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Health Information Simple Steps to Improve Your Life

Improving Your Quality of Life

Simple steps can yield big rewards

Quit Smoking. Lose weight. Eat less fat. Most of us are aware that doing these things can help us lead longer, healthier lives.

But there are many other, less obvious things you can do to improve the quality of your life, says Vianka Legra-Delgado, MD, an internist at Rush University Medical Center.

Here are five that might surprise you:

  • Do a crossword puzzle.

    Researchers at Rush have found that mentally challenging activities, such as reading and playing chess, may have a protective effect on your brain. “Regularly engaging your mind may help lower your risk for the dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease,” Legra-Delgado says.

  • See your dentist.

    Good oral health can reduce your likelihood of developing heart infections, such as bacterial endocarditis, Legra-Delgado says. A dental checkup is especially important for women who are thinking of becoming pregnant, since periodontal infections can increase the risk for premature delivery.

  • Take small exercise breaks.

    “People often say how difficult it is to take 30 minutes out of their day to exercise,” Legra-Delgado says. You can get the same health benefits from three, 10-minute sessions of moderately intense activity, such as brisk walking or raking leaves. “Just be sure you get your heart pumping for those 10 minutes,” she says.

  • Check your ergonomics.

    If you work at a computer, look at the ergonomics of your workstation how you fit and move in your environment. You can start by visiting the Division of Occupational Health and Safety at http://dohs.ors.od.nih.gov. “An ergonomics review can help you avoid neck, back and eye strain,” Legra-Delgado says.

  • Stop the snore cycle.

    When half of a couple snores, the other person loses sleep. The snorer is frequently tired too because people who snore loudly often have sleep apnea. In the most common form of this condition, the airway is blocked, causing the person to stop breathing and wake up repeatedly.

    Physicians at the Sleep Disorders Service and Research Center at Rush found that treating the snorer with continuous positive airway pressure, which keeps the airway open, results in better sleep for both people. Remember that even small or simple steps toward better health can yield surprising rewards.

Take a free, confidential, online health assessment at www.myrushhealthadvisor.com and receive a personalized health action plan.


 

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