How to Take Control of Your Physical Health
If you’re feeling ready to take control of your physical health, you may have felt out of control for some time. Maybe you have an irregular work schedule, or maybe you have trouble eating healthy because you’re busy all the time. No matter the reason, you might find yourself feeling like your health is coming in last place on your list of priorities.
It’s time to make a change. A few small changes every day can help you make major strides in taking control of your physical health. The XXX steps below will guide you along your journey and help you focus on what matters most.
- Move your body
Experts are now saying that sitting is the new smoking. According to a Washington Post article, the average U.S. adult sits for six-and-a-half hours every day, and teens sit for an average of eight hours per day.
The issue at hand is not the sitting itself but the consequences of not moving. Extensive research links inactive lifestyles to increase risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, osteoporosis and falls, and increased feelings of depression and anxiety.
So, what is one to do? Move your body! The kind of exercise doesn’t matter much. What matters is getting 30 minutes of moderate-to-high intensity exercise five times per week as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Build and maintain muscle
The CDC also recommends that you engage in muscle-strengthening activities two or more days per week. Focus on strengthening the major muscle groups in your body: legs, hips, back, chest, abdominals, shoulders, and arms. Keeping your muscles, bones, and joints strong will lead to improved long-term health while also making you feel great in the moment.
- Consider your metabolism
Harvard Health defines metabolism as “the internal process by which your body expends energy and burns calories.” Your metabolism functions 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Your metabolism is typically determined by your genetics, but it is worth paying attention to as you take control of your physical health.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
The World Health Organization recommends a healthy combination of fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. The 80 Diet 20 Exercise theory suggests that physical health, fitness, and weight loss is 80% a matter of a healthy, well-balanced diet and 20% exercise. Also essential in a healthy, well-balanced diet is reducing intake of salt, sugar, and harmful fats.
- Reduce stress
Stress is the way that the body reacts to challenging situations. Though some stress can be a positive force that helps you through demanding situations, other stress is unhealthy, especially when experienced for a long period of time.
Eating healthy and exercising can help reduce stress, and reducing triggers of stress can also help you avoid feeling overwhelmed. Cleveland Clinic says that by practicing time-management skills, asking for help, setting priorities, pacing yourself, and taking care of yourself, you’ll be able to reduce stress and free up your time to focus on your health.
- Quit unhealthy habits
Habits like drinking alcohol and smoking are destructive tendencies that will only lead to more problems within your overall health. Though a glass of wine every once in a while is not a problem, drinking to excess and smoking are both habits that contribute to a host of health problems. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction or heavy drinking, the American Addiction Centers can help.
Other unhealthy habits that could be worth quitting include excessive sugar consumption, excessive salt consumption, and living a sedentary lifestyle. By reducing sugar and salt consumption, standing up for five minutes during every hour that you are awake, and going for a brisk 30-minute walk every day, you will increase the quality of your life and the length of your life.
- Get enough high-quality sleep
Many people forget the importance of sleep in a healthy lifestyle. The Sleep Foundation recommends that the average adult aim to sleep between seven and nine hours per night. Sleep is essential to functioning. The Sleep Foundation says, “Sleep powers the mind, restores the body, and fortifies virtually every system.” Without getting enough high-quality sleep, any of the steps you take above will not be nearly as effective.
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When you are ready to take control of your physical health, this list will be here for you. Your health is one of the things about your life that is within your control. By taking a few small steps every day, you’ll be well on your way to