Rush Medical Center Home Page Information for healthcare Professionals Rush University
FIND A DOCTOR
PATIENT & VISTOR SERVICES
HEALTH INFORMATION
CLINICAL SERVICES
EVENTS & CLASSES
RUSH NEWS ROOM
CLINICAL TRIALS
RESEARCH AT RUSH
NURSING AT RUSH
WORK AT RUSH
GIVING TO RUSH

Bookmark This Page
Health Information Five Simple Ways to Improve Your Health

Making small changes to your daily routine can make a big difference.

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle — and neglecting your health, even for a few months, can cause some serious problems. But even if you have only a few minutes to spare, you can use that time to improve your well-being.

Primary care physician Amy Hooberman, MD, recommends incorporating the following activities and strategies into your day. "They don’t take a lot of time," she says. "But when these simple steps become habits, they can have a positive effect on your overall health."

Put away the salt. A saltshaker on the dining table makes it all too easy to consume excess salt, which can lead to high blood pressure. So put the shaker in a cabinet or pantry and bring it out only when you're cooking.

"It's also a good idea to taste your food before you salt it," Hooberman says. "You may find it doesn't need it."

You can also try spicing up your food with lemon or lime juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, herbs or a salt-free seasoning blend. Stock your fridge and pantry with your favorite fresh and dried herbs so you'll always have them on hand to flavor your foods.

Take a slow breath. Whether you're sitting, driving or walking, you can enhance your health by taking a few seconds to focus on your breathing.

"When you slow down your breathing, it helps you relax," Hooberman says. This relaxation response releases body chemicals that relieve stress and may improve immune function. Deep breathing can also lower your resting heart rate. People with lower resting heart rates are typically in better physical condition than those with higher rates.

Sit up straight. Next time you're at your desk or on the phone, take a moment to think about your posture. Then straighten up your back, tuck in your stomach and put your feet flat on the floor with your legs uncrossed. "You'll feel more relaxed right away," Hooberman says.

The few seconds this takes can help you avoid back pain — one of the most common health problems in the United States and a leading cause of disability.

Take the stairs. The next time you’re going to a higher floor, bypass the elevator and climb the stairs instead. You’ll get your blood pumping, exercise your lungs and work the muscles in your lower body.

"It’s a great way to add physical activity to your day without having to block out time to exercise," Hooberman says. "I tell my patients to try to walk 10,000 steps each day. Taking the stairs is great exercise and counts toward that total."

Eat an extra serving of nonstarchy vegetables. Want a snack? Munch on a carrot instead of a cookie. Making dinner for your family? Serve broccoli or spinach as a side dish instead of mashed potatoes. Add green peas to your brown rice, or slices of red or yellow pepper to your sandwich.

It's no secret that vegetables — especially dark, leafy greens — are good for you. But there's another benefit to packing more veggies into your daily diet: They're rich in fiber and contain lots of water, so they'll leave you full and satisfied without a lot of calories and fat.

"All of these small steps can add up to a healthier you," says Hooberman.


You Might Also Like …

  • Join experts from Rush for an online seminar series on men's health. Watch and listen to these seminars from your own computer; you will also have the opportunity to ask questions. All seminars begin at noon. Symptoms and Treatment for Prostate Cancer - Wednesday, Nov. 20; Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction - Wednesday, Dec. 4; Testosterone and Your Health - Wednesday, Dec. 18. For more information or to register visit rushuniversity.webex.com.
  • Too busy to get to the gym? Try these sneaky ways to exercise.
  • Learn some simple strategies for boosting your brain health and protecting against Alzheimer's disease.
  • Looking for a doctor? Call toll free: (888) 352-RUSH (7874). Or check out the nearly 400 doctor profile videos available on Rush's Find-a-Doctor tool.
  • Stay in touch with Rush with Rush News Blog, Rush InPerson, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

If you enjoyed this article and are not already a subscriber, subscribe today to Discover Rush Online. You'll receive health information, breaking medical news and helpful tips for maintaining your health via e-mail. To subscribe, send an e-mail to DiscoverRushOnline@rush.edu.

November 2013
 

Promotional Information

Ideal Weight
Discover Rush Online e-newsletter
E-newsletter archive
Tipping the Scales: Unexplained Weight Loss or Gain
Five Simple Ways to Improve Your Health

   
Find a Doctor | Patient & Visitor Services | Health Information
Clinical Services | Events & Classes | Rush News Room | Clinical Trials
Research At Rush
Disclaimer | Privacy Statement | Site Map

© Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois