Avera Medical Minute: Healthy habits for improving overall health

Updated: Mar. 30, 2023 at 5:15 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Small habits can make a big difference in our lives whether they are positive or negative. Good and bad habits also greatly reflect our overall health according to Dr. Ashley VanDyke, an Avera Family Medicine physician. Some of the simpler things to remedy include sleep and posture. “When we have really good sleep and good sleeping habits, that can help our overall mental health, help us cope with everyday stressors, improve our ability to maintain a healthy life, and help the immune system,” Dr. VanDyke said. Posture is another habit you can fix sooner rather than later. “I would encourage people to get up at least once an hour to get moving and stretch,” she added.

Eating is another daily habit that can be challenging, but rewarding if done correctly. Dr. VanDyke says snacking is a good way to prevent overeating at mealtime. Ideal snacks would include healthy fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. She says apples, cheese sticks, hummus, vegetables, yogurt, and berries are some healthy snacks to consider.

Improving sleep habits

-6 to 8 hours of sleep every night

-Avoid eating/snacking before bed to promote a healthy metabolism

-Avoid blue light screens/phones before bed

Improving posture

-Be aware of ergonomics at your work desk

-Avoid text neck where you are looking down at your phone frequently

-Make walk breaks part of your workday

-Exercise also goes a long way in preventing the number one health problem affecting Americans

Improving diet

-Avoid preservatives and salty snacks

-Drink water to stay hydrated