National Staying Healthy Month: Five Tips for Tip-Top Health
This January, we celebrate National Staying Healthy Month. This month-long observance was originally started to help people focus on their overall well-being and self-care for the new year.
We’re doing our part by encouraging North Dakotans to embrace a healthier lifestyle with a list of simple health-boosting tips and reminders to promote good health. We call them Tip-Top Health Tips.
Many of us love our meat at mealtime, but being mindful of portion sizes and choosing low-fat options for protein, like lean (93% or higher) ground beef or skinless chicken breasts, makes a big difference. Additional protein options include beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds and soy products. Adding in other valuable foods like fruits and vegetables can help keep your weight in check and lower your chances of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. Explore MyPlate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for tips on fruits, vegetables and more healthy food options.
You can find sugar in most processed foods at the grocery store, and it’s important to be mindful of how much sugar you are consuming. It’s easy to consume your calories through drinks and snacks like soda, candy or other treats. Instead, reach for healthier options with less calories and lower amounts of sugar and fats like water or fruit. Having too much sugar in your diet can contribute to health-threatening conditions like heart attacks, gout and obesity.
Occasionally feeling stressed is a normal part of life, but prolonged stress can poorly affect your mental health and weaken your body’s immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. To cope with stress and reduce its harmful effects, get support from family and friends, learn to relax with yoga and meditation or seek help from a therapist if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or depressed, reach out to your trusted health care provider for help. If you are experiencing a behavioral health crisis, you should call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or 211 for immediate help. Both are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Though sleep is central to our health, it’s often undervalued. Chronic sleep deprivation raises the odds for heart disease, diabetes, stroke and many other health issues. Make a habit of getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night. If you still feel tired after a night’s sleep, ask your doctor about getting checked for sleep apnea.
Did you know that 23% of North Dakotans lead a sedentary, or inactive, lifestyle? Research shows that being sedentary is linked to a whole host of medical problems. To stay healthy, stay active! Try getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly – if you have a hard time reaching this, just remember that any movement is good for you. Stretch first, lace up your tennis shoes and start down the path, literally, to better health.
One last thing to remember: Don’t try making too many lifestyle changes at once. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed and cause you to fall back into unhealthy habits. Take baby steps toward easy-to-achieve goals, and don’t go at it alone. Find an exercise buddy to join you on your walks, take your partner with you to the gym or consider joining a class to meet new friends who will help hold you accountable and encourage your continued participation. The small changes you start making now can make a big impact on your health later.
Sleep Apnea | Mayo Clinic
The Benefits of Walking | Harvard Health
988 – Suicide and Crisis Lifeline | NDHHS
Benefits of Healthy Eating | CDC
Planning Meals | CDC
Cutting Calories | CDC
Healthy Recipes | CDC