Important tips for living a healthier, happier life

Doctor’s column
By: David Dubin, M.D., Sutter Independent Physician Special to The News Messenger
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Bad weather-blues can bring you down both physically and emotionally. Now is the time to kick-start the spring season to a healthier, happier life. Here are several simple lifestyle choices to help you achieve that life-long goal. Nutrition You are what you eat! Foods such as vegetables, whole-grains, fruits and fat-free or low-fat dairy products provide the body with the nutrients it needs. Hydration Drinking water is a must and eight to 10 glasses of water a day is recommended. Start the day off by drinking water in the morning and continue all day. Exercise Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day or at least most days of the week. While hiking, jogging, running and calisthenics can give a person a good cardio workout, biking, swimming, yoga and Pilates can do so with less wear and tear on the knees and ankles. Sleep Adequate sleep is also very important to maintain good health. According to the American Heart Association, a lack of sleep may be linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure. The amount of sleep needed varies by age. Teens need about 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night. Seniors can often get by on six hours of sleep while six to eight hours is usually enough for adults. Socializing Pets make good companions and offer many health benefits to owners. Along with their company, love and affection, they also decrease loneliness and reduce stress. There are also health benefits to being sociable with family and friends, joining a social club or group, or engaging in cultural activities. Spiritual Relaxation, meditation, or attending a church may help improve a person’s spiritual well-being. Meditation is also good for mental health as it helps put things into perspective. It’s important for each of us to take time out of our busy schedules to care for our body, mind and spirit. Talk to your primary care physician about lifestyle changes you can make to live a healthier, happier life — and a long one, too. David Dubin, M.D., is a Sutter independent physician.