Improving your health doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your entire lifestyle. Try one of these 4 tips to begin your journey.
Pursuing a healthy lifestyle is no easy feat. As with most life changes, you have to commit to your health in the long-term to see significant improvements. However, committing to several changes at once can be daunting.
Luckily, there are many things can you can do to better your health that will provide you with some short-term progress. Try one of these per week to maximize your success and help you jump start your health.
How Can You Improve Your Health?
Increase Your Produce.
The amount of produce consumed has been linked to decreased risk for heart disease, cancer and death. In fact, a recent study showed improved health for those who ate up to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. It's no secret that eating more produce can help improve your health, but how exactly can you get to 10 servings a day?
Start modestly by adding an extra serving of fruit or vegetables at each meal.5 You can add a banana to your morning bowl of oatmeal or some broccoli to a breakfast omelet. You can choose the salad over the sandwich at lunch, or even try switching up your snack to include an apple or some dried fruit. Once you've started adding vegetables to your already existing diet, you might be surprised at how easy it becomes to add another and another until you've reached your 10 servings a day.
Take a Few More Steps.
Whether it's lengthening a walk, jog or stair climb, adding in a little more exercise to your routine can help lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. It also can help strengthen your bones, add muscle and provide an emotional lift.1
If you aren't active currently, start with just 10-15 minutes of walking a day. You can do this on your lunch break at work or when you wake up in the morning. Just that much activity can provide you with a solid foundation on which to build. Eventually, try to reach 30 minutes of exercise, which is what is generally recommended. If walking or exercising for 30 minutes at once is too much time for you to devote, try splitting up your exercise into 10 minutes increments, 3 times a day.
Set a Bedtime.
Most people know that sleep is good for you, but it actually plays a critical role in brain function and overall health. Sleep deficiency, which can run the gamut from not getting enough sleep to getting poor sleep, can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease or other historical family health issues. In a positive light, proper sleep has been linked to improved memory and learning as well as better emotional well being.2
Clearly, sleep is important, but how can you get more restful sleep? Start by setting not only a standard bedtime, but also a set time that you wake up in the morning. This can improve your circadian rhythms and help you fall asleep more easily. Other ways to improve your sleep are:
- Keep your bedroom cool
- Keep lights low at night
- Limit alcohol and electronics before bed
Since doing all of this might be difficult at the onset, try one or two of these suggestions for a week to see their benefits before gradually adding in the rest.
Make the Appointment You've Been Avoiding.
According to the CDC, if everyone in the United States got the preventative care they needed, when they needed it, over 100,000 lives could be saved each year.3 Preventative care is critical in staying healthy, and managing your health as you get older, but it can be understandably nerve-racking.
Regular health check-ups, though, can prevent disease like cancer and help you manage health conditions like high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. Not so coincidentally, all of the aforementioned conditions, when left unmanaged, can drive up life insurance premiums too. To see what screenings you may need, you can use this handy checklist tool4 on the CDC website.
View our short guide for more information about how health and any pre-existing conditions can impact your life insurance premiums.
Has Your Health Already Changed?
Sometimes, it's possible to get lower life insurance rates if your health situation improves. For example:
- Have you stopped using tobacco?
- Have you lowered your cholesterol or blood pressure?
- Have you reduced your Body Mass Index (BMI) or achieved a healthy weight?
All of these positive changes might qualify you for a life insurance rate that better fits your budget. So what's the bottom line? Even if you already have a life insurance policy, it might be possible to get cheaper life insurance. In many cases, life insurance rates are at rock-bottom levels, so reviewing your coverage needs and options could result in cheaper life insurance also - and maybe that priceless peace of mind!
1. http://www.health.harvard.edu/ staying-healthy/ improve-your- health-by-starting- with-one- simple-change