5 Ways You Can Improve Your Health Today

1. Drink plenty of water.

I am sure this is not the first time you have heard this; however, are you doing it? Get honest with yourself. If you want to lose weight and have better health drink more water. Aim for 8 to 10 glasses a day. Try this: fill up a container with water that holds the number of ounces you want to drink that day, keep it in your refrigerator and fill your glass from it throughout the day. Make sure the container is empty by the end of the night. You will know you drank your desired amount without having to count or keep track throughout the day.

2. Get more sleep.

This one is easy, fun, and makes a huge difference in your health. Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Since the body's natural rhythm and cycle works in 90 minute increments when we are sleeping I suggest 7 1/2 hours. Give yourself 8 hours from the time you lay down to the time the alarm is set to go off in the morning. This way if you don't fall asleep right away you will still likely get at least 7 1/2. Think you just have too much to do to get to bed earlier? Try this: turn off the computer and TV at 8:00pm. Those are the two biggest saboteurs to getting to bed early for the majority of people. With your electronics turned off you will be able to hit the sack sooner.

3. Move your body.

Get out and move your body for at least 20-30 minutes. This can be just about anything as long as you are moving. Go for a walk, play kickball with your kids, jump on a rebounder, swim, hike, ski, ride a bike, jump rope, take a fitness class, practice yoga, walk your dog, play tennis, play basketball, the options are endless. Find something that is fun for you. I like to be outdoors but anything as long as you are moving is good.

4. Meditate.

Yes meditation can do wonders for your health. From lowering blood pressure to relieving insomnia. Meditation has been seen to help in almost any stress related physical condition even infertility. Give it a go. It can only help. Try this: Start with 5 minutes a day. Your only goal is to sit quietly relieving your mind of busy thoughts. As soon as you realize you are "thinking" or talking to yourself bring your mind to a touch point such as the breath and release the thought. The object is not to be without distracting thoughts the object is to train your mind to come to a quite place and not engage with the distracting thoughts.

5. Hug someone for 30 seconds.  

A hug can be good medicine according to a study at the University of North Carolina. Participants who didn't have any contact with their partners developed a quickened heart rate of 10 beats per minute compared to the five beats per minute among those who got to hug their partners during the experiment. When we embrace, we immediately reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol produced in our bodies. Hugs also make our bodies release tension and send calming messages to the brain. The hormones that are released in the body after a hug aren't just for happy feelings; they can also help your physical health. When someone touches you, the sensation on your skin activates pressure receptors called Pacinian corpuscles, which then send signals to the Vagus nerve, an area of the brain that is responsible for (among many things) lowering blood pressure. So go on give a hug and get one too.