Taking Steps toward Better Health

Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: November 12, 2013

Taking command of your health is one of the most meaningful commitments you will make ― for yourself, but also for those around you. By taking care of your health, you’re able to serve as a role model to your family, friends and co-workers. Here are six steps that will make the healthiest impact:

  1. Eat healthy foods. Making swift and sweeping changes to your diet can feel overwhelming if you don’t have the right resources. ChooseMyPlate.gov makes changing your diet easy by offering suggestions of foods you should eat more often (fruits and vegetables), as well as foods you should eat much less (sweetened drinks and pizza).Insight:
    In addition to making healthy choices at home, dedicate yourself to eating well at your workplace throughout the day. Building a strong support network at home and at work will help you and others avoid temptations and stick to a healthy diet.
  2. Commit to daily exercise. Opportunities to exercise are everywhere we turn, but the fact remains that 60 percent of Americans do not meet the recommended 150 minutes a week of exercise. Finding blocks of time each day to exercise can prove challenging, given how over-scheduled our daily lives have become. But, research shows that breaking up the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day into smaller increments of 5 to 10 minutes can still provide health benefits, when performed consistently.Insight:
    For those who spend most of their days sitting at work, experts recommend at least two minutes of standing, stretching or walking for every 20 minutes of sitting. Those short bursts of activity can increase blood flow, which, in turn, releases hormones that help us manage stress, increase alertness and burn calories.
  3. Get adequate sleep. Many factors can contribute to a restless night of sleep―the stress resulting from work challenges, financial situations and family responsibilities. Conversely, sleeping too much can be just as unhealthy. A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control found that too little or too much sleep may be linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Understandably, while it may not be possible to control all the factors keeping you up at night, it’s important to adopt habits that encourage a more restful slumber.Insight:
    Adhering to a sleep schedule or bedtime rituals can reinforce your body’s “sleep-wake” cycle, such as consistently going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. The addition of relaxing rituals, such as reading a book or listening to music, which allow your body to wind down at the end of the day, may also promote better sleep.
  4. Get the right amount of Vitamin D. Having your daily dose of vitamin D is essential when it comes to promoting strong bones and teeth, boosting the immune system, lowering the risk of developing certain kinds of cancer and playing a role in maintaining a healthy body weight. The body makes vitamin D when exposed to direct sunlight, but skin exposed to sunshine indoors through a window or door will not produce vitamin D. Overexposure can also carry its own dangers, so be sure to wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 8 or more. Vitamin D can also be found in fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.Insight:
    Talk to your health care providers for suggestions on how to obtain the appropriate amount of Vitamin D in your diet and lifestyle.
  5. Drink plenty of water. Nearly every system in the body requires water to function properly. Your daily recommended amount of water depends on factors such as age, weight, gender and even geographic location. The Institute of Medicine advises that men and women try to consume 3.7 liters (16 cups) and 2.7 liters (11 cups), respectively, which includes water found in food and other beverages.Insight:
    Start each morning by drinking a full glass of water and continue the trend throughout the day, including mealtimes.
  6. Schedule a wellness checkup with your primary care physician (PCP). A primary care physician will help you stay healthy, manage illness and prevent disease. It’s important to have your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, BMI checked regularly. Adults who aren’t able to consistently see a doctor are recommended to have a full health check-up with their PCP annually or every two years.Insight:
    Staying up-to-date on health screenings is essential in maintaining health and preventing illness. Ask your doctor for a list of general health screening recommendations to prioritize the need for scheduling an appointment.By placing yourself on the road to better health, the benefits will be far-reaching:

    • An improved sense of well-being
    • More energy and ambition
    • An improved mood
    • A boosted sense of confidence
    • Less stress
    • A clearer mind
    • Fewer physical ailments

To learn how a Health Coach can assist you in taking steps toward better health, please contact us.

Disclaimer: The information presented is for your general knowledge and does not replace the advice of a physician. All medical inquiries regarding your health should be presented to a physician.