September 17, 2019 Lifestyle choices play an important role in maintaining good health. Staying healthy through positive lifestyle choices helps lower your risk of developing a number of chronic health disorders. These include cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, stroke, and high blood pressure. Learn which things you can do to help improve your health and wellness. Make an Appointment With a Massage Therapist Therapeutic massage not only helps reduce pain and stiffness from muscle spasms and degenerative joint disorders, but it can also improve your mental health. When you arrive at the spa for your massage, just lay back on one of their massage tables and relax, and your therapist will do the rest. Massage helps your brain release chemicals known as endorphins, which are sometimes called “happy hormones.” Endorphin released through massage helps quiet anxious thoughts, and may even help lower your perception of pain. Find an Enjoyable Exercise Routine Participating in an enjoyable exercise routine can help ensure that you will stick with it. Exercise provides numerous health benefits, however, if you do not enjoy your routine, you may become bored, and quit. Some people enjoy exercising in a structured environment with a group of people or a motivational leader, while others prefer to exercise alone in their homes. While exercise helps enhance health and wellness, always check with your healthcare provider before starting a new or strenuous exercise routine. Enjoy Restorative Sleep Sleep is one of the most important things you can do to improve your well-being. It is thought that the lack of restorative sleep can raise your risk for hypertension, and may even play a role in the development of depression and obesity. To help ensure that you get good quality sleep, turn off your electronics an hour or so before bedtime, avoid heavy meals a couple of hours before retiring, and limit your fluid intake before going to bed so that you do not wake up multiple times during the night to use the bathroom. Eat Healthily Your diet is closely related to your health. Consuming a healthy, nutritious diet has a number of health benefits, and by choosing nutrient-dense foods, you can treat, or even prevent certain medical disorders. These include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and joint pain. Eating healthy can also help lower your cholesterol. High cholesterol levels are linked to an elevated risk for heart attack and stroke, especially when your low-density lipoproteins and triglycerides are elevated. Eating healthy may also help raise your high-density lipoproteins, which are blood lipids that may play a role in preventing heart attacks. Protect Your Skin While sun exposure helps your body manufacture vitamin D, too much exposure can raise your risk for skin cancer. Limit your sun exposure and wear a hat when outdoors. Apply sunscreen to the exposed parts of your skin, such as your hands and face, and avoid using tanning booths. It is prudent to use sunscreen even in the wintertime and on overcast days, as the sun’s ultraviolet rays can still filter through the clouds. If you notice any skin changes, make an appointment with your dermatologist. If recognized and treated in its early stages, skin cancer is highly treatable.