We all want to be healthy, though working as a self-employed individual can make it difficult to stay on top of even the most basic health-related tasks. Add to that the reality that we face a deluge of Facebook posts, Instagram influencers and internet articles about the latest health fads, and it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. At the end of the day, there are many different ways to keep yourself healthy as well as specific things that your unique health needs require. There are, however, key things you can do to keep your health up. Many of these things are overlooked, but paying attention can yield great results. We’ll look at four overlooked things that can help keep you healthy.
Drinking water has a variety of benefits. If you haven’t heard, our bodies are up to 60% water, so keeping that supply fresh is important. In addition to keeping you from becoming dehydrated, drinking water is a great no-calorie option to relieve thirst. Water also energizes our muscles, helping to maintain the balance of fluids and electrolytes. This staves off muscle fatigue, which happens when that balance isn’t maintained, causing cells to shrivel. Our muscles perform better when they have adequate fluids, making water consumption a critical part of exercising. The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines recommends that you drink roughly 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise
Water also serves some cosmetic purposes by keeping skin looking great. Skin evaporation is one method of fluid loss humans undergo. Skin contains a lot of water to protect against excess loss, which is why dehydration can make skin look more wrinkled or dry.
Finally, water is important for kidney function. Fluids help to carry waste products between cells, including blood urea nitrogen. This water-soluble toxin passes through the kidneys to be dispelled in urine, but requires adequate fluids to pass through. Subsequently, those who are drinking enough water and fluids notice that urine is light in color. Those who are dehydrated or not getting enough fluids will notice that urine color and odor may increase as the kidneys retain extra fluid to execute bodily functions.
The benefits of getting enough sleep are endless. In addition to increasing your ability to focus and concentrate, getting enough sleep can prevent obesity and heart disease. Yep - both sleep quality and duration can significantly impact health risks associated with heart disease. One study found that people who aren’t getting enough sleep face a much higher risk of heart disease or stroke than those that are able to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
Not getting enough (or good enough) sleep is also linked to weight gain. People who sleep less tend to weigh more than those who get enough sleep. Sleep duration is one of the most significant risk factors for obesity, with one study showing that adults with short sleep duration are 55% more likely to become obese. Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain. Sleep can impact both hormones and motivation to exercise, which leads to poor health outcomes related to weight. Sleep-deprived people also tend to consume more calories.
Alternatively, getting enough quality sleep can lead to enhanced athletic performance. A study on basketball players reflected that longer duration of sleep could significantly improve accuracy, speed, reaction time, and mental well-being.
Vitamin D is important for the human body and can be derived from the sun. Unfortunately, those of us who live in less than sunny climates or areas where winter brings less sunlight than usual may suffer from low vitamin D. Good news! Vitamin D supplements can help make up for the loss and deliver several health benefits like reduced symptoms of depression, better bone health, improved strength, and decreased risk of cancer.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to serious health issues and diseases, including prostate cancer, heart disease, colon cancer, breast cancer, depression, and more. While trials and studies are still being conducted on the exact connection, existing studies seem to show that people with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of some of those diseases.
Vitamin D helps also plays an important role in the immune system and neuromuscular system regulation and acts significantly in the life cycle of human cells.
Just 30 minutes of walking each day can improve cardiovascular fitness, increase muscle power, improve endurance, and strengthen bones. Walking also helps reduce the risk of certain conditions like heart disease, osteoporosis, some cancers and type 2 diabetes. The best part? It’s free and requires no special equipment.
While some people prefer to train hard at the gym, many reap the benefits of walking to improve health. As a low-impact activity, walking is a great way to get exercise without worrying about injury, especially for those who are overweight, elderly, or who have conditions that may prevent more rigorous activity.
Ok, we said four overlooked things, but we meant five. It might sound obvious, but visiting your doctor is an important part of staying healthy. Keeping in touch with your primary care doctor ensures that you stay in good health and that any issues are detected early. Regular visits to the doctor for routine visits are important for screening test and lab work as well.
If you are looking for a health plan that supports the doctor-patient relationship, consider one of Decent’s plans. We offer free primary care on all of our plans, meaning you get to see your doctor whenever you want — for free. Get your free quote today!