Wednesday, October 2, 2013

5 Small Tips for Improved Health

All throughout college I've tried to live a healthier life. As a result, I've lost 45 lbs (and counting!) Each month or so I try to think how I can improve my general health. Normally it involves trying a new vegetable I see in the grocery store, or taking an extra walk a day, but it's the little things that add up. Here are a few of my tips for improving your health.

1. Floss your teeth at least once a day. It's so silly, but hardly anyone flosses. I started flossing because two cavities in one year was too much for me! Since then (about three years ago) I havent had a cavity at all. This tip will help improve your health, as well as your savings account!

2. Wash your hands the second you get home. Any nurse will tell you that washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to keep the flu at bay. Try to get into the habit. It's pretty easy for me since I've been doing it for years. Live in the dorms? Or a shared bathroom? Even more reason to wash your hands when you get back to your room (or use hand sanitizer if you don't have a sink in your dorm room).

3. Take some "me time." For good mental health I definitely am someone who needs a lot of "me time." My freshman year of college I didn't have a bathtub because I lived in the dorms with community bathrooms. I thought I was going to die knowing I would have to wait until I visited my parents to get the luxury of a bath again (you can bet it increased my visits home) :) I realized that the little things really add up, and many times you don't even realize something is a luxury until you are without it. Once I had a bathtub (finally!) my senior year of college and during grad school, I would take a bath for about 30 minutes each night. It was my time to be "unplugged and unavailable" to the world. Try it. It's really nice. Some people use their exercise time a their "me time"...whatever it is you find enjoyable, do it in small doses, and really enjoy it.

4. Get moving! I mean like "I like to move it move it (move it!)" and exercise daily. My bad back has taught me that you are never too young to have a health failure. If you just go for a small 20 minute walk after dinner each night it will totally help keep your body well-oiled and functioning well. Also, your body releases natural endorphins when you exercise. I remember reading many articles in my educational psychology class about how girls found group exercise classes (like Zumba, yoga, spin classes, etc.) psychologically more uplifting, and made them feel good about themselves. They enjoyed the group fitness classes better than working out alone, or even with a buddy. Males preferred individual workouts as compared to group workouts. If you are a female, maybe join that barre class you've had your eye on Groupon for for the past few weeks. If you're a male, hit the trails with a run, or--classic--pump some iron in your garage with a buddy.

5. Drink lots of water! I drink three 24 oz water bottles full of water each day (plus about 12 oz per meal). I'm on Weight Watchers right now and in order to loose weight you have to drink lots of water. However, even if you are not trying to loose weight, your body will feel so much better if you stay hydrated. I saw a post on Instagram yesterday that said "Happy CHUGtober Fest!" and had a picture of a gallon of water with various time markings by which to drink the water during the day. Whatever works for you. I never leave the house without my water bottle. Seriously.
     Another thing--not sure if this is true for most people, but it seemed to help me-- during high school and college while my friends were breaking out with acne I had amazingly clear skin. I love my skin; it loves me. I think we have such a good relationship because I give my body so much water daily.

What are some small things you do to improve your health?

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