You probably know that a healthy lifestyle requires eating healthy foods and staying physically active. But there are other important ways to improve your lifestyle and ensure that you are operating at your highest potential. Here are a few steps you can take to improve your physical and mental health.
Get plenty of sleep.
Sleeping is essential to our physical and mental health. If you feel lethargic and reliant on coffee or energy drinks to stay awake and alert during the day, chances are you’re not getting enough sleep at night. Scientists at the National Sleep Foundation recommend that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. They also suggest sticking to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
We recommend: Keep electronics, like cell phones and tablets, away from your bed.
Many people assume that people with darker skin don’t need to wear sunscreen—but this assumption is false, according to dermatologists. People of all races and skin tones are vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer caused by exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing sunscreen every day you are outside, not only during the summer.
We recommend: When buying sunscreen, look for an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher, which will block 97 percent of UV rays.
Choose not to smoke.
Cigarettes are a leading cause of lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and preventable death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smokers elevate their risk for many chronic and acute health conditions, including blood clots, stroke, and asthma. The best way to avoid these conditions is to not start smoking, since cigarettes are highly addictive. If you already smoke, there are a number of effective treatments that may help you quit, including counseling, medication, and nicotine replacement products.
We recommend: Avoid all tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco (chewing or dipping tobacco), which can cause mouth cancer and other health problems.
Between work, education, and family commitments, chances are your life is busy, and it’s easy to let your health fall by the wayside. But you owe it to yourself and your community to prioritize your health and wellbeing. By making a few small tweaks to your lifestyle, you can gradually make big changes in the quality of your life.