*Thanks to Aetna and the Healthiest Cities and County Challenge for sponsoring this post.
Lately, I have been all about setting small, achievable goals to help improve my life. One of my May goals was to get more sleep, while one of my April goals was to exercise more. As part of my own resolve to improve my own personal health, I’ve partnered with the Aetna Foundation to share their Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge with you.
The Aetna Foundation surveyed more than 2,000 Americans on their opinions about healthy living topics. The survey found that 77 percent of Americans think they are either somewhat healthy or extremely healthy. Sadly, however, half of all American adults — 117 million — had one or more chronic health conditions and one in four American adults had two or more chronic health conditions as of 2012.
The survey also found that where you live affects your health. Half of Americans give their city or county a C or lower for how healthy and environment it provides, grading factors like cost of living, access to health services, availability of nutritious foods, and amount of crime and violence.
So, with the aim of increasing Americans’s overall health, the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties are hosting Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge , a $1.5 million prize competition. The challenge will encourage small and mid-sized U.S. cities and counties to develop ways to improve their residents’ overall health and wellness.
Check out the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge to find out how you can get your city or county involved in the challenge! In the meantime, you can try out these tips to give yourself a healthier lifestyle.
Follow the #HealthiestCitiesChallenge to find out more about the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge, and visit the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge website.
Five Ways to Increase Daily Wellness
Exercise 30 Minutes Daily
It’s essential to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. The good thing is that you don’t need 30 minutes straight of exercise a day –you can spread it throughout the day. Try taking a walk in the morning, doing a little bit of afternoon gardening, playing in the yard with your kids in the evening and perhaps ending the day by cleaning up some clutter and straightening up your house.
I’ve been trying to “exercise” more by working on my yard and garden and by spending more time cleaning the house!
Drink More Water and Plan Meals
It’s important to drink enough water daily and to eat your fruits and vegetables. Planning ahead what you will eat during the day is key — otherwise, you might find yourself snacking on treats throughout the day! You could try carrying a water bottle with you, adding fruit to your cereal, adding a salad to your lunch, and snacking on sliced carrots and cucumbers.
I’ve been making more “salad bar” dinners for my family — I make a big salad, and then provide a variety of proteins and toppings that can be added to the salad.
Take Mini Breaks Throughout the Day
Life can be stressful, so you need to take time to lighten the load throughout the day. Try not to be chained to your desk or your responsibilities — take a walk, enjoy a cup of tea, enjoy nature or take in some sunshine!
Ways I like to take a break are walking into town or along a park trail, gardening, and doing some coloring in some of my many coloring books! (I got a new one for Mother’s Day!)
Create a Healthy Bedtime Routine
I am the worst at this necessity for daily healthy living. To live a healthy life, you need a restful nighttime routine. Such a routine doesn’t exist in my house for me — when I should turn in for the night, other members of my family are sometimes still up. Often I am on my phone or watching TV before turning in, so my mind is anything but at rest! Some ways to make sure you get some shut-eye is to turn notifications off on your phone, to turn your phone’s brightness down, and try to keep on schedule when it comes to going to bed.
People are social animals, so staying in touch with friends and family is key to living a healthy life! Make time for your friends — e.g., plan a girls night out, get together for coffee or take your morning stroll together. Also be sure to plan fun times to enjoy with your husband and kids! Make sure you devote time every day to stay off your devices so you can connect in the physical world — not just in the digital, online or virtual world!
What do you do on a daily basis to improve your health and wellness? Please share in the comments!