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LET'S GET HEALTHY

Toni-Ann DiSantis

LET'S GET HEALTHY

Being healthier doesn't have to mean revamping your entire routine. Sometimes, all it takes are a few simple changes. It’s all about the small moves you make that reap huge health benefits down the road. Remember, these tips are starting places. Don’t jump into them all at once. If some of these tips don’t work for you, move on and try something that does.   Little changes can bring big results.  

1. Say good morning with lemon water

Lemon water is easy to prepare and has a couple of health benefits. It’s as simple as waking up and squeezing some lemon into a tall glass of water. The mixture helps improve your immunity because of the vitamin C and encourages digestion. Many people feel tired because they are dehydrated, so this is an easy way to make you drink more water. But remember, lemon has citric acid, which can erode tooth enamel. Try drinking lemon water with a straw and rinse your mouth afterwards to avoid the citric acid effects.

2. Do a refrigerator makeover

When you’re hungry, you’re more likely to grab a quick and easy snack, which often isn’t the healthiest. Try putting the healthier foods front and center in your fridge, keeping the indulgent foods out of sight, and doing some prep work. The technical term for this is “choice architecture.” Instead of keeping the fresh fruits and veggies in the crisper, put them in clear containers at eye-level — those will grab your attention when you open the door. It’s also helpful to do a weekly inventory check. Throw out those takeout containers, because they may fuel your eating habits.

3. Try 'deskercises'

Avoid being a couch potato! Or rather, a work potato. There are waves of research that report having a more sedentary lifestyle puts you at increased risk of negative health effects compared to living a more active routine. Just because you’re spending 9 to 5 at the office doesn’t mean sabotaging your health. Get moving, no matter how briefly. Also, stop stress and channel your mood with these simple “deskercises:”

Chair squats: To work out those glutes, stand about 6 inches in front of your chair and lower yourself down until your butt hits the edge, then pop back up. Repeat.

Book press: To tone those triceps, grab the heaviest book you can find around the office. With your elbows overhead, hold the book behind your head. Slowly lower the book down by your neck and then extend your arms up. Remember to keep elbows close to your ears. Repeat.

4. Boost brain power with chocolate

Sounds too good to be true, right? Research shows you can increase your alertness by eating dark chocolate. That’s thanks to flavanols, which are key components in dark chocolates. They work in dilating blood vessels, which allows more oxygen and blood to reach important parts of the brain. You also feel happier and more content. Flavanols are also found naturally in tea leaves and in certain fruits and vegetables, but the amounts vary.

5. Treat yourself with a massage

Let go of  stress and treat yourself. The healing touch actually has some scientific backing. According to Mayo Clinic, studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate it’s an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. Massage is generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine. It’s even used in physical therapy.  Massages reduce headaches and other pains since we carry a lot of stress in our neck and shoulders. They don’t need to last an hour to reap the benefits — 10-15 minutes works well. But they are not for everyone; if it feels painful or uncomfortable steer clear.

6. Buddy up

Find a health or fitness buddy, a friend, colleague or spouse who holds you accountable to agreed workouts and meals. You see this system in weight loss programs all the time where you build a sense of community. You and your health buddy can motivate each other while staying on track to a healthier lifestyle. Sharing your goals with others makes you want to achieve them.  This encourages people and breaks up the boredom. Making it a social event hopefully motivates people to keep doing more of it. This encourages people and breaks up the boredom. Making it a social event hopefully motivates people to keep doing more of it.