Thursday, December 3, 2015

TruStage Tips: Four Easy Ways to Improve Your Health

The New Year is right around the corner. So, many Americans are planning to make lifestyle changes to improve their health. But why wait until January 1?

The following four tips can lead to a healthier day-to-day without interfering (too much) with your holiday season.

  1. Get more sleep.
    According to a 2013 Gallup Poll, 40 percent of U.S. adults are getting less than the recommended seven to eight hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep every night. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that adults who sleep enough see several health benefits. This includes lower frequencies of illness, healthier weights, reduced stress levels, improved moods, clearer thinking and lower risks of high blood pressure and diabetes.

    To improve your sleeping habits, you can:
    • Commit to a schedule of going to bed and waking up around the same time each day. 
    • Avoid caffeine within eight hours of bedtime. 
    • Limit large meals, exercise and alcohol within three hours of bedtime. 
    • Avoid using smartphone and tablet screens before bed. 
    • Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature.

  2. Change your eating (and drinking) habits.
    Today’s fast-paced world doesn’t always allow for home-cooked meals and hours spent prepping a week’s worth of healthy lunches. But, making slight changes to your eating habits can have a positive impact on your health.

    For starters, be sure to drink enough water. Since the human body is made up of about 60% water, it’s no wonder a common side effect of dehydration is tiredness and fatigue. There's no straightforward formula for calculating recommended water intake, as it varies from person to person based on age, gender, activity level and environmental conditions, among other factors.

    To increase your water intake, carry a water bottle with you for easy access. Drink water immediately after waking up, with and between each meal and before, during and after you exercise. Also, eat more water-dense fruits and vegetables like watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers and celery.

    Another healthy move to consider is increasing the amount of antioxidants and Omega-3s you have in your meals. Antioxidant-rich foods like berries, kale, spinach and garlic, and the Omega-3s in foods like salmon, nuts and seeds. This can help strengthen and protect your eyes, reduce risk of heart disease and improve your mood.

  3. Get moving.
    No time to get to the gym? There are many other ways to get in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, as recommended by the American Heart Association. Even a daily 30 minute walk can do wonders for your health, including lowering your risk of blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
    If you’re like 86% of American workers, the majority of your workday is spent sitting. To make up for this lack of activity on weekdays, consider parking farther away from your workplace, using the stairs instead of an elevator and making an effort to get up and take a brief walk every hour or so. Any activity is better than no activity!

  4. Laugh more!
    Whether chuckling at a meme you saw online or sharing belly laughs with a friend, the simple act of laughing has many health benefits. In the short term, it can activate and relieve your stress response and soothe tension through improved circulation and muscle relaxation. Over the long term, it can improve your immune system, relieve pain, increase personal satisfaction and elevate your mood.

Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday season!

These tips are compliments of TruStage, an insurance option for credit union members with a service-first spirit and a commitment to doing business the right way. Find out more about how you can count on us to help protect what matters most here.