There is a certain consensus among specialists in health when it comes to promoting a life change for the better. In general, it is more valuable to commit to a small habit and stay the course than to make drastic, big changes that are not sustainable. For example, it makes more sense to include fruit in the diet and maintaining that inclusion than following a strict diet and not being able to deal with excluding so many foods we love (like that bagel) from the routine.
Therefore, it makes sense to look at more modest habits and pursue them as a way to improve health holistically. To get an idea of the impact of promoting daily (and permanent) changes, it is worth looking at the estimate of the World Health Organization (WHO) that 74% of deaths worldwide are the result of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cancers and diabetes.
Diseases widely influenced by lifestyle with harmful habits, such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption and living in conditions of poor air quality. It is necessary to say that the need to exercise and eat well is known to everyone (and it does not hurt to repeat it), but in addition to these guidelines, There are specific tips that contribute to the Physical Health and mental and that they can be adopted immediately, according to health experts. This represents a good shortcut to start the year 2024.
Waiting sitting alone for 30 minutes
There is an alarming comparison that has gained traction in recent years: the idea that sitting is the new smoking, in reference to how harmful these habits are to our health. In fact, some studies already shed light on the understanding that sitting for long periods has an influence on cases of thrombosis, circulatory problems and even strokes.
To mitigate the effects of so much time in the same position, doctors recommend not sitting uninterrupted for more than 30 or 40 minutes.. From time to time, it is necessary to get up and take a few steps, in addition to following a simple stretching guide, explains orthopedist and spine specialist Luciano Miller.
“When sitting, it is important that your feet touch the floor, that the chair supports your back, with your knees at a 90-degree angle. Every 30 or 40 minutes, you need to get up and stretch your spine, since the pressure there only increases over time,” says the doctor.
“The first thing to do during this pause is to contract your abdomen, making a holding movement, as if you were holding in your urine. ANDIt’s a super stabilization exercise and can be done several times a day. The person can then try to bend the spine forward, touching the feet. Or turn your torso from one side to the other.”
It is necessary to pay special attention to the spine also for evolutionary reasons. “The pressure on the spine from top to bottom is very great, this is because we are bipeds. If you look at our evolution, other animals don’t have the curvatures that our spine has. However, in previous times, humans engaged in more physical activity, which promoted good muscle conditioning that protected the spine. Now we are more sedentary, we have lost muscular support. Hence the importance of doing exercises, such as pilates, planks and some yoga positions that help activate the center of the body,” says Luciano.
Cell phones prohibited at the table during dinner
One of the leading addiction experts today, psychiatrist Anna Lembke from Stanford University in the United States, author of the book “Dopamine Nation: Why Excess Pleasure is Making Us Unhappy and What We Can Do to Change It” , is concerned about uncontrolled cell phone use.
According to his research, Excessive consumption of, for example, extremely pleasurable videos on social media can make us dependent on this type of content and rob us of satisfaction in other activities that we used to enjoy before becoming trapped by screens. To avoid this effect, she advocates a 30-day fast away from your preferred social network. If this is not possible, suggest gentler tips that can be practiced throughout the year.
“The real question is how to find a balance (of use) that is possible to keep under our control. It is necessary to limit the time, with specific daily averages, and make intentional use, knowing why you have the phone in your hands. We need digital education; We don’t eat ice cream for breakfast and with the telephone there must also be some rules. An important tip is, for example, to completely remove your cell phone from the table during dinner or live conversations with other people. “We need to physically get away from the phone (or the app we use compulsively), maybe for one day a week, is a good idea,” Lembke said.
“It is very important to be aware if you use your cell phone, whatever the device, to change the way you feel (to avoid feelings). This is a big red flag.”
There are tactics to achieve the necessary daily volume of water and maintain a healthy routine, according to Tarcila Campos, nutritionist. The first of them is to always be accompanied by containers with the drink at all times. Whether in bottles in the car or in a glass by the head of the bed. This, of course, without forgetting the work table.
“In the car, place the bottle next to it and drink along the way. Hydration is different from filling your bladder. If you drink the entire bottle at once, you will simply be introducing a large volume of liquid into your body. So the person goes to the bathroom all the time,” says the specialist. “We must offer water to the body throughout the day, little by little, that is the efficient way. The glass does not have to be filled all at once.
In addition to advice on how to drink water, Tarcila helps with the amount you should drink per day to reach the appropriate goal.
Make meeting friends a priority
Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, co-author of the book “A Good Life”, recently launched in Brazil by the publishing house Sextante, is one of the directors who led the impressive Harvard study that followed Americans (and their families) to understand what the ways to find, or create, satisfaction in life.
As a result of thousands of documents, researchers discovered that maintaining good relationships is a shortcut to happiness and also health. Aware of the importance of relationships, psychologist Meg Arroll, author of the book “Little Traumas: Overcoming the emotional barriers that affect our mental health,” says that maintaining a routine of meetings with friends (and other people we appreciate) is important even for our ability to assimilate traumas and develop psychic abilities, which would be good advice to put into practice next year.
“Just as we exercise our body to stay healthy, we must also exercise our psychological and emotional capacity. Finding friends to talk to is one way to do this “training” so that we can keep our feelings of well-being, or other positive aspects that come from connecting with other people, current.”, he claimed. “The most important thing to build a true relationship with these friends is to actively listen to them. It is important to be attentive to notice verbal and non-verbal communication. Pay attention to expressions and behaviors while they speak. Body communication can be more powerful than what is being said.”
This space for sincere exchange, where we pay attention to the other person, is also important so that the listener can do a reflective exercise before rehearsing any response and thus communicate in a more authentic way.
“It is an opportunity to notice if we get stressed with some social contacts. Research suggests that you can only maintain a deep, truly connected friendship with about five people. So, one piece of advice is to think about the quality and not the quantity of those connections.”
In the field of food, perhaps a forgotten substance that deserves attention is fiber, present especially in fresh foods. To give you an idea, the Ministry of Health suggests that adults consume between 25 and 30 grams of fiber daily.. This is equivalent to five servings of fruits and vegetables.
They are essential to reduce the absorption of glucose and fats by the body. In addition, they prolong digestion time, which helps avoid blood sugar spikes (a huge benefit even for people with diabetes). Some studies even associate certain types of fiber with lowering cholesterol levels. And, of course, they promote intestinal health.
“Currently, we have a diet very poor in fiber. It is very important to associate them with the consumption of water, since without it, fiber will have the opposite effect.”explains nutritionist Priscilla Primi.
In the quest to consume more fiber daily, Primi explains that it is essential to check the label of supposedly whole-grain breads and cookies, to ensure that they contain a greater amount of whole-grain flour than white flour in their composition. Often, these products, although they are indicated as being whole grain on the packaging, have a reduced amount of fiber, which is not positive for the body. However, there is more accurate advice.
“I recommend patients include a tablespoon of oat bran in their diet every day. It’s not a big change, but it makes a difference. It can be mixed into a smoothie, eaten with fruit, or included in rice and beans as a blend. I also like to recommend three daily servings of fruit and two servings of salad, whether vegetables or leaves.”