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5 Different Habits That Can Keep You Healthy

  • Category: Must-reads
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Alison Bergeron, Family Nurse Practitioner
5 Different Habits That Can Keep You Healthy

1. Water, water, water!

Staying hydrated is super important for our body to function normally and maintain a healthy balance by performing vital tasks such as supporting your brain function, regulating body temperature, and maintaining normal blood pressure. Maintaining healthy blood pressure aids in blood circulation to fuel our organs. Too much of a good thing can become harmful, so you must ensure you are not overhydrating. To combat this, determine how much water you consume daily and increase or decrease the amount based on your actions. If you are outside sweating, you must increase the amount of water you intake to help replace your extra fluid loss through sweat. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to how much water you should intake daily. We have been told eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily for years, but this is not true for everyone. One way to get a range of ounces to intake daily is to take your weight in pounds and multiply by 0.5 ounces and 1 ounce for every pound of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 145 pounds (145 x 0.5 = 72.5 and 145 x 1 = 145), your water intake should range from 72.5 to 145 ounces daily, depending on your activities and, most importantly, how you feel.

2. Move more!

30-60 minutes of exercise 5 days per week is recommended, but there are other ways we can increase moving our body and decrease the amount of time we are sitting or idle. Small habits we incorporate into our everyday activities can make a big difference. A light 10-minute walk after lunch can aid in digestion. You can park in the back of the parking lot instead of getting to the closest spot to the building. You can also take the stairs instead of the elevator. Adding these small changes to our day can reduce the risk of several health conditions and improve our mental well-being.

3. Obtaining adequate amounts of rest/sleep.

We should get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Sleep is so important because it supports immune function, growth, healing, and regulation of emotions, aids in better focus and concentration, and improves our judgment and decision-making. It also allows our body to rest and recuperate through an extended period of reduced activity. Not all sleep is created equal, so setting yourself up for sleep success is essential. You can do this by training your brain on a consistent sleep schedule. We have an inner clock in our body, so training it to be on the "correct time" can be done and is essential. The following are a few tips to help you improve your quality of sleep:

  • Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark
  • Limit afternoon naps and caffeine
  • Avoid alcohol before bed
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid blue light and screen time for at least 30 minutes before bed

4. Fruits and veggies!

I always tell my patients to try to incorporate veggies with every meal. Fruit is a great snack to have daily as well. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps with weight management and reduces the risk of many chronic health conditions. If you are looking for a "diet" to follow, the Mediterranean diet is a great, healthy, anti-inflammatory diet. The following are a few ways that we can incorporate fruit and veggies into our daily lives:

  • Fresh is always best, but keep frozen veggies on hand so you can add them to a meal as needed.
  • Keep a fruit bowl that is easily visible so that when you are craving something sweet, you can reach for a piece of fruit instead of other sugary candies or snacks.
  • Be creative and replace high-carb foods like pasta, potatoes, or starches with veggies. Vegetable noodles and cauliflower pizza crust are easy to find, even in our local grocery stores.
  • Reduce your burnout from eating the same vegetables by exploring the produce aisle and trying new things.
  • Change up your fruits, but stock up on in-season fruits at that time. We all love it when it is watermelon, strawberry, and satsuma season in South Louisiana.
  • If you have the time and space, make a garden. This helps with using vegetables but also makes it easier for us to move more and sit less!

5. Regularly seeing your Primary Care Physician at least once yearly

Remember that most will fail if they dive in 100% right away to a new lifestyle. Set yourself up for success by making changes little by little in your life. A little eventually becomes a lot, and a lot can go a long way. Also, moderation is key!

Why is it important to establish a relationship with a primary care provider (PCP)?

It is important to establish a relationship with a primary care provider (PCP) because this allows you to see a medical provider regularly. By doing this, your PCP gets to know you better and knows your baseline, enabling them to notice small changes that can be caught earlier than if they were seeing you for the first time. Another essential reason is to ensure you are up-to-date on your preventive care. Preventive care recommendations frequently evolve due to advancements in technology and ongoing research. Your PCP stays current with all these recommendations and can guide you on the necessary steps to prevent chronic diseases in the future. Having your own primary care physician helps coordinate your overall care, especially if you see multiple specialists. I frequently need to contact the pharmacy and perform medication reconciliations because my patients' specialists often have different current medication lists. This is one of many reasons that it is very important to have a PCP to ensure that the collaboration of care is smooth, efficient, and accurate.

If you need help managing your health or establishing a primary care provider, our caring and knowledgeable staff are here for you. Call 985-873-GRAY (4729) to schedule your same or next-day appointment at the Terrebonne General Multispecialty Clinic in Gray.