20 quick and easy ways to get healthier fast
Being healthier doesn't have to mean overhauling your entire lifestyle. Sometimes all it takes is a few simple changes. From eating more carrots to watching puppy videos (that's right, puppy videos), these quick-and-easy tweaks to your daily health regimen can make a huge difference in the way you feel.
--By Sunny Sea Gold, Health magazine
Grab your toes and pull
"This boosts circulation after your feet have been cramped in shoes all day," says Michele Summers Colon, DPM, a podiatrist in El Monte, California. "Without proper circulation, the muscles and nerves in our toes don't work properly. And that can cause pain in your knees, hips, and back."
Wash the linens
Dust mites, a major allergy trigger, love to hang out in your bed. Zap 'em by laundering sheets and pillowcases every week in hot water. Also smart: Use mattress and duvet covers designed to keep mites out.
Flying? Turn on the air vent above your seat. "I fly a couple of times a week," says Travis Stork, MD, an emergency medicine physician and co-host of The Doctors. "Part of the way I stay healthy is by being very conscientious about all of the germs that are on planes. I turn on the air vent and angle it so it blows air down in front of my face—that's filtered air and it creates a little bit of a barrier to keep the germs going around the cabin from getting into my nose or mouth."
Do 25 jumping jacks
Move your body, no matter how briefly, to stop the stress response in its tracks and change the channel on your mood, says Lisa Oz, author of US: Transforming Ourselves and the Relationships That Matter Most.
Silence your phone at night
Don't let your loved ones interrupt a deep sleep. "I alerted friends and family to when I would be sleeping so I could minimize noisy calls and texts," says Marni Hillinger, MD, a medical resident in New York City. "Turning the phone off works, too!"
Get your shots
Get a yearly flu vaccine? Great. Now add a TDaP booster. TDaP stands for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis—and that last disease, also known as whooping cough, is a particularly dangerous respiratory illness. In fact, cases of pertussis in the U.S. have risen about 137% since 2000.
"For most adults, that means a nasty cough; in children, it can be worse," says Ana Pantoja, MD, staff physician for AltaMed in Boyle Heights, California. "So if you have kids or are around kids, it's essential to get vaccinated." Even if you got the shot as a child, you still need one booster as a grown-up. (You'll also need a tetanus booster every 10 years.)
Drop your underwear
Going commando once in a while (say, overnight) couldn't hurt, especially if you're prone to UTIs. "Wearing no undergarments—or just cotton ones—allows the external genitals to dry and reduces bacteria growth that could otherwise make its way into your urethra and cause a bladder infection," says Sherry Thomas, MD, an OB-GYN and surgeon at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, California.
Keep medical info handy
Put a card in your wallet that lists any allergies you have and medications you're taking, in case you end up in the ER and are unable to speak for yourself. Says John M. Kennedy, MD, co-author of The 15-Minute Heart Cure, "It could just save your life."
Crank down the volume
MP3 players can create sound up to 120 decibels—loud enough to cause hearing loss over time. "Follow the 60/60 rule: Keep volume coming through your headphones to no more than 60 percent of the max, for no more than 60 minutes a day," says James Foy, DO, an osteopathic physician in Vallejo, California.