Every August, National Wellness Month focuses on self-care, managing stress and promoting healthy routines. Your version of self-care may be a relaxing massage, an intense new spin class or a stroll through the park. Research has shown that self-care helps to manage stress and weight, so no matter how small your efforts may be, commit now to creating healthy habits in your life. Read on for six simple ways to celebrate wellness in August and all year-round.
– Exercise outside. Switch up your fitness routine by heading into the great outdoors. Research suggests that swapping an air-conditioned gym with an outdoor workout can boost your mood.
– Watch your sugar intake. Did you know the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day? Excess sugar consumption is linked to diabetes and heart disease and can make you feel tired, sluggish and grumpy. According to the American Heart Association, men should aim for a maximum of 9 teaspoons per day and women for 6. Sweet but healthy alternatives include spices like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice and roasted veggies like parsnips, carrots, tomatoes and sweet potatoes.
– Drink more water. Water transports nutrients throughout the body for energy and health. This all-important liquid also lubricates joints, regulates body temperature, flushes body waste and maintains blood pressure.
– Switch up your snacks. Trade those sugary granola bars and salty packaged chips for things like air-popped popcorn, celery, carrots, nuts and smoothies with fresh fruit and fat-free milk or yogurt.
– Practice deep breathing. Too much stress can lead to issues such as muscle tension, weight gain and depression. To help you relax, try breathing in through your nose for a count of four, bringing the breath into your abdomen. Hold your breath for a count of four, then breathe out through your mouth for a count of eight. Discover new deep-breathing exercises by joining a supportive yoga class.
– Give yourself a massage. You deserve it! A massage can also make it easier for you to stick to a diet and an exercise program. Massage therapy can reduce anxiety, decrease muscle soreness, improve range of motion, improve mental state and help you sleep better at night.
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