6 Simple tips for getting healthier

Karen Hawthorne is a health and lifestyle writer and producer in Toronto, Canada. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications including Glow, Homemakers, BestHealthMag.ca and the National Post.

Healthy living

Healthy lifestyle choices can boost your energy, your outlook, and dramatically lower your risk for disease; however, prescriptions for getting and staying healthy—and the information available about those drugs—can be overwhelming. Here are a few easy suggestions to incorporate into your routine and keep you smiling.

Woman drinking water

1Drink water.

The human body is roughly 70 to 80 percent water, making it the most natural choice to keep you hydrated and lubricate the body's systems. We have so many options to quench our thirst, but water is the best choice, whether it's filtered from the tap or purchased with added vitamins and flavors. Tote a reusable bottle in the car or keep one handy at your workplace. Keep water in your refrigerator with added fruit slices. Instead of coffee in the morning, opt for a cup of hot water with lemon one or two days a week.

2Stretch for five minutes first thing in the morning.

Turn off your alarm clock and stretch your legs, pointing your toes. Get out of bed and take a few minutes to wake up your body. Take several deep breaths, then reach out and up, arms above your head, come back down and do a knee bend. Simple stretches get your circulation going and relax your mind before you move on to the morning to-do list. You'll feel more energized to start your day.

3"Green" your diet.

Store washed baby spinach in your crisper and have a quick salad a few times a week. Drizzle on some good quality olive oil and sea salt and you're set. The darkest greens, like spinach, have chlorophyll, which is packed with hard-to-get magnesium, a potent disease fighter.

4Snack on nuts.

Swap potato chips and crackers for a couple of handfuls of unsalted nuts; they're natural sources of protein and contain good fats that fill you up and help you refuel. Good choices are brazil nuts for the selenium, an antioxidant known to lower the risk of bladder cancer in women, and almonds for the calcium and magnesium that build strong bones and a healthy heart.

5Walk outside for 10 minutes every day.

We all know exercise is important, but we canct seem to find the time to commit. The key is to integrate exercise into your daily routine. A quick walk during a break in your work day is easy, safe, and effective. Head outside to challenge your body with uneven or hilly terrain, and refresh your state of mind by connecting with nature. Is there a park near your home or office? Just 10 minutes at a fast pace makes a difference.

6Turn off the television and meditate for a few minutes before bed.

Give yourself some me time by creating some peace and solitude before you go to sleep. Clear your mind by meditating, focusing only on your breathing. Meditation grounds you and helps strengthen your immune system, studies say. If it puts a smile on your face, even better.

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