3 Easy Ways to Keep Your Health On Track
By Sandy Schroeder
If one day seems to blend right into the next, your schedule may leave little room for healthy extras. But there are key tips that could be worth the effort.
Recently the Harvard medical community suggested trying farmers markets, activity trackers and mindful meditation. See what you think.
Farmers Markets Are Fun
Farmers markertsmake shopping and cooking fun again. I always try new vegetables, and buy twice as many fresh fruits when I visit mine. Eggplant parmesan is one of my favorite casseroles, and I never fail to come home with a glossy purple eggplant with plans for a great dinner.
Research from the Harvard School of Public Health found shoppers at inner-city farmers markets drank less sugary sodas and bought more vegetables when they tried their farmers markets.
Shopping locally means less energy is needed to produce the food, and your community benefits from the sales. As you enjoy the fresh-picked choices, you may also meet local growers, find out how the food was grown, and pick up a few new recipes.
Activity Trackers Are A Helpful Nudge
More than 13 million wearable activity trackers were sold in the United States in 2015. Users record the number of steps they take and the minutes of activity they put in daily. Costs range around $100, and may seem high, but when you consider research findings that link physical activity to a lowered risk for heart attack, diabetes, stroke and many cancers, an activity tracker might be a smart investment.
According to researchers, the devices are so successful in keeping people active because the feedback in the data serves as a constant reminder. If you are trying to do the recommended 10,000 steps a day, an activity tracker might push those numbers up when you are tempted to shut down.
Mindfulness Meditation Lowers the Volume
If you are want to try meditation, or already do breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation could be another useful step. Everybody from students to executives to the military are using mindfulness meditation. There are books and classes available, but the approach can be as simple as finding a quiet spot, sitting down and focusing on your surroundings as you let your thoughts roll by, unjudged.
Health experts tell us concentrating on the present moment, and processing it nonjudgmentally, can help to put worries about the future or regrets from the past into perspective. It can help to form deeper connections with others and fight stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders or substance abuse. It may encourage better sleep, lower blood pressure or help with chronic pain.
As your busy days continue, trying one of these tips, or all three, might be just what you need to stay active, eat better, and rethink the day. Enjoy!