Our health is our best asset. Just like money, we often realize the importance of health when we lack it. Before it is getting too late, use these simple ways to improve your health at zero cost.
1. Laugh More
When was the last time that you had a really good laugh? A couple of weeks ago? A few months ago? Or too long ago to recall? If so, you need to more consciously bring humor and laughter into your life.
Have you heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine?” When we laugh less, we carry more burden of stress and ill-health. Laughter is associated with many biochemical reactions of our body, such as relaxed muscle tone, and increased heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen consumption. These reactions have various medical benefits.
The Laughter the Best Medicine Medicine Series can be a great way to bring more laughter to your life:
2. Drink More Water
Water is the main component of our body. Drink adequate water is critical for maintaining the balance of body fluids.According to CDC, water helps our body keep a normal temperature, lubricate and cushion joints, protect the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, and remove body waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. Choosing plain water over sweeten drinks (e.g., soda, fruit drinks) can help you save money and cut calories.
It is generally recommended 8 cups of water a day, but many factors (e.g., temperature, level of physic activity, health condition) affect how much water you should drink a day. Check out the recommendations from WebMD.
3. Avoid Sitting too Long
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook made a bold statement by saying “Sitting is new cancer” when he introduced the new feature in the Apple Watch that reminds a user to stand up more often. His main message implies the high health risk of an over-sedentary lifestyle.
A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows a positive association between time spent sitting and all-cause death rates, as demonstrated by the biomarkers such as high-density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, etc.
If you have an office job requiring sitting in front of a computer all day, you should try to get up more often. Set a timer to beep at regular intervals to remind you to stand up and move. Lunch time workout could be another good option to boost your afternoon productivity.
4. Take Deep Breaths for a Few Minutes
Deep breathing is a simple technique for relaxation and reducing anxiety. It focuses on taking slow, deep, and even breaths.
When you take deep breaths for a few minutes, your body produces a natural relaxation response and decrease anxiety. In addition, relaxation technique can help managing health condition such insomnia and chronic pain.
5. Spend Time in Nature
Believe it or not, nature boosts to our mental and physical well-being. Getting outdoors give our body and brain a big break. The natural beauty and fresh air help us regain mental energy, improve vision, and enhance cognitive function. Emerging ourselves in a natural environment such as a forest boost our immune system and overall health condition.
6. Hug Someone you Love
Hugging is an important form of non-verbal communication—conveying a feeling of intimacy or empathy. It provides a stress-buffering social support.
When we hug, our body release oxytocin, a feel-good hormone, that relaxes our muscle and reduce harmful physical effects of stress. Hugging also generates endorphins, the pleasure hormone, to elevate mood and prevent depression.
7. Quit Smoking
Cigarette smoking is harmful to nearly every organ of our body and is related to many chronic diseases, not to mention its financial cost. Cigarette smoking causes 9 out of 10 lung cancer deaths, and lead to higher risks for cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and many types of cancers.
Quitting smoking will significantly reduce those risks and improve the overall health and well-being. Of course, quitting smoking needs tremendous self-control, perseverance, and social support. It is not an easy task, but compared to the high health risk of smoking, it is worth all the effort to stop it.
Sing is not a privilege to divas like Adele and Beyoncé. Even if you are not a performer, just singing to yourself can bring about a lot of health benefits.
According to Dr. Graham Welch, a professor a the University of London who has studied the scientific aspects of singing for years, singing is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscles groups in the upper body. Plus, singing has positive effects in reducing stress levels and lifting spirits.
9. Establish a Good Sleep Schedule
It is recommended that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote good health. However, 1 in 3 American adults does not get that much sleep. Sleep deprivation is associated with higher risks of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and mental distress.
Good sleep habits start with keeping a regular sleep schedule that maintains the timing of our biological clock and helps fall asleep and wake up smoothly. Try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day. A calming bedtime routine helps to prepare your brain and body for bed and get adequate rest.
10. Walk More
Walking, simple as it is, is called “a superfood” by Katy Bowman, the author of Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement. Walking is an awesome way to stay active and improve fitness without the intensity of other forms of physical activity and any burden to our wallets.
11. Adopt a Younger Mindset
We are only as old as we feel. There is evidence that the self-perception of age can be a better predictor of feelings, attitudes, and behaviors than the chronological age.
Older individuals who view themselves as younger than their actual chronological ages tend to be overall healthier, as reflected by a sharper memory, lower change of debilitating fall, and a lower rate of hospitalizations. A study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science shows that “when a younger mind is primed, a younger body can accompany it.”
This list is by no means exhaustive—many health behaviors and healthy lifestyles can lead to a better physical and mental condition. Make a checklist of these simple ways to improve your health and start to work on them; you will see a positive change over time!
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