Health & Wellness Corner: Eight Tips to Boost Personal Health
Blessings to you and yours during the next few months! In these warmer, longer, lazier days of summer, the living may not be easy, but your life probably feels less chaotic. Even adults tend to let their hair down as children are out of school and summer activities begin. This is also a perfect seasonal time to improve your health. Here are 8 Summer Steps for Healthy Living from eight health experts in fields such as diet, fitness, stress, vision and oral health. They were asked this question: If you could only suggest one simple change this season to boost personal health, what would it be? Here are their top eight tips. You might be surprised at how effortless this is.
1. Give Your Diet a Berry Boost
If you do one thing this summer to improve your diet, have a cup of mixed berries every day. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, black berries. They help load you up with antioxidants which can help prevent damage to tissues and reduce the risks of age-related illnesses. Berries are high in fiber which helps lower cholesterol and may prevent some cancers. Blueberries and blackberries in particular are especially antioxidant rich.
2. Get Dirty and Stress Less
Plant a small garden, cultivate a flower box, or plant a few pots indoors and out. It can improve stress levels by focusing your attention elsewhere relieving both physical and mental stress. Appreciating nature and the spiritual beauty of one’s surroundings is soulful and relaxing.
3. Floss Daily
You know we need to, and the dentist will never tire of telling us this. Now is the time to start. Floss every single day. Do it at the beach, while reading on the patio, taking a walk or watching TV. Flossing reduces oral bacteria. It not only improves overall body health- but if low- your body has more resources to fight bacteria elsewhere in your body. Floss daily and you will be doing at least 85% more for your health than others who do not.
4. Get Outside to Exercise
Pick one outdoor activity- going on a hike, taking a walk, playing games such as tag with your kids, cycling, roller blading or swimming. This gets you out of the boring routine of gym workouts and being indoors. The family that plays together gets fit together and creates bonding time.
5. Be Good to Your Eyes
To protect your vision at work and play, wear protective eyewear. When outdoors, wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV A and B rays. Sunglasses can help prevent cataracts, as well as wrinkles around the eyes. Ask your eye doctor about the best type of sport specific eyewear when mowing the lawn or playing certain sports.
6. Vacation Time!
Improve your heart health: take advantage of summer’s slower schedule by using your vacation time to unwind. Vacations have multiple benefits: they can help lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones such as cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels contribute to weight gain and increases risk for heart disease.
7. Alcohol: Go Lite!
Summertime is a great time to skip drinks with hard alcohol and choose a light, chilled alcoholic beverage (unless pregnant or other health issues) such as a sangria (table wine diluted with juice), a cold beer, or a wine spritzer. They are all refreshing and light. In moderation – defined as one to two drinks daily — can help protect against heart disease. Water (with twist of lemon or lime) Sun tea and flavored sparkling waters work well also if one is bored with alternatives and want a non-alcohol beverage.
8. Sleep Well
Resist the urge to stay up later during long summer days. Instead pay attention to good sleep hygiene by keeping the same bedtime and wake-up schedule and not drinking alcohol within three hours of bedtime.
Gracious Father, author of all health and salvation, inspire in us a willingness to be intentional towards improving our health and wellness during these next months. We pray also, that in our feeble attempts to see health anew, that our efforts will be acceptable in your sight. Restore us to health and wholeness according to your will as we ask these things in Jesus Christ name. AMEN
– The Rev. Dn Stephanie Ulrich, RN, SD, Minister of Health All Saints Episcopal Church