With the New Year upon us, now is the time to make some important lifestyle changes that can help keep you healthy and fit.
“We want the patients we serve to be as healthy as possible,” states Dr. Louis Rice, physician-in-chief of Brown Medicine. “This is a perfect time of year to reflect on what lifestyle changes are needed for you to achieve maximum health, and to resolve to make those changes. Every little behavioral change can add up to a new habit that can have a big, healthier payoff. It’s all about choices.”
Following are 5 suggestions to consider to help you make healthier choices in your life:
Find ways to add activity to your daily routine. While watching your favorite TV show, march in place during the commercials. At the office, stand up when taking a phone call. Park further away from your workplace so you have to walk to your vehicle. Take the stairs. Walk around the block and get some fresh air, or sit while doing arm movements to get your blood flowing.
Add an extra fruit or vegetable to at least one meal per day. Avoid as many processed foods as possible. Spend more time shopping for food around the perimeter of a grocery store instead of in the snack aisle. Eat a handful of dried fruit and nuts if you are in need of a boost of energy instead of a sugary drink.
Exercise your lungs and increase their capacity by doing slow, deep breathing at least once per day. The simple task of breathing we often take for granted can help decrease stress, calm nerves, improve immunity, lower blood pressure and heart rate, aid in digestion, and more.
Reflect on what you are thankful for and experience gratitude. Slow down, focus your brain and be mindful of the moment in which you are living. Doing this for even five minutes per day can be beneficial to your body and mind.
Research shows that being around others can improve one’s health, happpiness and longevity. Join a group, accept that party invitation, pick up the phone and have a conversation with someone, or just put a smile on your face when out doing errands. Increasing social activity and behaviors can help add purpose to your life, support for when you need it most, and can also be beneficial to someone else with whom you’re sharing your time.