News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Live healthier in 2020

Diet like a caveman, meditate like a monk, sleep like a baby, workout like an athlete. Sky’s the limit and the Internet has no shortage of tips and tricks to help someone “live their best life” in 2020. As many people have learned, a complete overhaul often proves impossible to sustain.

Here are 10 simple ways you can improve your health without needing to reinvent yourself.

1. Go for a walk. Walking has a long list of benefits, from simply being gentle aerobic exercise easy on the joints, to the relaxing and almost meditative state it creates. It reduces stress, and gives a good exercise to the heart. In one study, 56 people walked for 30 minutes three times a week during their lunch break. This improved their enthusiasm and relaxation at work, while also reducing nervousness.

2. Put down the phone after 8 p.m. Our eyes interpret the environment, and the body reacts to the interpretation intuitively. These natural systems recognize the brightness of the world around us, and bright light infiltrates and fools these systems into keeping us wired, and sleeplessness is common. Try turning the lights down when the sun is down and keeping phones and bright screens on low brightness to improve sleep quality.

3. Eat more vegetables. According to Harvard’s nutrition program, a diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eyesight problems, digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar. Eating more vegetables and fruits may even promote weight loss. Their low glycemic loads prevent blood sugar spikes that can increase hunger. This keeps people feeling full for longer.

4. Cook at home. People eating home-cooked meals every day consumed nearly 1,000 fewer calories a week than those who went with home-cooked once a week or less. Home-cooked meals have less sodium, and a home cooked meal can feature more healthful fruits and vegetables.

5. Eat smaller portions. Americans eat enormous portions. One study found that eating from larger plates and bowls increased the amount of food people ate by 56 percent. Try filling a plate with color; this has been known to keep the portions down because food of all one hue becomes boring to eaters.


Weight train once per week.

Not only will you find yourself with more energy and confidence, less stress and anxiety, and a better overall mood, but you will actually begin to think better (resistance training has been proven to help increase cognitive function).

Strength training helps correct issues relating to cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and inactivity — all factors for heart disease.

Weight loss is another benefit.

It takes your body more calories to maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat.

Strength is important for surmounting everyday obstacles like outdoor yard work, stairs, bending and lifting, and will help you remain injury-free and enjoy recreation more.

The key is all these benefits take just a session per week for beginners.

7. Go outside. According to the University of Minnesota’s health and wellbeing department, being in nature — or even viewing scenes of nature — reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes a person feel better, it contributes to our physical well-being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.

8. Relax, meditate, enjoy the quiet moments. An analysis of 47 studies with over 3,500 people discovered that mindful meditation helped reduce anxiety, depression and stress. This doesn’t have to be the traditional Eastern style of legs-crossed-eyes-closed meditation many people associate it with. Even relaxing and watching a nature documentary has given people similar results.

9. Avoid sugary drinks. A can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams or 10 teaspoons of sugar. Replacing this with an alternative saves 156 calories. This done multiple times a week can lead to meaningful weight loss.

10. Drink more water. Water is important for your health. Drinking water can help maintain healthy brain function, concentration and a positive mood. It helps someone feel full and may reduce mindless snacking.

Do any of these seem feasible? Try a few per month and see what sticks. Implementing any of these will lead to a healthier and happier 2020!


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