Published on Iowa Healthiest State Initiative

As spring begins, it’s a perfect time to start practicing healthy habits. Sometimes it can be difficult to jump into a completely healthy lifestyle when you’ve been out of practice. Try doing one thing a day and adding more as time goes on. Be realistic with your goals and don’t overwhelm yourself with everything at once. Here are a few general health tips that you can start implementing into your daily routine today!

· Eat nutritious food:  When thinking about healthy living, a topic that often comes to mind is eating healthier food to lose weight, but it’s important to recognize healthy eating is good for you in ways other than weight loss. It’s also great for ensuring ideal dental and vision health. Attempt to eat foods from all food groups during the day to have optimal energy. Try frozen fruits and veggies when you don’t have access to fresh ones. Plus, fruits are a great naturally sweet option to replace any added sugars throughout the day.Aim to reach 3 ounces of whole grains through cereal, bread, rice, and pasta. And don’t forget to add some lean protein and low-fat dairy products to your daily meals.1

· Take more walks Add walking into your daily routine rather than making plans to go to the gym that fall through. Take a break while at work and walk around the office. If working from home, go outside on a nice day and walk around your neighborhood or a local park. Once you get consistent, take your walk up to a jog or a run. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 150 minutes of weekly activity, which is only 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Consistent exercise will help relieve stress and tension, strengthen muscles, and boost endurance.1

· Make water your default drink:  Most of us have been told throughout our lives that drinking water is a critical part of wellness, yet we often overlook it. Hydration impacts metabolism, energy, cravings, muscle cramps, and overall aches and pains. Plus, water is the best beverage for your mouth because it strengthens your teeth, keeps your mouth clean, and fights dry mouth.3 In general, the goal is 8-10 cups a day. It’s important to make sure the water you’re drinking is clean, so check out filters to keep at home. If you don’t love the taste of water, try infused water or sugar-free water flavoring drops to enhance the taste and still be healthy.2

· Sleep 7-8 hours a night: We know we’re supposed to get about 8 hours of sleep a night, but that doesn’t mean we all do it. Sometimes other things prevent us from getting that crucial time under the covers, but it’s important to do your best to prioritize sleep. A full night’s sleep will improve your mood, motivation, and energy so set yourself up for success by getting a consistent amount of sleep each night.1

· Take a break from the negative news cycle:  It can be especially difficult to stay positive with the amount of negative news always available to us right at our fingertips. Only reading negative news will have a negative impact on your mental health and will skew your view of the world.

Take a day to disconnect from the news to keep positive or spend time looking at happy stories on positive new sites to cheer you up.1

· Do something meaningful each day:  When we think about healthy living, we don’t often think that applies to doing self-care tasks or things that make you feel happy. But putting effort into things that you care about will help you stay positive and will bring out the best in you. This could be listening to your favorite music, baking, reading a book, etc.1


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