect on your health. Start small and build, just in time for the holidays.
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