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news News Monday, August 31, 2020 Monday, August 31, 2020 1:48 PM - Monday, August 31, 2020 1:48 PM

Five tips to better well-being

Many are emerging from the “stay-at-home” COVID season with a renewed focus on health

Five tips to better well-being

If COVID-19 has inspired you to refocus on living better, you’re not alone. Many people are emerging from the “stay-at-home” season with a renewed focus on their health and well-being.

To help keep you working toward your better-health goals, here is a list of five tips from our Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu team of specialists.

Eat well

You’ve heard it time and again – you are what you eat!

When you fill your body with high-performance fuel – think fresh fruits and dark, leafy greens; whole grains full of fiber; unsaturated fats; and lean sources of proteins – you’ll be able to function at your best.

In addition to eating well, other ways to incorporate better nutritional habits include:

  • Drinking more water.
  • Staying away from the salt shaker and sugary condiments.
  • Watching your portion sizes.
  • Aiming for balance – as long as your overall diet includes a variety of whole, healthy foods, you can enjoy a treat here and there!

Work in a workout

The benefits of regular exercise are well documented – studies show regular physical movement can positively benefit your heart, stimulate your metabolism, and elevate your mood through the release of endorphins. In fact, as activity levels go up, so does your life expectancy – by as much as 25-30%!

Experts recommend an average of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. You can split up your movement throughout the day, working in mini-workouts such as climbing the stairs, stretching at your desk or going for a 10-minute walk.

Incorporating little bursts of energy can add up to big health rewards in the long run.

Find ways to de-stress

Self-care shouldn’t be reserved only for Sundays. Medical studies show the connection between the mind and body. In fact, feeling overly stressed, anxious and even lonely has been linked to increased blood pleasure, heart disease, memory loss and a weakened immune system.

Practice relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation and breath work to find your calm.

Other ideas to feel less stressed include (but certainly aren’t limited to):

  • Going for a walk in nature.
  • Talking with a close friend or family member.
  • Cooking a delicious meal.
  • Reading a book.
  • Listening to a favorite music playlist.
  • Writing in a diary or journal.
  • Taking a warm bath.
  • Exercising.
  • Spending time with a pet.

Aim for better sleep

Have you ever woken up from a 10-hour slumber only to find that you’re still tired? The problem could be that the quality of your sleep is lacking, rather than the actual amount of hours spent in dreamland.

Most adults require seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but getting enough good quality sleep is just as essential for optimal mental and physical well-being.

Start by developing better sleep habits, also known as sleep hygiene. Establish a bedtime routine to help you wind down from the day’s activities. Create a sound sleep environment. Steer clear of food that can trigger indigestion or heartburn, and avoid stimulants like caffeine that can leave you tossing and turning.

If you still have trouble falling or staying asleep, talk to your doctor to rule out the possibility of a sleep disorder and discuss a plan for a better night’s rest.

Get a regular checkup

A yearly physical exam with a primary care physician not only can help you monitor pre-existing conditions, these screenings can spot possible health conditions early on, when they are most treatable.

Other exams not to neglect include ones for your eyes (every two years), your hearing (every three to five years) and your teeth (every six months).