Boost your health in 5 simple steps

By Pharmacy Advantage RX

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As the year ends and everyone is in the middle of the holiday over-indulgence, you might recognize the need to improve your health. The good news is you already know how: Exercise and eat right. The bad news is you’ve known how for years but still haven’t done anything about it … until now.

Here are five of the simplest ways to do it…

No. 5: Drink more fluids

You may have heard the “rule” that everybody should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Of course, that recommendation seems to vary depending on which study you are reading at the time.

In reality, the Institute of Medicine suggests around 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day for men and 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) for women. Thus, the Mayo Clinic suggests that the old “8 by 8” rule should, at the very least, be clarified as a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid per day, since all fluids count toward your daily total.

No. 4: Keep a food journal

Writing down everything you eat makes you accountable and helps develop discipline (if your initial reaction to this idea is you couldn’t possibly write down everything you eat because it would give you blisters, then you really need to write down what you eat).

According to a study from Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research, keeping a food journal DOUBLES the effectiveness of dieting.

Seeing “I ate 37 ice cream bars, 12 doughnuts, a cheeseburger, Crisco, and a diet Coke for lunch” written down forces one to evaluate his or her eating habits and change them.

No. 3: Eat vegetables

Eating a serving of vegetables at every meal. Whether it be  a pile of peas next to the side of beef or lettuce and tomato on a bacon sandwich, incorporating vegetables into your diet  will help you not overeat. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out, the water and fiber in vegetables will add volume to your dishes, so you can eat the same amount of food with fewer calories.

In addition to filling your stomach, vegetables contain vitamins. Vitamins support the enzymes that convert proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy, which means you won’t feel sluggish and hungry 14 seconds after lunch.

No. 2: Exercise

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise improves your mood — long term and short term.

Exercise lessens your risk of chronic disease, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other conditions  common among the obese. Exercise also boosts energy levels, which can lead to being twice as productive as you would be without the extra activity.

No. 1: Sleep

Nothing can be simpler than sleeping. You turn off the light. You lay down. You close your eyes. Who would have guessed sleeping could be one of the five simple ways to improve your health?

So why do we all get so little of it?

Harvard Medical School reports that sleep helps with metabolism and maintaining proper weight. It improves memory and mood, increases safety, improves cardiovascular health and decreases the likelihood of getting sick. Maintaining a consistent pattern of sleep — including the times and  conditions in which you sleep — provides maximum sleep benefits.

Well, what are you waiting for? Grab some water, a pen and paper, some vegetables, a gym membership as well as a pillow to start improving your health today.