1) Drink more water. Water helps you stay hydrated and is vital to your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water helps keep your temperature normal; lubricates and cushions your joints; protects sensitive tissues and your spinal cord; and rids your body of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements.
The question on everyone’s mind is, “How much water am I supposed to drink?” The Institute of Medicine’s recommendation – from all food and beverages – for women is approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) and for men is approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces) each day.
If the thought of this goal makes you nervous, don’t worry. The point is to work more water into your day. And the CDC has a few simple tips to help you increase your water intake:
- Carry a bottle of water with you throughout your day.
- If you like your water ice cold, put freezer-safe water bottles in the freezer and take one with you for cold water all day long.
- Save money and reduce calories by choosing water when you eat out.
- Add fruit to your water to improve the taste.
2) Stop tobacco use. If you use tobacco, make your quit plan. We know it can be a tough habit to break. Each time you use tobacco you are increasing your risk for cancer, heart attacks, strokes, lung disease and more.
When you quit, there are immediate rewards (sense of smell returns, food tastes better, your breath smells better, smell in clothes and hair goes away). According to the American Cancer Society, 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Twelve hours after quitting, your carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. Two to three months after quitting, your lung function increases and your circulation improves. A year later, coughing and shortness of breath decreases, and the excess risk of heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker. After five years, you have cut your risk of cancer in half.
The desire to quit has to be yours. There are a number of resources available to help you. Start with your doctor or visit one of these sites:
3) Walk 10,000 steps a day. Shape Up America! recommends tracking your daily steps. Using a pedometer (or a smartphone app), figure out how many steps you take in a normal day. So how many steps are you taking each day? Are you close to 10,000? If not, start increasing your daily steps with these tips:
- Park in a space further from the building.
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Have a walking business meeting.
- Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of calling or emailing.
- Take a short walk during lunch of breaks.
- Or use one of these 100 ideas from America on the Move!
4) Eat intuitively and give up diets for good. According to intuitiveeating.com, “intuitive eating is an approach that teaches you how to create a healthy relationship with your food, mind and body – where you ultimately become the expert of your own body.” Nancy Kuppersmith, R.D., with UofL Physicians talked about intuitive eating in 2014. To watch her talk, click here.
5) Take care of your emotional health. The Mental Health Foundation defines emotional wellbeing as, “A positive sense of wellbeing which enables an individual to function in society and meet the demands of everyday life; people in good mental health have the ability to recover effectively from illness, change or misfortune.”
Mental Health America offers these 10 proven tools to help you feel stronger and more hopeful.