Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, health has come to the forefront. Unfortunately, 97% of Americans fail to meet the basic qualifications for a healthy lifestyle. Men, particularly, are struggling with their health.
Roughly 20% of men don’t discuss health-related matters with anyone, and half would rather talk about current events, sports or their job than health problems they are experiencing. It’s important that we talk about how to adopt healthy habits and start to live healthier lives. Check out this list of easy ways to improve your health.
Increase daily activity. More than 80% of adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. Decreased physical activity is linked with an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other serious health problems. Not sure where to start? Several 10-minute exercise intervals a day provide the same benefits as a much longer workout.
Sleep more. One in three adults do not get enough sleep. Adults should shoot for at least seven hours of sleep each night. Staying away from electronics before bed, sleeping in a dark room and getting up at the same time each morning can help you sleep better. However, if you’re still exhausted, meet with a health care provider, such as a nurse practitioner (NP), to see if you have an underlying sleep problem.
Consume less alcohol. Men are more likely to drink excessively, and over time, this can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and liver disease. Limit the number of drinks you consume per week, and if you are worried you are still drinking too much, meet with your health care provider to see how they can help.
Eat healthier. In today’s busy world, it can be challenging to plan meals ahead of time and cook, but increasing the amount of fruits, proteins and vegetables in your diet can help your health in the long run. Freeze healthy meals for busy days, eat out less and keep healthy snacks on hand that are easy to grab and enjoy, such as nuts and fresh fruit, like grapes and berries.
Have regular checkups. Your health care provider can help you stop bad health habits in their tracks. Schedule yearly checkups with your provider, such as an NP, and reach out to them any time you notice a change in your health.
Making small changes each day can have positive, lasting outcomes for your health. If you are concerned about your health, visit wechoosenps.org to learn how an NP can help you get on the path to better health.