7 Simple Daily Steps to Better Health

Establishing a simple daily routine of healthy habits can have significant beneficial effects on your health, happiness and overall wellbeing. With time, these repeated actions become good habits because they occur without thought and become automatic. Some good places to start?

  1. Brush and Floss Your Teeth Twice a Day According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, participants who brushed and flossed on a daily basis had a significantly decreased risk of stroke. Another study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, found a 65% higher risk of developing dementia in participants who did not brush their teeth. Other benefits include a reduction in gum disease which has been linked to heart disease, tooth loss and infection. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to erectile dysfunction in men and underweight pre-term babies of mothers who have gum and tooth disease.

  2. De-stress and Stay Organized If you have a busy day scheduled tomorrow, consider organizing things ahead of time. This can save time and help keep things running smoothly in the morning. Some good examples? Choose what you’re going to wear and lay it out the night before -- it’s simple but can save precious minutes. Other must-tries? Put the coffee maker on a timer, pack the kids’ lunches in advance, and have dry cereal in bowls ready to go -- just add milk post-wake up!

To de-stress even more, think further ahead.

• Make sure the gas tank is topped up on Sunday • Over the weekend, cook the entire week’s meals in advance • Organize your calendar on Friday nights, including everything for the upcoming week -- children’s activities, doctor’s appointments, work commitments, get-togethers and more. Some people prefer a big, oversized paper calendar, while others opt for smaller planners, apps or mobile calendars.

  1. Exercise Daily Exercising as little as 20-30 each day will improve and maintain your health. Exercise reduces physical and mental stress while at the same time releasing endorphins into the bloodstream that will improve your mood. In addition, exercise promotes heart health by improving your circulation, blood flow and at the same time contribute to helping alleviate anxiety.

Another bonus to breaking a sweat? You’ll reduce the cognitive decline associated with aging, improving your memory, controlling your weight and strengthening your muscles all at the same time. It’s the ultimate triple threat!

  1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep Sleep is nature’s great restorative cure. As you sleep, you’re naturally improving memory, mental acuity and attention spans, while promoting creativity and, even, curbing inflammation. And if you don’t? Those benefits decline -- or, in some cases, drive more harm than good.

A good example? One recent study found that people who slept less than six hours per night had higher levels of C-reactive protein in their bloodstream. This protein is linked to inflammatory heart disease. In another study participants who slept between five and seven-and-a-half hours per night had fewer deaths than those who slept less than five hours. The takeaway? If you want to live a healthy life, get a good night’s sleep so that you wake up refreshed, energized and recharged every morning.

  1. Eat Your Veggies Don’t make veggies an afterthought -- bring them to the forefront of your meals! Vegetables contain many vital nutrients such as fibre, folate (folic acid), Vitamins A, E, C, and potassium and magnesium, plus fiber -- all critical to your health and well-being. And if you’re pregnant or plan to be pregnant soon? The added boost of folic acid in veggies can boost red blood cell production and support healthy spinal growth during fetal development.

  2. Be Grateful -- and Write it Down Gratitude is said to be the single most important element to practice daily in order to achieve happiness. It reframes your thinking to encompass positive reality and allows you to see hidden opportunities. It makes you feel better about yourself, your life circumstances and it draws other positive people to you like a magnet. An attitude of gratitude is inspirational and a means of rising above your present life circumstances and living life to its fullest in the moment. Spend a minute jotting down two things you’re grateful for each day. That simple practice will likely boost your mindfulness and make you feel good about every day.

  3. Wash your Hands Hand washing is vital to good health. According to the CDC, the simple act of washing your hands can curb your cold risk by up to 21%, and other illnesses by 30%, 40% or even more. Make it a point to wash your hands after using the bathroom, handling animals or treating any kind of wound -- and, again, before you eat or drink.

While contaminated hands may appear clean to the naked eye, a host of microscopic germs, bacteria and viruses may in fact be present after a mere few seconds of contact with a contaminated surface. Gastrointestinal infections, influenza and hepatitis A are a few of the diseases which can be spread easily from basic contact.

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