Updated: May 24, 2019
By Dr. Ryan Lee
Getting and staying healthy is one of the best things we can do for ourselves! Unfortunately, when we make drastic changes like starting a daily gym routine or changing our diet, we can often fall back into our old ways. So instead of making one large change try adding these simple health habits to your daily routine. They only take a few minutes out of your day and have the added benefit to improving your health for the long term!
1. Take a Break from Sitting:
Sitting for long periods of time is terrible for our bodies. By sitting for longer than four-hour periods at a time increases our chances for cardiovascular disease by more than 125%. So, stand up every hour for a few minutes!
2. Stay Hydrated:
Water regulates our muscles, heart, and brain. It also flushes bacteria out of our bladders and prevents constipation. It is recommended that we drink half our body weight in ounces per day. Being properly hydrated can also clear up your skin, improve your cognitive function, and improve your breathing!
3. Work on Your Posture:
Having good posture not only gives you a look of confidence, but it takes off unnecessary stress on joints and tendons that can create chronic musculoskeletal pain. Good posture aids in proper function of the digestive and respiratory system since your slumped posture puts strain on those organs and tissues. Start walking around with your shoulders back and your head held up high and you'll begin to see why your parents always told you stand up straight!
4. Practice “Stillness”:
With how busy and crazy life can be nowadays, it is important to take a few minutes to just be still. Being still for a few minutes a day has shown to improve sleep and mood as well as lowering stress. Practicing, “stillness,” for longer periods of time has shown to lower back pain, arthritis, and blood sugar levels.
5. Start Stretching:
Do you ever wake up in the morning and just feel like crawling back into bed? Start your day right with stretching! A good stretching routine can increase your circulation and release those amazing feel good hormones: endorphins! Stretching also aids in injury prevention. When you become more limber, you are less likely to strain any tight musculature. Start a beginner stretching routine with a quick full body stretch by doing a hamstring stretch, a forward trunk flexion stretch (aka downward dog), and some lateral trunk bending stretches. Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds and perform each stretch three times.
6. Avoid “Blue Screens,” Before Bed:
The blue screens from our phones, tv’s, and tablets signal our brain to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that secretes when the sun sets, that signals our body to start preparing for sleep. This keeps us awake longer and prevents us from getting the sleep we all so desperately need! Sleep is the only time you body has to repair and rebuild, making it a vital part of our day. So, limit your screen time one hour before bed and you will see great improvements in the quality of your sleep!
7. Eat Omega-3 Rich Food:
Omega-3 rich food has the awesome property of lowering inflammation within our bodies. Inflammation on the body can make you irritable, sore, weak, and just plain tired. Omega-3’s also lowers your chance of getting heart disease as well as lowered chance of getting breast, prostate, and colon cancer. Ridding your body of inflammation getting good sleep, getting outside, and eating omega-3 rich foods can be a great way to improve your overall health! Foods rich in omega-3’s include fatty fish like cod, halibut, and sardines, walnut’s, spinach, avocado, eggs, and broccoli. Eat around 250-500 mg of omega-3’s a day.
8. Get Outside:
Sunshine is vital to our health. When we go outside, our bodies absorb the sunlight and produces Vitamin D. Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption in the body and helps with bone growth. Vitamin D also improves our immune system preventing us from getting sick as often as well as strengthening our hearts and prevents cancer. You can only get vitamin D from absorbing sunlight on bare skin or by taking a vitamin supplement. The best time to get proper sunlight is around mid-day. The amount of time it takes to get enough vitamin D is suggested to be half the time it would take for your skin to burn. This can break down to roughly 30 minutes dependent on your skin tone.
9. De-stress by practicing Gratitude:
Stress is a silent killer. Heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, etc. have all been linked to having too much stress in our lives. Practice de-stressing by exercising and taking quiet time for yourself each day. You can also de-stress and improve your mood by practicing gratitude. For the next 21 days, think of three things you are truly thankful for and say them out loud or write them down. Try it out!
10. Do Push-Ups:
Push-ups or any upper body exercise is great for maintaining a healthy body. Upper body strength improves heart function, strengthens joints, prevents injuries, improves posture and can give your confidence! Regular resistance exercises can protect your bone mass. After the age of 30, our bodies begin to lose bone mass, but by performing resistance exercises we can decrease the amount of bone mass we lose dramatically!
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*This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Ryan Lee and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Lee nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic is located in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area specifically in Collegedale, TN, a short distance from Ooltewah, Cleveland, East Brainerd, East Ridge, Ringgold, Apison, and Harrison.
Dr. Ryan Lee is the practicing chiropractic physician at Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic. For his full bio, click here.