Three Things You Can Do to Feel Healthier Right Now
When it comes to how you feel and even how you look, there are times when you know you’re ready to do what it takes to turn the corner on feeling healthier.
How do you know when you’ve reached that point? It might be after months of video calls and wearing stretchy pants, you have trouble zipping yourself into your office wardrobe. Or the day you can feel the extra weight on your body as you’re hiking a trail with your kids – are you normally breathing this hard?
Making a commitment to getting healthier can cover a whole range of things, from what you eat to how much exercise and sleep you get. While you can’t wave a magic wellness wand over every aspect of your life, there are some small steps that can make a difference in how you look and feel in as little as a week. Here are some changes you can start making today:
Become a fiber fan. Every time you fork up some salad or sit down to a bowl of oatmeal, you are boosting your fiber intake. Dietary fiber is found primarily in whole-grain foods, vegetables and fruits. And while there are lots of jokes made around food that “keeps you regular,” getting enough fiber can help you maintain a healthy weight, according to the Mayo Clinic. More than that, it can lower your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and even some types of cancer. Getting fiber from foods you eat, not supplements, is important. The American Heart Association recommends adults eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. Right now, the average person in the U.S. gets about half of that. Some ways to increase your fiber intake:
- Choose whole-grain breads and cereals.
- Eat brown rice instead of white rice.
- Add beans into your meals two or three times a week.
- Try to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Refill that water glass. If you have to strain to recall how much water you’ve had today, you’re probably not drinking enough. A simple guideline is to drink water with each meal and between meals, too. Your body needs to stay hydrated to feel its best. Not drinking enough water can lead to headaches, muscle pain and irritability. Yes, staying hydrated can help make our skin look great. But it does other things behind the scenes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Water helps lubricate and cushion our joints, and it protects our spinal cord. Going water-only for beverages during the day can also boost weight loss. Swapping it for a sugary soda or coffee drink can cut hundreds of calories a day.
Exercise by the numbers. An after-dinner stroll around the neighborhood is good for you, but it’s not the kind of exercise that will help you lose weight, or even maintain a healthy weight, experts say. You need to know the numbers and match your exercise level to what you’re trying to accomplish: To maintain your current weight, you need about 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, like brisk walking or biking at a casual pace, according to the CDC. If you prefer high-intensity exercise like jogging or swimming laps, you will need about 75 minutes a week. But if your goal is losing weight, you need to combine a healthy eating plan with a higher amount of physical activity. By doing that, you’ll start to see noticeable results.
To see a handy chart of activities and calories burned, check here.
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