improve your health in 2019

By UnityPoint Health on Monday, January 7, 2019

7 unexpected ways to boost your health this year

This blog was written by Kevin Vermeer, President and CEO of Unity Point Health:

I hope 2019 is off to a great start for everyone and you were able to spend the holidays with the people who matter most to you. It was a particularly special time for my family, as we celebrated my grandson’s first Christmas together. He had the eating and napping part of the day down pat, and I got to practice my go-to baby move — the football hold.

I hope you found a moment during the hustle and bustle to reflect on the past year and decide what’s important to you in 2019. For many, eating better and exercising almost always top the list. And for many, it’s an afterthought by February.

Sticking to healthy habits is hard. Anyone who’s ever tried a new diet or workout routine knows that (myself included). Fortunately, there are small, manageable things we can do that make a big difference in our overall health and wellness.

So, before you throw in the towel, try some of these easy, unexpected ways to boost your health this year from UnityPoint Health Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Michelle Swader, RDN, MS, CD.

Get the best sleep you can

Swader emphasizes the importance of getting good sleep because it’s related to so many health conditions, like immune system support, stress management, weight loss and more.

“Many small changes can have a big impact on your sleep quality,” Swader says. “Things like getting a different pillow, changing the temperature in your room, ‘winding down’ before bed, choosing a new material or style of pajamas, keeping your room quiet or playing white noise can all improve your rest.”


Flavor your foods

By making sure your food is tasty, you can walk away from your table satisfied and less tempted to snack later.

Meditate – in your own way

There are proven benefits to meditation, such as reduced stress and anxiety, decreased blood pressure, increased attention span and even improvement in age-related memory loss.

“Find something you can do mindfully each day, meaning you focus only on that task. It might be sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing. It could also be taking a slow, focused walk, slowly drinking your morning coffee or tea, doing a craft, stretching or practicing yoga, eating your meal mindfully or journaling,” Swader says.


Embrace spending time with mother nature

It seems too simple, but there are tons of advantages to spending time outdoors. Not only can you use nature as your exercise playground, but Swader says the light and quiet can boost your mood.

Laugh every day (it’s the best medicine)

Laughter can increase your oxygen intake, release endorphins, reduce stress, help relieve pain, boost your immune system and, of course, improve your mood.

“Try a joke- or comic-a-day desk calendar and joke books. Go to a comedy club with friends or watch comedy shows on TV or online. No one ever regrets a good laugh,” Swader says.

You can read the full article here: 7 Unexpected Ways to Boost Your Health This Year

vermeerKevin Vermeer assumed the role President and CEO of UnityPoint Health (formerly Iowa Health System) in January 2016. He's served the organization in a variety of leadership roles since 2000. Vermeer has over two decades of experience managing financial operations for leading health care organizations. Vermeer participates in community organizations, such as the Iowa Business Council and Greater Des Moines Committee. Vermeer also serves on the Healthiest State Initiative Board.