5 Daily To-Dos
To meet your 'healthy and happy' long-term goal, follow these steps
WITH SO MUCH TO DO, we tend to neglect our health on a daily basis. By adding these five tasks to the top of your daily to-do list, you'll be making your way to optimal health step by step.
1. Eat right, right away. Breakfast, the most important meal of the day will jump-start your metabolism, give you immediate energy and help you burn more calories. With all meals, think about food like a rainbow: the more color the better. The American Dietetic Association recommends sweet potatoes instead of white and deep-green romaine lettuce over iceberg for starters.
2. Get off the couch. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that 70 percent of American adults don't get enough physical activity to provide health benefits. Richard A. Stein, M.D., American Heart Association spokesman, recommends 30 to 40 minutes of vigorous exercise three to five days a week. "Exercise is one of the best things you can do to live longer and better," he says, including reduced risk of heart attack and depression, increased late-day energy, improved sleep habits, lower weight and improved self-esteem.
3. Kick butts. Smoking causes 440,000 premature deaths each year, according to the HHS. Don't be one of them. "The benefits of stopping smoking are extraordinary. Simply put, you'll add years to your life," Stein says.
4. Laugh. Laughter lowers your blood pressure, increases blood flow to your heart and pumps more oxygen into the blood. A strong sense of humor may even help protect you against a heart attack, according to a study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.
5. Go to bed early. Adequate restful sleep, just like diet and exercise, is critical to good health. According to the National Institutes of Health, healthy adults need an average of eight hours each night.