We all know that staying healthy is important, but sometimes it can seem like we just don’t have enough hours in the day. Between school, seeing our friends, homework and any extracurricular activities you have, finding time to focus on health can take a back seat. Here are some ways you can incorporate healthy activities into day-to-day life without wasting any extra time.
OK, no one eats healthily all the time. It’s just not possible. You may be out, hanging with friends, and someone mentions getting burritos and fries. You can’t just opt out every single time, but you can try and make smart choices for the majority of your meals. In fact, if you eat with nutrition in mind about 70 percent of the time, you should be doing enough to stay well. One way to do this is to ask your parents not to keep junk food around the home. You might eat it when you’re out with friends, but don’t reach for the potato chips at home. Instead, get some healthy snacks to have on hand and ready to eat. That last bit is the most important. If your apples are already cut, or your hummus already portioned out, you’re more likely to eat it.
The easiest way to get your daily dose of exercise is to do sports or gym at school. That way, you don’t have to schedule time to devote to getting enough exercise. However, especially once you hit your minimum requirements, it can be challenging to fit it into your schedule. If you’re close enough, try walking, jogging or riding your bike to school. Even if it’s only a 15-minute walk, that’s 30 minutes a day, five days a week with a backpack as added weight. It’s a good start. Even if you live too far to walk to school, you can do 20 minutes of walking when you get home before you begin your studies. Take some weights with you to make your walk work harder. Every day, try to walk a little bit faster to build up stamina.
It takes more than basics to stay on top of your health. Your home can affect how you feel and can even make you sick. Things like mold and radon gas can cause all sorts of problems. When most of us think of reasons we have an asthma attack or have trouble breathing at night, seldom do we think of radioactive gas. Yet, that could be just the issue. Uranium in soil and water breaks down over time, and if there are any cracks in your foundation, or leaks in pipes or walls, you might be exposed. Water damage can lead to mold, which can cause respiratory infections, sore throat and difficulty breathing. Poor ventilation can make these things linger in the air inside our homes. Even pests can cause issues with our health. If you notice any signs, you need to have these problems addressed immediately, as they can be dangerous over time.
You may be aware, but most teenagers have a natural sleep cycle that starts and ends later in the day than adults. This is largely biological and beyond one’s control. However, most schools start early in the morning, right when you wish you were still in bed. You may only get eight hours if you’re lucky, but most teens actually need 10 hours a night. One way to get more sleep is to set a schedule for yourself. No matter how much you want to, try not to sleep in more than an hour on weekends. Studying is important, but sleep is actually more so. Try not to stay up later going over notes. Instead, spread out studying over a period of time. You’ll be more likely to remember what you learned and also rest better at night.
Your life is busy. It can seem impossible to add any more, but healthy habits like exercise and sleep should be a priority. By making just a few changes to your daily routine, you may be able to drastically improve how you feel each day.
Guest post by Jackie Cortez
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CROSSROADS HEALTH has a running program called GIRLS ON THE RUN for girls who live in Lake County and are in 3rd through 5th grade.... Read More