Do you want to be healthier? Here are 9 easy (and inexpensive!) ways:
1. Move more.
Dr. James Levine’s study on obesity indicates that increasing unplanned daily physical activity, like standing, walking, talking, cleaning, and fidgeting, can be a more effective way to lose weight than seeking out organized exercise. Increased daily activity may also be more preventative against cancer than recreational activities. Want to learn more? I wrote about it here.
2. Retire your labor-saving devices
Adding more manual labor to your days is an easy way to increase daily physical activity. This time of year you can shovel snow, prune bushes and trees, hand wash dishes, sweep, clean, cook from scratch, take the stairs, etc. Manual labor makes us stronger and fitter and may also help us to ward off depression. (Plus you can pocket that cash you’d spend patronizing a gym.)
3. Go outside
Nature is good for us. Just viewing natural settings can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and boost immunity.
4. Plant a vegetable garden
5. Commute car-free
A study of car and train commuters in New Jersey found that train commuters took 30 percent more steps per day. And perhaps more importantly, the train commuters reported significantly lower stress levels and better moods than the car commuters. That’s no small finding considering another study found that car commuters can experience greater stress than fighter pilots going into battle or riot policemen.
Learning to relax can have huge health benefits. Relaxation methods have been shown to slow heart rate, reduce blood pressure, increase blood flow, reduce chronic pain, and improve concentration. You can do yoga or tai chi, listen to music, exercise, meditate, do guided visualization, get a massage, or just sit and drink a cup of tea.
7. Call a friend
Many studies indicate that a good social support system can reduce stress levels and increase longevity. But a third of Americans report having fewer confidants than 20 years ago and 25 percent of Americans say they have no one at all to confide in. Are you stumped on how to make more friends? Start here or here.
8. Take a walk
A daily walk around your neighborhood is a great way to add more activity to your day and connect with your neighbors.
9. Eat real food
In my three decades, I’ve already seen a number of health fads come and go. Fat was the nutritional pariah of the nineties. Then Y2K rolled around, carbs went out of style, and everyone started loading up on Omega-3s and antioxidants. Meanwhile, we slathered ourselves in sunscreen and treated sunny afternoons like radioactively contaminated Superfund sites. Except now everyone’s vitamin D deficient and popping D3 like Rolaids. My point is, perhaps we shouldn’t make too much of breaking health news, especially since so many studies are funded by the food companies that stand to gain from them. (I wrote more about this topic here.)
So what should we eat? Michael Pollen’s mantra is probably a good way to go: “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.”Getting healthy doesn't need to be complicated. Try these 9 easy ways to improve your health.Click To Tweet
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- Why Real Food Beats Nutrition Science
- Ditch the Gym and Get Fit
- Want Healthy, Happy Kids? Walk with Them.
- Kick Nature Deficit Disorder
- 5 Ways to Make February Fabulous
Do you have any tips to share?