Fitness and Exercise: 15 Things You Can Do for Your Health Today

Eat your food slowly to reduce weight and make better choices.

Eat Slowly

This gives your brain the chance to get the signal that you're full, so you're less likely to overeat. And if you take it slow, you're more likely to think about what you're eating and make sensible, healthy choices.

A real, social connection with other people can make you happier, more productive, and give you better health.

Socialize

It's not about how many people you know or how often you see them. What matters is a real connection with others. It can make you happier, more productive, and less likely to have health problems. So call up a friend and go to dinner, or join a team or club to make some new ones.

Switch out your fruit juice for whole fruit. It's much more nutritious.

Ditch the Juice, Eat the Fruit

If you like orange juice, have an orange instead. Even 100% pure juice loses nutrition when you process it, and it can put a lot of hidden sugar in your diet. On the other hand, actual fruits are good sources of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and folic acid. And they're low in fat, sodium, and calories.

Taking time off of work benefits your mental and physical health.

Take Time Off

It's a time when you can bond with family and friends, which is good for your mental and physical health. People who take more vacations live longer and are less likely to have heart disease and other health problems.

Try to avoid trans fats, which are added to some foods.

Watch the Fat

It's not as clear-cut as it sounds. You definitely want to keep an eye on trans fats, which are added to some foods (like frozen pizza and baked goods) to keep them fresh. They've been linked to heart disease. But some fat -- from dairy, whole eggs, fish, avocado, or nuts, for example -- is good for you as part of a balanced diet. And high-fat dairy may even help you lose weight better than low fat. This may be because the fat satisfies your hunger better than other calories.

A little alcohol can be good for your heart health, your stress level, and even your sex life.

Have a Drink

Yes, we're talking about alcohol, but please notice the "a drink" part: two a day at most for men, one at most for women. More than that and the health benefits move quickly in the opposite direction. But a little alcohol can be good for your heart health, your stress level, and even your sex life.

Manage your stress, it can cause high blood pressure, ulcers, and heart disease.

Manage Your Stress

We all have stress in our lives. It makes your muscles tense and your heart race. If this happens a lot -- during your daily commute, for example -- and you don't handle it well, it can cause serious health problems, including high blood pressure, ulcers, and heart disease. So take time to breathe, do something that calms you, and try to accept what you cannot change -- like rush-hour traffic.

Leading a healthy life involves avoiding sugar. It no health benefits.

Cut Back on Sugar

Most of us get way more of it than we need. It's not just the added calories and the lack of nutritional value: It also can make your blood sugar spike and then crash, and that leaves you tired, hungry, and irritable -- "hangry."

Exercise is a proven way to improve your health, your mental well-being, and even your libido.

Be Active

Exercise is a proven way to improve your health, your mental well-being, and even your libido. You don't have to sign up for the New York Marathon -- just get your heart rate up for 30 minutes or so a few times a week. Gardening works, and so does a walk around the block. If you can't make it a habit on your own, try to make it social: Join a local sports league or plan regular runs with a friend.

Keep moving throughout your day. Get up and walk around every hour.

Keep Moving

If you work in an office, get up and walk around every hour or so, or try a standing desk for part of the day. You'll burn more calories, improve your circulation, and stay more alert. It may even help prevent certain health issues, like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Make sure you get plenty of leafy green vegetables every day.

Eat Your Greens

Kale, spinach, collards, Romaine, arugula, bok choy, broccolini -- make sure you get plenty of these leafy green vegetables. They're chock full of nutrients, low in calories, and have loads of fiber, which fills you up and satisfies your hunger.

There are many health benefits to dance. So what are you waiting for? Start dancing!

Dance

It keeps your mind sharp because it's a skill that involves body movement, and that's especially good for your brain. It's also social and can be lots of fun, which bring health benefits of their own. And you might not even notice that you're exercising!

A good sex life is linked to heart health, brain health, a long life, a strong relationship, and even happiness.

Have Sex

It's linked to heart health, brain health, a long life, a strong relationship, and even happiness. Just keep it safe. Get tested for STDs and use condoms to protect yourself and your partner against diseases and unwanted pregnancy.

Lack of sleep can lead to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.

Get Your ZZZs

A lack of sleep can lead to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. If that's not enough reason to get your ZZZs, it also causes car crashes and other accidents. Adults should get 7 to 9 hours each night.

Get outside, get some sun, get some fresh air, and get some exercise.

Get Outside

The sunlight helps set your sleep clock and leads to more exercise. You'll also get more vitamin D, which many Americans don't get enough of. It's important for cell function, mental health, and heart health. But don't stay in the sun too long, and wear sunscreen. Too much sun is linked to skin cancer.

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REFERENCES:

  • Association of Psychological Science: "Moderate Doses of Alcohol Increase Social Bonding in Groups."
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  • Society for Personality and Social Psychology: "Couples Who Have Sex Weekly Are Happiest."
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