By Julie Yerkes, RN

Sometimes small changes can have a big impact on your overall health and well-being.  In honor of World Health Day, we’ve compiled the following list of eight tips you can do to immediately improve your health.  See how many you can incorporate into your daily routine for a healthier, happier you!

  • Drink more water. Your body is made of 90% water and it needs water for almost every function. Many of our aches and pains, headaches and other ailments would lessen if we drank more water.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Losing weight and keeping it off is difficult.  But even losing just a few pounds will improve your health.  If your weight is normal, work to maintain it.  A healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, high-fiber foods, and whole grains.  Limit intake of refined sugars, saturated fats and cut down on your salt intake.
  • Be more active. Your heart is a muscle that needs movement to function optimally, and often a little movement goes a long way.  Walk your dog, park in the farthest parking lot or use the stairs.  Adding steps to your day will pay off.
  • Reduce stress. Hug someone you love.  When you hug someone who wants to be hugged, your body releases Oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that wards off depression.  Deep breathe for at least five minutes several times a day.  Deep breathing reduces stress hormones, which leads to less anxiety.
  • Get your shots and routine health screenings. Vaccinations can prevent many deadly and debilitating illnesses.  Routine screenings tests have been known to catch some forms of disease, such as heart disease and cancer.  Early detection means early management, and often better treatment.
  • Improve your sleep. If you are having difficulty sleeping, try cutting out alcohol or caffeine and other stimulants such as bright lights and smart phones, to help you get a good night’s sleep.  Lavender oil has been known to have relaxing effects–try putting a few drops on your pillow at night to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Keep your brain active. Do crossword puzzles, learn a new language or pick up a new hobby.  Activities that challenge you mentally help keep your brain functioning at a higher level
    and help refocus your energy in a constructive way.
  • Think positively, and always try to see the bright side of a situation. An optimistic outlook on life can actually help you live longer.

Julie is the Education Coordinator at the Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

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