These painless, simple habits will make you a little bit healthier every day.
Think you’re too busy to be healthy? If so, it’s time to rethink your definition of health. Being “healthy” doesn’t mean you need to run a marathon every morning at dawn or religiously eschew all carbohydrates. According to Dr. Peter Edelstein, M.D., FACS, FASCRS, a passionate cancer patient advocate, experienced surgeon and author of the book Own Your Cancer, living well is relatively simple—and painless.
He says, “No matter where you live, how much money you make, or how busy your day is, there are simple things everyone can do each day to boost their immune systems.”
So, if you could do just five things every day to keep yourself healthy, what should they be? The following habits are all practical, easy steps everybody can take to become instantly a little bit healthier.
Eat a peach. Okay, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a peach, per se—any raw fruit will do just fine. But getting a daily dose of fresh fruits and veggies helps keep your immune system strong, which not only helps prevent and fight infections, it’s also an early line of defense against the development of cancer. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re at a healthy weight or overweight, active or a couch potato: eat fresh every day!
Get some action. Of course, not every one of us hits the gym for a 60 minute power workout at 6AM each morning, but little movements throughout the day will yield a big payoff. For example, choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator (or at least take as many flights as you can, and then take the elevator). Instead of driving the two blocks for your lunch, walk. These little episodes of physical activity really add up, keeping your heart healthy, your blood pressure down, and your immune system strong. Simply walking for as little as thirty minutes three times a week has been shown to truly improve and maintain your health.
Lather up. We touch door handles and handrails and chairs and keyboards. We share phones and use someone’s computer mouse. We shake hands again and again. Then without realizing it, we touch our faces, our mouths, our nose, our eyes—and we touch it repeatedly many times throughout the day. To reduce your chance of getting sick, simply wash with soap and water a few times during the day (or an alcohol-based gel if a bathroom isn’t nearby), and try to touch your face less often.
Take your medication. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pulmonary disease, and other conditions are a major source of poor health, emergency hospitalizations, and death. Most medications aren’t like aspirin, where you take a pill whenever you have a headache. Your medications need to stay at certain levels within your blood in order to help you. Always take your medications exactly as directed. It will not only keep you feeling better, but also keep you out of the hospital and living longer.
And get to bed. Last but not least, make it a top priority to get a full night’s sleep (at least seven hours) by going to bed at a reasonable time. Lack of adequate sleep weakens your immune system, making you more prone to infections and less effective at screening for cancerous cells, and may worsen dangerous conditions like high blood pressure.