Five simple lifestyle changes that lead to better health

Many of the problems we see daily among our patients can be managed and prevented by implementing simple lifestyle changes into everyday life. These changes can also help decrease the risk factors associated with diseases like diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

  1. Exercise. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week. This can be a short walk around the block, parking in the back of the parking lot while running errands, doing short bursts of exercise during commercial breaks, or just taking the stairs at work. If you need help getting into an exercise routine, check out, where you’ll find monthly workout videos that can be done anywhere, with no specialized equipment.
  2. Hydrate. Drink at least 8-10 eight ounce glasses of water a day. Try swapping out a sugar beverage for water at least once a day. Try adding fruit to your water to add additional taste if you don’t like plain water.
  3. Get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can be an indicator of poor health maintenance. Adults normally require 6-8 hours of sleep a night. Everyone is different so try looking at your own energy levels and see if you are getting enough sleep. This will also help to decrease stress levels, which can contribute to elevated blood pressure and poor diet decisions.
  4. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Try swapping out a sugar-filled snack with a piece of fresh fruit or veggie. This will help curb your appetite and hold you over until your next meal.
  5. Meal planning. Planning your meals ahead of time will help decrease stress and the need to make last minute decisions, which are usually unhealthy. Attempt to plan at least three meals a week in advance and slowly move towards one each day. Meals made at home tend to be healthier and normally contain less fat and sugar than those served in restaurants.

Following these five simple steps can help jump start your health and help you move towards a healthier you.

Brandi L. Ruffo is a nurse practitioner with Prisma Health Internal Medicine-Maxwell Pointe

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