Key Health Checks to See If You Are Up or Down
By Sandy Schroeder
As the year ends, it’s easy to slip into less-than-perfect health habits. Now may be the time to make sure you are on the right track with a quick review.
Sleep routines – Going to bed at the same time every night whenever possible gives you a much better shot at getting the 7 to 9 hours that most people need. Using lots of outdoor daylight and exercise can make a quiet nighttime much more likely. Setting up a quiet period just before bedtime, eliminating electronics in the bedroom, and using air filters to create white noise will help, too. Making sure your mattress and pillows are up to par and installing light-blocking drapes may also help you rest well.
Stress reduction – It can be tempting to power through busy days and equally busy weekends, but everyone needs some good stress outlets. Make sure you are allowing time for daily walks, yoga routines, or relaxed time with your family and friends. Hobbies, music, sports, or time outside can also help to keep your energy up and your stress down.
Regular fitness routines – A good target is 30 minutes a day of physical activity. When your schedule becomes overloaded it is easy to let that routine slip away, but dividing it up into 10-minute segments for walking, strength exercises, or stretching will keep you moving. You can also make a point of inserting 30 minutes as part of your lunch break, or insert 15 minutes early in the morning to walk around the block, and 15 minutes after work to walk the dog with your kids. Gradually, as a time fits well in your schedule, it may stick and become a natural habit.
Healthy eating – Diet can be an especially slippery issue as the year rolls to a close. Too much sugar, too many goodies, too many elaborate dinners or special parties tend to add weight and subtract willpower. Often I catch myself picking up more dips, special cheeses, and other treats, while I could be loading up the cart with healthier choices such as boxes of little tangerines, leafy greens, boxes of nuts, low fat cheeses, and fresh salsas. Start with your preferences and opt for the healthiest versions.
Water levels – Lots of coffees, sodas, wines, cocktails and sweetened juices can easily displace water consumption. Try to drink a glass of water for each glass of wine or beer that you have. Whenever you can, opt for sparkling water or sugar-free teas and juices.
As you check your health habits, give yourself credit for all of the healthy moves that you have made this past year.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Madison, Wis.