Making every day a healthy day is easier than you may think. Contrary to popular belief, our overall health is more than just being free of a disease or a chronic illness. Your community affects your health as much or more.
Respondents to a new survey conducted by the Aetna Foundation say that local aspects have a large effect on their personal health. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that a person’s zip code is a greater indicator of an individual’s health and longevity. However, there are small, everyday steps you can take to make a big impact on your overall health. Follow these and you can make every day a healthy day.
Healthy day tip: Incorporate 30 minutes of exercise
Forty-nine percent of Americans say they exercise to improve their overall health. Getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day can make a big difference in your weight and help you feel more energized. Participation in aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities like power walking, Zumba, lifting weights and biking help maintain a healthy weight and can fend off obesity-related illnesses. You can also visit your local community or recreational center for sports activities, take advantage of a bike path close by your home, or even go for a walk in your neighborhood park.
Healthy day tip: Drink more water and plan your meals
Make sure that you’re consuming the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and water each day. Planning your meals ahead of time can help you incorporate healthier food options for your snacks and meals. Fifty-three percent of Americans say they are willing to grow their own fruits and vegetables in order to have healthier meals. Drinking water throughout the day instead of sugary sodas and juices helps your body keep its temperature normal, lubricates and cushions joints, protects the spinal cord and sensitive tissues and helps prevent weight creep. Seventy-three percent of Americans agree they need to drink plenty of water in order to have a healthy day.
Healthy day tip: Step away for small breaks
Your health also includes your emotional health and well-being. More than eight in ten Americans agree their mood and stress level has an equal impact on their overall health as the food they consume. Life can get busy and overwhelming, but simple acts like taking a few deep breathes, standing and stretching or taking a walk can help calm the mind and relieve stress. When you have an understanding of what makes you emotionally at your best, you have better days at work and school.
Healthy day tip: Put your smart phone and yourself in sleep mode
The amount of sleep you get can have a direct impact on your mood and health. Sixty-four percent of Americans agree they need at least eight hours of sleep every night. Try to create a relaxing bedtime routine or develop a sleep schedule to help you get the best night’s rest possible, including unplugging from electronics and devices an hour or more before bed time for the best night’s sleep.
Healthy day tip: Get involved in your relationships
Over nine in ten Americans say they are willing to take action to have a healthier environment. Positive relationships can positively affect health. With a strong support system, you can also help each other make healthier choices and organize ways to stay on course.
A few ideas: Get a group of friends together and organize a weekly walk, plan neighborhood recycling contest, visit a relative, register for a fitness event, sign up for a volunteer program, attend a community meeting, create a local garden or take public transit to your next group outing.
Health is influenced by more than what happens in the doctor’s office. Changing small habits can make a lasting difference in your health. To learn more about ways that cities and counties near you are making a difference, visit www.HealthiestCities.org.