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United Way Blog

Five Steps to Improved Physical Health

Five Steps to Improved Physical Health

Individual health impacts the entire community. Sick days inhibit work productivity and educational opportunities, and contagious illnesses do so exponentially. Long-term, chronic, and terminal maladies impact family economics, child care, and emotional health. Do your part to stay healthy and encourage others in your community to do the same by putting these five tips into practice. Most of these are free now and will save medical costs in the long run.

Drink more water and fewer sugary drinks

Because the body is primarily composed of water, staying hydrated is crucial to your physical health. Water is the purest form of hydration and comes right out of your faucet at home. Staying properly hydrated helps the body's cells to function more efficiently. Cutting back on sugary drinks is good for your dental health, your weight, and your budget.

Exercise regularly

You don't have to become a gym member to exercise. Take a walk, ride a bike, or jog around the neighborhood. During inclement weather, head to the local mall or exercise at home. Push-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts, lunges, and stretching go a long way toward improving your health. Getting families active is one of three goals on which United Way is focusing. Getting off the couch to play kickball with your kids or go on a hike as a family creates memories and good habits.

Eat more fruits and vegetables and less fast food

There are at least two cliches that apply to this particular tip. The first is, "You are what you eat." The second is, "Input determines output." Both speak to the importance of diet to your physical health. Fruits and vegetables contain natural vitamins and minerals your body needs to function optimally. Snack on apples instead of chips, enjoy a carrot instead of french fries.

Get a good night's sleep

Remember when you were a kid and your teacher told you to get a good night's rest the day before a big test? There was a reason for that. Sleep allows the body to restore itself, cells to repair themselves, and the brain to reboot. Seven or eight hours each night should do the trick.

Wash your hands

Most viruses are spread by coming in contact with something a sick person touched: doorknob, water fountain, or flusher. You touch those items and then, without giving it a second thought, touch your face or grab a bite of food. The next thing you know, you're sick. The simplest solution to this is to wash your hands regularly. There is no need to become obsessive about it. Washing them well before you eat and after you use the restroom will eliminate the majority of the germs.

These simple tips can be implemented immediately by the majority of families. Get started right away; your physical health depends on it.

Inspired by what you read? Change starts with you. Take action today to make a difference in your community.