SIOUX FALLS, SD (Dakota News Now) – Family physician Dr. Kate Boos of Avera Health says there are four simple ways to improve your health outside of a clinic.
1) Easy to exercise
“I encourage people to aim for a goal of 30 minutes of exercise most days a week, but we can absolutely start low and slow down if it’s new to you. Whether it’s walking 10 minutes every day, increasing that to 5-10 minutes a week, and achieving that goal is one way to start. Another option is to do a home workout routine or join a fitness class. know that working out is going to release these feel-good hormones, things like serotonin and dopamine, so that’s going to help improve your mood.The other thing that really helps is if you’re working out on your own, it will give you more solitude. You can really process and reflect on some things, but if you work out in a group it also helps because you will create a connection. We know that exercise has cardiovascular benefits, so it will help to your health re heart. Things like muscle strength and flexibility, it’s going to help your balance, which will help reduce your risk of falling. As you age, falls become more of a concern, especially if there is osteopenia and osteoporosis. Regular weight-bearing exercises will also help improve your bone strength.
2) Make sleep a priority
“Two other things we can really focus on are making sleep a priority. I think that’s something we understand better now. Sleep is really when your body has a chance to rest, recharge and regenerate, so we really encourage you to try and get a minimum of seven to eight hours each night. I talk with patients about focusing on a nighttime routine. Things like avoiding caffeine in the afternoon or early evening, or avoiding screen time. Screens of all kinds, whether laptops or iPads, or your phone, tend to emit blue light, which is very energizing for your brain. So we really want to avoid that screen time in an hour or two before bedtime. Finally, try to make sure your room is dark and quiet.
3) Eat healthier
“Another habit would be to eat healthy. It’s something I talk about with patients day in and day out. I really try to focus on making sure we don’t view food as good or bad. [Instead] is this food going to be a good choice to fuel my body for what i need to do? We think of food as fuel, and our body is the engine, so prioritize fruits and vegetables. These are very nutrient-dense foods that are low in calories, healthy fats, lean proteins, and whole grains. Try to cut down on processed foods, especially those high in sugar. When I speak with my patients who have really succeeded in losing weight, one of the main things they tell me they did to lose that weight was to reduce their sugar intake and increase their water intake. Another thing we can do is make sure we stay well hydrated. I think most of us live in a chronic state of dehydration and water really helps our bodies reduce inflammation and function at their best. I also think that we sometimes misunderstand the signals our bodies are giving us. Our body may be telling us that we are thirsty, but we interpret that as if we are hungry. Drinking more water can also help reduce weight if you eat too much. There are certain health conditions where people are subject to fluid restrictions. If this applies to you, talk to your doctor first; otherwise, eating healthy is a really good way to reduce your weight, reduce your inflammation, and overall feel better.
4) Manage your habits
“Finally, if you have habits you want to change, perhaps you use tobacco or alcohol, and are looking to cut down or abstain. Please come and talk to your provider, we can help you put in place a strategy to help you achieve these goals.
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