With all of the fad diets, miracle health pills and supplements promising drastic changes in little to no time, it can be difficult to pinpoint what is actually good for you. By following a few, simple tips for daily health, you can take steps toward becoming a healthier version of you.
Among its many benefits, water keeps your joints and organs cushioned and lubricated, controls your body temperature and rids your body of waste products through urination. Keeping a water bottle with you throughout the day can help you increase your water intake. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men drink a total of 125 ounces of water a day, and women drink 91 ounces a day. An easy way to monitor your hydration level is through the color of your urine. Urine will be light-colored, similar to lemonade, when you are adequately hydrated and dark yellow, similar to apple juice, if you are inadequately hydrated. Take extra care to drink more water if you are in hot weather, participate in strenuous physical activity, have a fever or have been experiencing nausea and vomiting.
Adequate sleep helps your body fight off infection, have more energy to be active and perform better at work and school. According to data published by Healthypeople.gov, only 70 percent of Americans reported getting eight or more hours of sleep each night. Although you have likely heard that everyone needs eight hours or more of sleep each night, the actual needs vary depending on age, lifestyle and health. Newborns and infants require the most sleep, between 12 and 18 hours daily. The number of hours you need continues to decrease incrementally as you age, reaching only seven to nine hours required nightly by the average adult.
Including a variety of foods in your diet such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains will help ensure you get the nutrients you need. You should also strive to limit sweets, sugary beverages, sodium and high-fat foods. Although all foods fit in moderation, eating these foods in excess can increase your weight and risk for conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans lays out easy suggestions to help you reach healthy eating goals daily. It recommends making half the grains you choose whole grains, varying your protein sources and filling half of your plate up with fruits and vegetables at each meal.
Regular exercise has an array of health benefits including keeping your weight within healthy ranges, reducing your risk of developing chronic diseases and keeping your bones and muscles strong. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults participate in 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week. In addition to cardiovascular exercise, ACSM recommends that adults participate in strength training two to three days each week, making sure to address all major muscle groups as well as balance, agility and coordination. Flexibility exercises are suggested at least two days each week to help maintain range of motion and flexibility as well.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Water: Meeting Your Daily Fluid Needs
- Healthy People: Sleep Health
- Harvard School of Public Health: Vitamins
- American College of Sports Medicine: Quantity and Quality of Exercise
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Hydrate Right
- Nutrition 411: Sleep Hygiene Basics
- USDA: Dietary Guidelines for Americans