Three Small Changes that can have a Big Impact on Overall Health


Everyone knows the struggle of trying to make changes, especially to improve your health. I’m not just talking about losing weight here. I’m talking about changes that will improve your overall physical and mental health and help you to live a more fulfilling life. Change is hard, there is no “magic pill” and trying to make too many huge changes at once can be overwhelming and cause people to give up. Now don’t get me wrong, failure is part of the process. Take it from Michael Jordan who says, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” Everyone has to start somewhere. Reading these tips is step one!

1. Catch those Zzzzz!
When we think about getting healthy what pops into your head? I bet exercises and eating healthy would come up for most people, but what about sleep? Millions of Americans are regularly sleep deprived which has a negative effect on metabolic health, brain health, and cognitive function. One research study published in the Lancet shows how much of an effect lack of sleep can have on human function. In this study surgeons performed a simulated operation with adequate sleep and after being sleep deprived for 24 hours. The results showed that after being sleep deprived the doctors made 20% more mistakes and took 14% longer to complete the same task. I don’t know about you but I would prefer for my surgeon to have adequate sleep after seeing these results! Inadequate sleep also has a negative effect on tissue healing and pain modulation as well as causing an increased sensitivity to pain which can make healing from injuries or surgeries much more difficult. I could go on for days about how important sleep is and how to promote better sleep, but I’ll sum this up since we have more tips to get to! Everyone is different but generally speaking adults should be getting between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.

2. Strength train!
Building muscle isn’t just about looking buff and being able to show off your 6 pack! There are so many benefits to lifting weights and building muscle. Building muscle helps to improve your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn during activity and at rest. This means you will literally burn more calories sitting on the couch if you weight train then if you don’t. Not only that, but building muscle can improve overall function, brain health, reduce risk for falls, increase bone density. Again, I could go on but I think you get my point. Now this doesn’t mean that you need to go to planet fitness and set off the lunk alarm. Weight training 2-3 times a week for 20-30 minutes will do the trick. You can grab some dumbbells and start right in your living room!

3. Stay Hydrated!
To put it simply drinking enough water helps your body to work more efficiently. It can trigger the release of stored body fats and increase your metabolic rate. Just like with the amount of sleep that is appropriate for your body, the amount of water can vary depending on the person as well. Generally speaking, if you take your body weight in pounds and divide that in half and that is the amount of water in ounces you should target each day. One way to make drinking water even more beneficial and to start your day on the right track is to drink 16-30 ounces of water within the first 10 minutes of waking up. Get yourself a fun water bottle and keep it with you throughout the day to help stay hydrated. I’m telling you, you will feel the difference!

My hope is that these tips can help you to see that making some small changes can give you big results. Start small, choose the one that you think is the most realistic for you to accomplish and start there!

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