3 Surprising Ways to Improve Your Health in Everyday Life
We are excited to feature a guest blogger this week, Jennifer McGregor from PublicHealthLibrary.org.
Living a healthy life doesn't have to be complicated. The best way to maintain good health is to adopt everyday habits that promote a strong body and mind. In addition to eating a well-balanced diet and staying active, here are three things you can do to promote good health for life.
Drink More Water
Staying hydrated is one of the easiest and cheapest things you can do to improve your health. Water is essential for nearly every bodily function. Without proper hydration, your brain, circulation, muscles and digestion all suffer.
Drinking water throughout the day is the best way to ensure your body stays hydrated. Don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink water: Carry a refillable water bottle to sip on throughout the day, order water with meals and eat water-rich foods such as fresh fruits, non-starchy vegetables and soups.
Get to Know Your Microbiome
Researchers are discovering that the gut microbiome influences everything from our digestion to our moods. What exactly is a gut microbiome? It's the collection of microbes that reside in your digestive system, and its makeup varies from person to person. In a healthy microbiome, microbes help your body digest food, fight illness and infection and regulate neurotransmitters that influence your emotional wellness.
Some foods are better for your microbiome than others. While alcohol, gluten and processed foods can upset the balance of the microbiome, fermented foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and probiotic and prebiotic supplements help maintain a healthy microbiome. Include gut-friendly foods in your diet and limit consumption of foods that negatively impact the microbiome. Remember that everyone's gut microbiome is different, and it may take some trial and error to find the foods that work best with your body.
Bend at the Hips
Poor posture gets most of the blame for back pain, but it might not be the only culprit. If you've upgraded to a sit-stand desk and diligently practice good posture but you're still experiencing back pain, take a closer look at how you bend over.
When you bend to pick up an item off the floor, is your back straight or is it bent into a C-shape? If your spine curves when you bend, it could be contributing to back pain. Instead of bending at the waist and curving your spine, use the hip hinge method of bending over. With a hip hinge, you bend at the hips and keep your back straight, engaging the hamstrings as you bend. NPR explains the method in greater detail. If your hamstrings are tight, it might take some practice to achieve a full bend with the hip hinge method. When you do, your back will thank you.
You don't need to sign up for expensive meal plans or fitness classes to achieve good health. By making mindful decisions on a daily basis, you can create a healthy lifestyle without the gimmicks.