While weight loss can promote benefits like lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, less stress on bones and joints, and less work for the heart, it’s not everything. For example, you might not be classified as “overweight.” But, that doesn’t mean you’re healthy if you live a sedentary lifestyle.
With that in mind, we asked our own Brittany Malone, a Licensed Associate Counselor of Mental Health, Nationally Certified Counselor, and ACE Certified Personal trainer and Nutrition Specialist, to share 15 things that influence our physical wellness that is not linked to weight loss.
1. Drink more water!
“Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 50% to 70% of your body weight,” states the Mayo Clinic. “Your body depends on water to survive.”
“Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work properly,” such as;
Getting “rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements”
Maintaining a normal temperature
Lubricating and cushioning joints
Protecting sensitive tissues
“Lack of water can lead to dehydration — a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions,” they add. “Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.”
How much water should you drink every day? It’s suggested;
About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
These recommendations have taken into account other beverages and foods that can help you stay hydrated, such as tea and spinach. Also, you may have to modify your fluid intake based on factors like exercise, pregnancy/breastfeeding, environment, and overall health.
2. Take medications as prescribed.
“Sticking to your medication routine (or medication adherence) means taking your medications as prescribed – the right dose, at the right time, in the right way and frequency. Why is doing these things important? Simply put, not taking your medicine as prescribed by a doctor or instructed by a pharmacist could lead to your disease getting worse, hospitalization, even death.”
Ask your health-care provider or pharmacist for suggestions on best you should take your medications. Some tips that they may suggest are;
Take your medication at the same time every day.
Take your medications with a daily routine like before or after a meal.
Keep a “medicine calendar.”
Use a pill container.
Purchase timer caps for your pill bottles.
And, if you have leftover medication, properly dispose of it.
3. Skin check.
It’s recommended that you schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at least once a year. But, you can give yourself a self-exam until then. “Watch those moles!” advises Brittany.
And, if you’re spending time outside, always use sunscreen.
4. Regular self-check breast and testicular exams.
It’s recommended that men and women give themselves a testicular or breast self-exam once a month to spot any changes. This can help increase the odds of early detection.
5. Use a soothing lotion on dry skin.
Caring for your skin isn’t for vanity reasons. It stimulates new skin cell production, makes you less prone to infections, and it just feels good.
If you need some suggestions, Prevention has 20 body lotions recommended by dermatologists.
6. Trim and clean toe and fingernails.
“Nail grooming is a simple yet important self-care routine. Not only do short, well-manicured nails look great, they are also less likely to harbor dirt and bacteria, which can lead to an infection. In addition, the right nail clipping technique can help prevent common issues like hangnails and ingrown toenails.”
To properly trim your nails, it’s suggested that you soften them first, use “a nail clipper or nail scissors for your fingernails and a toenail clipper for your toenails,” and cut straight across the nail.
7. Take a break from using harsh hair products/heat and treat damage.
“Hair damage is more than just split ends,” notes Mandy Ferreira for Healthline. “Extremely damaged hair develops cracks in the outside layer (cuticle). Once the cuticle lifts (opens), your hair is at risk for further damage and breakage. It may also look dull or frizzy and be difficult to manage.”
8. Get a full-body massage.
There’s more to this than just being a part of a self-care routine. Massages can improve circulation, recovery of soft tissue injuries, and skin tone. They can also stimulate the lymphatic system, increase joint mobility and flexibility, and reduce stress hormones.
Just make sure that you get a message from a licensed massage therapist, says Britany.
9. Self-massage hands, face, or legs.
You also can give yourself a massage whenever you need to reduce tension. Studies have actually found that a brief self-massage can not only alleviate stress but also boosts work performance.
Here’s a Reader’s Digest article that can help you learn the art of self-message.
10. Chiropractic adjustments.
Are you experiencing headaches, joint/muscle pain, back pain? Have you recently been in an accident or noticed the sols of your shoes are worn out? If yes to any of these, make an appointment with a licensed chiropractor
Improve mobility and flexibility with regular stretching and mobility exercises.
These are often simple exercises that can reduce pain, muscle tension, and increase mobility. SELF has 21 stretching exercises that you can incorporate into your daily routine.
11. Tend to your oral hygiene.
“When was the last time you went to the dentist?, Flossed? Do you have access to new/clean dental tools?” asks Britany.
FYI, you should visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning and prevent future decay and gum disease. And, the American Dental Association suggests that you floss at least once a day.
12. Sanitize surfaces and objects you touch regularly.
Research shows that there are more bacteria on computer keyboards than toilet seats. Gross. Make sure that you are regularly cleaning your phone, computer, purse/wallet, bedding, and any other surfaces or objects that you touch frequently.
13. Go outside and breathe fresh air.
Being outdoors can make you healthier and happier by lowering your blood pressure, reducing stress, and improving your mood.
14. Get on a sleep/wake schedule.
Having between 7 and 9 hours of sleep is essential for our mental and physical health. Establish a regular sleep routine and stick to it -- even when you want to sleep in during the weekend.
15. Get your home’s air quality and water quality tested.
“When was the last time you changed your air filter?,” asks Brittany. Ideally, you should do this every 90 days as it filters out dirt, dust, and allergens in your home or workplace.