3 Free Things You Can Do For Better Health

We all want to be healthier. Sometimes we may lament about the things we don’t have or can’t afford to help us toward that goal. While an expensive gym membership or a new pair of  running shoes may stretch our budget or be out of reach, there are several things that are completely FREE that may help you achieve better health.

Water covers more than 70 percent of the earth and in the USA is freely accessible. While water is abundant and available, more than 40 percent of Americans don’t drink enough.  For older adults, nearly 3 out of 4 are dehydrated.  The message for most of us is clear… drink more water.  Water has many benefits. It flushes out toxins, increases energy, improves skin complexion and maintains regularity.  
One way to increase your water intake is by simply filling a bottle with water in the morning and making sure to drink the contents throughout the day.  If you know you’re not getting enough water you can challenge yourself to empty the bottle within a certain amount of time.  Recently, I’ve been filling an old glass bottle with water in the morning & drinking the contents by noon.   The question of exactly how much water a person should drink is open for debate. In general, it’s often said a person should drink 64 ounces of water a day but the truth is there is no consensus as it varies for each of us.  We also get water from some of the foods or other liquids we drink, so that can also change the equation.   Some folks have legitimate excuses for not drinking enough water. For example, a friend of mine is a truck driver and drinking a lot of water means a lot of stops along the way which is not practical for him. He tries to make up for this by drinking more water as soon as he gets home or during times when he knows he will have a lengthy wait as they unload his truck.

While watching Usain Bolt sprint for 100 yards or seeing marathoners complete a 26 mile run with a kick to the finish line is inspiring, some experts say a good walk may be even better for you. Running can pound your joints, while walking has low impact and provides numerous benefits.  
The benefits of walking include: weight loss, increased cardiovascular fitness, stronger bones, improved balance, and increased independence (the better your mobility, the less you need to rely on someone else).  
There is a nice gym in my town and you can see the treadmills lined up and people using them through the big glass windows. Treadmills are great and if you have access to one, take advantage of it. But a treadmill is certainly not required or needed to get in a good walk. The CDC recommends getting 10,000 steps a day. However the number of steps you get depends on your age & health condition. 
The wise saying “every journey begins with one step” certainly applies here. For folks who are housebound, getting up and walking around the house more often can certainly be a goal. There was a time in which television sets didn’t have a remote control and getting up to change the channel could be added to ways in which to increase your amount of steps, those days are long gone. (If you still have a television that doesn’t have a remote control, please comment below.) 
Walking outside gives you the extra benefit of getting fresh air as well. Of course, the time of year matters, an outside walk during a Michigan winter can be exhilarating, dangerous or both depending on how frigid the weather. For those looking for a more challenging walk, try going up an incline for extended periods of time. If you have access to a treadmill that has the incline function, walking for 45 minutes one an incline can totally kick your ass into shape. (Obviously, consult your doctor before doing this kind of exercise.) 

We all need a human touch. A hug can lift your spirits. A hug can improve your heart health & blood pressure. A hug can reduce anxiety.  Sad fact is that many folks don’t have someone they can hug, especially during these times in which many have become isolated. If you have someone you can hug, do it. 
If you don’t have someone you can physically hug, a virtual hug can provide similar benefits. 
Sending an email, text or calling someone can lift your spirits and theirs as well. Maybe there’s a teacher or coach who you haven’t thanked for teaching you a valuable lesson. Maybe there’s an old friend who you’ve lost contact with for one reason or another. Maybe a former co-worker or kind neighbor that you haven’t reached out to in a long time. The benefits of connecting with others in a genuine way go beyond better health for you & them. Try this exercise, think of 1 to 3 people who have had some kind of positive impact (little or big) and drop them a note, text, email or phone call. Try this today, you’re already on a computer or phone reading this article. 

Water, Walking & Hugs. 3 free things that can make a difference.

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1 comment

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