Who among us doesn’t want to be healthier? So at the start of each year, you promise yourself this is it ― and resolve to start exercising and eating better. But when it comes time to put your plan into action, it all just seems so daunting.
We feel you; it’s hard. But even though it might seem overwhelming, your health simply cannot wait. We partnered with Sleep Number to bring you eight small things you can start doing today that will lead to a longer and healthier life tomorrow.
Stand Up Every 20 Minutes
Sitting is the new smoking, or so we’re told. So what’s a lazy person to do? Every 20 minutes, stand up for about two minutes. That’s enough to make a difference, according to New York Times Phys Ed columnist Gretchen Reynolds.
That sounds so simple, Reynolds told NPR. But that actually has profound consequences. If you can stand up every 20 minutes even if you do nothing else you change how your body responds physiologically. Who knew preventing health problems could be so easy? If you’re worried about remembering to stand, try an alarm or a browser extension to remind you.
Cut Back On Sugar
Over consumption of sugar can lead to a host of diseases, with some estimates indicating that it’s linked to a whopping 30 to 40 per cent of health care expenditures in the U.S. And unfortunately, sugar’s in everything. Salad dressings, granola bars, sports drinks and flavored yogurt are just some foods with gobs of sugar lurking within.
I try to keep it simple suggests Dr Gary Steward, a family physician in central New York. Eat a healthy diet with fresh ingredients and moderate portions, and avoid processed foods. Processed foods are where a lot of that nastiness lies so take your time reading labels, and reduce your intake of foods with added sugar and be sure to read up on the many other names for sugar so you don’t miss anything)
Invest In a Quality Bed and Bedding
As mentioned above high quality sleep is absolutely essential to good health. Sleeping has a huge impact on your mental health, impacting stress levels, concentration and clarity of mind, as well as your physical health, directly correlating to weight management and risk of developing long-term chronic diseases.
And one of the best ways to improve your sleep? Improve the platform you’re sleeping on. We spend up to one-third of our lives sleeping, according to the National Sleep Foundation, so it’s kind of crazy how little thought we give to our mattresses.
Even though they’re usually with us for at least several years, beds don’t get the same amount of careful scrutiny we employ when choosing items with more turnover, like cars or computers. If you want to quickly improve your sleep, take your time, do your research, and find a bed that provides the comfort and support your body needs.
Break for Lunch, Every Day
Say goodbye to sad desk salads! Getting away from your cubicle and dedicating time to eating and socializing is good for your health in the long run. Lunch breaks are crucial because they break up the work cycle of concentration and focus needed for your work day explained Benya. She said they’re a great way to reset your mind and make healthy choices like hydrating, stretching and selecting quality food.
Although easy to neglect, it is important to prioritize lunch breaks as they can significantly help to manage stress and nutrition, largely benefiting mental and physical health.
Meet Up With Friends
Most experts agree social bonds might help you live a longer life though there’s some debate as to whether it’s family or friends who have more impact.
Since the late 1980s, studies have suggested that this is true writes Dr Michael Craig Miller. People who enjoy close relationships with family and friends are more likely to live longer than people who are isolated and lonely. Even more impressive: It’s twice as large as the longevity benefit that comes from regular exercise, or maintaining a normal weight.
So whatever you do, don’t let those bonds slip away. Make regular dates with your friends and family and if they’re far away, stay in close contact via phone and email. With today’s technology, it’s easy to stay in touch.