World Health Day: 5 easy steps to be healthier

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Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an undiscovered ingredient, and one bite of it would cure all of our health problems?

There isn’t, unfortunately.

But scientists know the recipe for better health, and it’s long-term practice of good sleep, diet, exercise, socializing, and stress-relieving habits.

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organization, here are the factors that contribute to better health and what you can do today to improve in these areas.

Ask your doctor if you have specific concerns in any of these areas.

A bad night’s sleep doesn’t just affect your concentration during the day. Couchr this year, CNN reported that not getting enough sleep can increase your risk for mood problems, asthma, stroke, and longevity.

Sleep is a big deal.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend adults get at least seven hours of sleep a night, but quality is also important.

To sleep better, research shows it’s important to set a schedule for going to bed and waking up, following a nighttime routine to tell your brain it’s time for bed, keeping your bedroom dark, and cool, turn away from screens early, and don’t go to bed if you have trouble sleeping.

People’s individual bodies need different things, but is there a better way to guide your nutrition?

According to numerous scientific studies and the annual rankings of US News & World Report, it is the Mediterranean diet.

Don’t let the word diet fool you – it’s not a restrictive philosophy for manipulating your body weight. The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that features simple, plant-based cuisine, with the majority of every meal focused on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and seeds, with some nuts and a strong emphasis on vegetables. ‘extra virgin olive oil. . Fats other than olive oil, such as butter, are eaten rarely, if at all, and sugar and refined foods are reserved for special occasions.

Numerous studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, memory loss, depression and breast cancer.

Scientists have long known that exercise is good for a healthy body, but research has shown it’s also important for a healthy mind.

The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people ages 18 to 64 get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week, along with at least muscle-strengthening activities. twice a week. .

The good news is that even if you can’t get there right now, adding even a little will help.

Research published earlier this year showed that even 11 minutes of exercise a day can reduce your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease or premature death.

Many people place great importance on some of the health behaviors that are often considered more physical, but social and emotional factors also deserve our attention.

And good, strong friendships are essential not only to mitigate our stress and improvement emotional well-being, but also boost the markers of our physical health, according to the latest research.

People should develop this area of ​​health by investing more in a sense of community, experts have suggested.

They also highlighted the importance of making friendship a priority in your schedule: text a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time, commit to meeting one new person a month, organize dinner or join a class.

Strong bonds won’t happen overnight, but starting small and prioritizing friendships as an important part of your life can bring more happiness, less stress and more support, says expert Adam Smiley Poswolsky. belonging to work, to CNN earlier this year.

“Even when — especially when — their friend is struggling or going through something difficult,” said Poswolsky, who is also the author of “Friendship in the Age of Loneliness: An Optimist’s Guide to Connection.” “You know someone is a true friend when they have your back when you’re sick, when you lose your job, when you make a mistake, when you’re going through a breakup, when you’re stressed, when you’re sad.”

I know I’ve heard it every time I go to the doctor for any issue: Anyway, it gets worse with stress.

Indeed, stress can send a body into fight or flight, which increases cortisol. Higher levels of cortisol can worsen health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic gastrointestinal issues, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Stress can also cause or contribute to anxiety, irritability, lack of sleep, substance abuse, suspiciousness or chronic worrying, etc.

Fortunately, a balanced diet, good sleep, exercise, and social support can help reduce stress. It can also help to explore breathing and meditation techniques.

You may think I’m already exhausted in my day – adding all these health behaviors will cause stress on its own.

The good news is that these habits are best added with small, manageable changes over a period of time.

Tackle your goals one bite at a time and with a plan, flexibility, fun and support, and you may soon find that you’ve made the changes you’re looking for, said James G. Dinan Professor Katy Milkman at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, author of “How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.”

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