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6 Steps for Better Health

GOT A FEW MINUTES?

Published in the September 2022 Issue Published online: Sep 07, 2022 Articles, Health & Wellness Brian Zeil
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By Brian Ziel

GOT A FEW MINUTES? Great! Just a few minutes is all the time you’ll need to learn how to boost your health and improve your quality of life. We asked the team of experts at Mountain View Hospital to share simple lifestyle changes that can add up to make a big difference in your well-being. There’s no need to make all these changes at once. A healthier you can start with just one new habit.

Always Take the Stairs
It’s tempting to take the elevator, but opting for the stairs can have big health benefits. “One of the best ways to get your steps in and stay active is to take the stairs. It’s an easy way to increase your heart rate, build strength and burn calories,” said Steve Darrington, Brad Erikson Family Medicine clinic manager. “In fact, you can burn approximately two calories for every flight of stairs you climb. Next time you have the opportunity to choose between an elevator and stairs, pick the stairs. Your body will thank you.”

Stay Hydrated
Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water, so it’s no wonder staying hydrated is important to good health. “As nurses we are always reminding our patients to drink enough fluids. We need to remember to do the same thing,” said Mountain View Hospital’s director of nursing, Marian Walker. “Be mindful of your water intake and make sure that you’re properly hydrated.” According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, men should aim to drink 15 cups of water per day and women should aim for 11. If that many cups of plain water each day doesn’t get you excited, try adding fresh fruits, cucumbers or mint to your water for a flavorful change of pace. If you do not get enough water in the day, it can cause headaches or dizziness. Over time, it can even lead to life-threatening conditions if not treated.

Sip Sensibly
While getting enough to drink is important, what you drink is also key. Sugary drinks, like sodas, fruit juices and sweetened teas, are the primary source of added sugar in Americans’ diets, according to the CDC. Unfortunately, findings from several studies show that those sugar-sweetened beverages increase risk of heart disease and increase risk of type 2 diabetes, even in people who are not carrying excess body fat.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages are also uniquely harmful for children, as they can contribute not only to obesity in children, but also to conditions that usually do not develop until adulthood, like high blood pressure and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” said Aaron Lowry, Mountain View Hospital’s manager of physical therapy. 

So next time you go to grab a drink, consider doing your body a favor and choose water, sparking water, unsweetened tea or even coffee.

Enjoy the Little Things
“With the increased amount of anxiety and depression we are treating in our facility, I urge people to find joy in the small things in life,” said family practice doctor David Daniels. “Reaching out by serving others, taking breaks from technology, going for walks outside—which increases natural endorphins and exposes our skin naturally to Vitamin D—and having real connections with people rather than simply using text messaging and social media can all help to reduce stress and improve people’s health.”

Prioritize Family Meals
If you want to help your children do well in school, combat obesity and be happy, look no further than your dinner table. “Eating dinner together as a family boosts young children’s vocabulary skills, promotes better academic performance overall and establishes healthy eating habits,” said Lynette Pierce, the Labor and Delivery Manager at Mountain View Hospital. The Family Dinner Project says sitting down for a daily meal can improve cardiovascular health in teens; increase everyone’s intake of vegetables, fiber, fruit and protein; increase self-esteem and lower rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

Get the Most out of your Vitamins
This next tip comes from Mountain View Hospital’s pharmacy director, Whitney Cooley. “Next time you are shopping for vitamins, look for brands you can trust by searching for bottles that carry a seal from the United States Pharmacopeia,” she said. “A USP seal identifies vitamins that have passed tests to prove the bottle contains what the label claims while meeting a higher standard of production than vitamins require.” Remember, the road to better health can start small. Over time little changes add up and can add years to your life. The best part is that it is never too late or too early to get started. And if you need some extra help, Mountain View Hospital has a team of experts ready to cheer you on.

Brian Ziel is the marketing director at Mountain View Hospital.

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