Do you want to improve your health without too much extra effort? Who wouldn’t want to take positive steps to improve their mental and physical well-being?
Fortunately, you don’t need to train for a marathon to make gains. Here are nine things you can do today to be healthier.
1. Practice Sound Oral Hygiene
Your smile is much more than a luxury or a cosmetic concern. The conditions in your mouth can impact your overall health. The bacteria P. gingivalis can travel from your mouth to the brain, where it contributes to the formation of beta-amyloid protein, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, that same germ can inflame your arteries and veins, raising your blood pressure and risk of heart disease.
You should brush your teeth at least twice per day, making one trip to the bathroom a full job, complete with floss and rinse. If you find the string style of floss painful, why not investigate a water flosser that also cleans between your teeth where bacteria can hide but your toothbrush can’t reach? It takes only a few minutes a day to reduce your disease risk from inadequate oral hygiene.
2. Dine Alfresco
Depending on your comfort level, you might still avoid eating in restaurants or even the office breakroom. Dining requires you to remove your mask — something that can legitimately frighten those with medical conditions who run a high risk of complications from COVID-19.
However, you can decrease your infectious disease risk and reap additional health benefits by taking your lunch or dinner outside. Even staring at pictures of natural scenery can lower your stress levels and make you more productive. Taking your lunch to the park could bring you back to the office with more energy for your afternoon.
3. Phone a Friend
Loneliness is more than an unpleasant feeling. It can increase your risk of death from all causes, especially if you are in poor health.
Cultivate positive social relationships with others. Why not call that old friend from college whom you haven’t spoken with in forever? The interaction will do you both good.
4. Enjoy a Cuppa
Do you drink cup after cup of coffee to get through your morning? You could improve your overall health by substituting a cup of green tea or chamomile for one of them.
A recent Chinese study reveals that those who drink tea three or more times a week cut their risk of heart attack or stroke by 20% over those who never or rarely indulge. Green tea seemed to have the biggest preventative effect.
5. Shop Your Farmer’s Market
Eating organic offers multiple health benefits for the planet and your family. It keeps the soil free of artificial pesticides and other chemicals. Plus, you don’t put the residue in your body.
Your local farmer’s market is your one-stop-shop for the freshest organic produce around. You’ll also get more vitamins and minerals than you would with fruits and vegetables shipped in from far away. These foods begin to lose their nutrients three days after harvest, so those grown on nearby farms are richer in what your body needs.
6. Take a Walk
Walking is a fantastic form of exercise that nearly anyone can do for free. It’s also one way to take charge of your mental health. The next time you feel overwhelmed with emotions, try getting your body in motion. Doing so soothes your body’s flight response, helping mitigate stress hormone levels.
Why not use a post-dinner walk to strengthen your bond with your partner? Getting moving will aid your digestion and give you a chance to talk free from distractions like the evening news on TV.
If you want to keep your brain sharp, dancing is one of the best activities you can do. Researchers investigated various pastimes to see which had the most preventative effect against dementia and Alzheimer’s. Dance came out the clear winner because you work your neuroplasticity by combining physical movement with following the steps.
Best of all, this exercise form is also free. All you need to do is dock your iPhone and boogie down in your living room.
Volunteering is another excellent way to improve your mental health. Performing acts of kindness releases a flood of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin that help bust depression.
You can even help out virtually if you’re still isolating due to COVID-19. Plenty of organizations need helpers with phone and text banking to raise funds and awareness.
Meditation is one of the best ways to improve your mental health. Everyone needs time out of their day to explore their inner dimensions and reflect.
You can get started in just a few minutes per day. Many practitioners recommend starting with no more than two to three minutes. All you need is a quiet place where you can sit and clear your mind. As thoughts intrude, take note of each one in a non-judgmental way, then release it.
This process helps you recognize that your thoughts alone won’t harm you. You’ll increase mental clarity and become more mindful during daily decision-making.
Do These 9 Things Today to Be Healthier
You don’t have to train for a marathon or embark on a restrictive diet to improve your well-being. Do these nine things today to be healthier tomorrow.