World Health Day is a global awareness day celebrated around the world on April 7th to draw attention to issues of major importance to global health each year. The date of April 7 coincides with the first World Health Assembly on April 7, 1948. WHO global health campaigns focus on some of the “biggies” facing individuals and nations around the world, including immunization, malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, hepatitis, mental health, creating safer cities’ food safety, and more.
In addition to the big health issues that communities and nations address, it’s important to not under-estimate things that every person can due to improve their own individual health. Even small changes can add up to big differences in overall health and well-being.
Here are some easy-to-follow ways to take small steps to incorporate healthier living into your daily routine:
1. Enjoy de-stressing.
Prolonged stress can contribute to – or even cause – several health problems including diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, depression, obesity, ulcers, migraines, and more. Don’t put off reducing stress until you have more time – even ten minutes at a time doing something you enjoy can have great benefits. Things like regular exercise (even taking a walk), meditation, listening to music, reading a good book, playing with a pet, doing a jigsaw puzzle, or even just taking some slow, deep breaths – can all help you to feel calmer and more energized.
2. Put away the salt.
Putting the salt shaker out of sight makes it easier to keep from using too much. Try seasoning food with herbs, lemon, or salt-free seasoning blends.
3. Get more sleep.
Yes, it’s tough and there’s always something that needs to be done, but the bottom line is that most adults don’t get enough sleep.
4. Have a glass of red wine.
The antioxidants in red wine can help prevent against heart disease, colon cancer, anxiety, and depression. But always consume alcohol in moderation.
5. Check your posture and ergonomics.
Think about your posture often, especially if you spend much of your day sitting at a desk. Good posture can prevent back pain and help you breathe better. Straighten your back (rather than slump in your chair), suck in your stomach, and place feet flat on the floor with your legs uncrossed. Check to make sure your computer workstation is properly configured to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, and other potential injuries.
6. Exercise your brain
Do a crossword puzzle - or read, work a Sudoku puzzle, jigsaw puzzle, or play a game of chess. Mentally involved activities such as these have been shown to lower the risk of dementia associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Doing this type of activity can also help clear your mind at the end of a stressful day and make it easier to fall asleep.
7. Weigh in.
Maintaining a healthy weight lowers the risk for many diseases in both men and women, but also decreases the risk of pelvic floor disorders in women.
8. Make a few dietary substitutions.
You’re probably already familiar with lots of healthy dietary suggestions but doing just a few simple substitutions can really help you keep down the extra calories and fat. Choose leaner cuts of meat; trade white bread, rice, and pasta for healthier whole grain versions; drink more water; or add an extra serving of veggies or fruit in place of a sugary snack.
9. Take the stairs.
Taking the stairs instead of the elevator adds to your total step count each day (try to aim for 10,000 daily!) without adding time for extra exercise.
10. Stretch it out.
Regular stretching helps avoid injury, reduces tension, and can help with overall balance.
Remember, it’s never to late to start or add a healthy habit to your daily routine. And, these healthy habits can model behavior for your kids to set them up for a lifetime of good health. Integrity Urgent Care says, “Here’s to a healthy world and a healthy you!”
Rush University Medical Center. Health & Wellness [online]: 10 Simple ways to improve your health. [accessed 1 Apr 2019]. https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/10-simple-ways-improve-your-health
Wikipedia. World Health Day [online]. Last edited 31 Mar 2019 [accessed 1 Apr 2019]. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Health_Day
US National Library of Medicine. Wellness and lifestyle health topics. MedlinePlus [online]. Page last updated 25 Oct 2018 [accessed 1 Apr 2019]. https://medlineplus.gov/wellnessandlifestyle.html