April 7th is the 70th World Health Day! The World Health Organization (WHO) uses World Health Day to highlight a variety of health issues for people throughout the world. Every year has a different focus, from diabetes (2016) to healthy blood pressure (2013). 2018’s theme is Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere.
This year’s focus is on those without healthcare and the lack of universal healthcare for large segments of the world’s population. According to the WHO, half the world’s population lacks health care and another 100 million people have been forced into poverty from paying for medical bills or services.
This World Health Day, the World Health Organization is urging those interested in participating to reach out to government agencies and officials, important organizations and high profile individuals to let them know that everyone deserves healthcare. You can also help by spreading the word on social media.
Nothing can replace important healthcare services, but getting more active can help you stay healthier. It can be hard to squeeze healthy habits into a busy schedule, but Pacer can help!
If you’re having trouble maintaining healthy habits, what can you do to address the most important elements in staying healthy? Here are a few tips:
1) Eat right:
Our diet can make a big difference in the way we feel and perform. Load up on fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. Sugars and refined carbohydrates are packed with calories and easy to binge on, so avoid them where possible.
According to the New York Times, “[R]esearch increasingly indicates that an overabundance of simple carbohydrates, and sugar in particular, is the No. 1 problem in modern diets.” This doesn’t mean you have to go zero-carb, but that cutting back on added sugars and sweeteners (avoiding sugary sodas and coffee additives for example) can make a big difference in eating a healthier diet.
How can you cut back on sugar? See the helpful tips in this New York Times article.
2) Get off the couch:
You may have heard the phrase, “Sitting is the new smoking.” Experts recommend taking “movement” breaks every 30 minutes if you sit at a desk all day.
Walking even 30 minutes a day can have major health benefits, including lowering your risk of chronic disease and improving your creativity. Pacer helps you track your steps, so even if you don’t have time for a 30 minute dedicated walk, you can see how your mini-walks get you to your step goal. 60 minutes of brisk walking daily gets most people to a 10,000 step goal. Every minute or two you spend taking a walking break can really add up!
3) Get your zzz’s:
Experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults. Are you meeting that? For many of us, it’s probably not even close.
So, how do you get more sleep? Make sure your bedroom is comfortable by keeping the temperature cool enough and ensuring its dark and quiet. Don’t use electronics before bed, as the combination of blue light from your screen and addictive features can keep you up. Avoid alcohol, caffeine or nicotine close to your bedtime. Alcohol actually has been shown to interfere with sleep quality, not improve it. Find more tips for a restful night of sleep in this Healthline article.
4) Watch out for stress: While a little stress can actually be helpful when you have to take a test or meet an important deadline, too much stress can be harmful. The nonstop strains of everyday life are what to watch out for.
From the Washington Post:
Chronic daily hassles can lead to increased blood pressure, which puts you at risk for heart disease, explains Carolyn Aldwin, director of the Center for Healthy Aging Research at Oregon State University. She adds that it can also raise the levels of our stress hormones, a process that affects our immune system, and can lead to chronic inflammation, a condition associated with a host of serious illnesses, including cancer.
5) Don’t skip your checkup: Do you see your doctor for an annual checkup? This can help catch any problems in their early stages. And, if anything unusual crops up in between visits, make an appointment.
This can be tough for those with no or inadequate health care. However, if you have a serious issue then detecting and treating it early is usually the best way to prevent bigger problems in the future. If you’re not sure, get yourself checked out!
On World Health Day, take a walk, go for a run or do a quick workout! Use this inspiration to walk more, jog more and work out more every day! Track your steps, runs and workouts, post to your Pacer feed, and inspire others by giving them some words of support. If you have time, do what you can, in a small way, on this World Health Day to help those without healthcare get healthcare.