Between constantly changing trends and sometimes conflicting opinions, maintaining good overall health can feel like a neverending process. However, there are some things that have consistently been shown effective. Here are four surprising ways you can support better health this year.
1. Schedule a Visit To Your Dentist
If you are like most adults, you probably don't realize how important an annual cleaning and dental exam is for your health. Sure, it helps you maintain a healthy smile and avoid things like gum disease and bad breath. However, it also may be a key part of ensuring overall health.
Doctors and researchers are finding that poor oral health is associated with higher rates of other conditions. These include things like heart disease and respiratory problems. Poor oral health may also contribute to complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Those are some pretty serious reasons to visit your dentist for an annual exam.
2. Spend Extra Time With Family and Friends
If you want a fun way to support emotional and physical health, try making extra time for personal relationships. Current research indicates that people who have strong relationships generally report higher rates of satisfaction with their lives and health. These bonds can be with family members who bring you joy or with a favorite group of friends. Keep in mind that even true introverts generally do well with a strong relationship or two in their lives.
There are tons of ways to keep up on a regular basis. Maybe you can arrange a weekly lunch meeting for friends or monthly family get-togethers. If your schedule and budget allow, you might find that taking one of the many great cruises from Los Angeles with your family gives you all a chance to reconnect and build stronger relationships.
3. Head Outside for Some Fresh Air
Spending time in nature on a regular basis is linked to better physical and emotional health outcomes. One study showed that spending just two hours per week in nature was the tipping point for positive results. Others suggest that even smaller amounts can be beneficial.
Unfortunately, two hours can sound daunting, especially if you aren't the outdoorsy type. However, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the health benefits of nature without roughing it. Here are a few examples to help inspire your efforts:
- Take a quick walk during lunch
- Sit by a window during bus and train commutes
- Add nature-inspired art and decor to your home and office
- Visit a winery for an outdoor tasting
- Attend outdoor concerts or shows
4. Take Time To Unplug and Relax
Stop for a minute and think about how much time you spend each day tethered to a tech device. Regardless of whether it's a computer, tablet, phone or television, there is a good chance you are connected to electronics for at least half of your waking hours. For many people, that connection is nearly constant. That can quickly wear on your body both physically and mentally.
When you are constantly available, you don't fully get a chance to relax and focus solely on yourself. For example, there should be no guilt in turning off your phone for a day of recharging, but many people fret over missed calls, messages and notifications. In some cases, the idea of how long it will take to catch up on missed calls is enough to keep the ringer on.
Screens themselves can do quite a bit of harm. In addition to the possible strain on your eyes, they are also linked to disruptions in circadian rhythms that interfere with healthy sleep patterns. That is why most experts recommend turning off screens at least an hour or two before you plan to go to bed.
There are many ways to improve your health that do not require sweating at the gym or revamping your entire diet. A few that may take you by surprise include turning off your phone, investing in building strong relationships, heading outdoors and annual visits to the dentist.