When we think about improving our health, many of us often jump to thoughts of stringent exercise or strict diets. And sure, those things are fine if they make you feel good. But there are other ways to improve your health that go beyond what's traditional.
Sometimes I get into a health rut, whether it's because I'm doing the same thing every day (jogging around the block for the 100th time), or because I'm not taking the best care of myself (mmm, donuts every day). When this happens, I like to do something weird to jolt myself back to life, like drink apple cider vinegar or take one of those pungent wheat grass shots. It's a nice way to remind myself that being healthy isn't synonymous with boredom or routine. It's a lifestyle, and it can be totally fun.
I'm not a fan of fad exercise routines or diets, and have never done either, but I'm always down for a weird health trick. I've tried so many things, from skin brushing to Neti pots, to jumping on a trampoline to improve circulation. There are a million and one things out there that can help make you feel healthier, and there's fun in giving any that interest you a try. Below is a list of a few suggestions for nontraditional ways to improve your health, boost your mood, and even fight off allergies.
1. Use A Neti Pot To Help Your Allergies
If you've never used a Neti pot before, then I recommend you try one ASAP. It looks like a little teapot, which you fill with sterilized water and saline solution. You then put the spout in one nostril and tip the pot up so the water flows through your sinuses and out the other nostril. With that water you'll see all sorts of gunk and allergens and mucus that's been washed away from inside your face. It's absolutely gross, and yet weirdly satisfying. And it will do wonders to help with your allergies, colds, and sinus headaches. According to an article on WebMD, "Many people with sinus symptoms from allergies and environmental irritants ... have begun to regularly use the Neti pot or other nasal irrigation devices, claiming that these devices alleviate congestion, and facial pain and pressure. Research backs up these claims, finding that nasal irrigation can be an effective way to relieve sinus symptoms when used along with standard sinus treatments."
2. Brush Your Skin For Better Circulation
Brushing your skin may sound like a strange, or even pointless, thing to do. But I assure you, it's incredibly good for your skin. After all, the skin is the largest organ in the body, so anything you can do to help it out is going to be worth it. According to Lee Sutherland on MindBodyGreen, dry brushing can help improve circulation, remove dead skin cells, help drain the lymphatic system (which gets rid of toxins), and unclog pores. So get yourself a bristle brush, and have at it. It's as simple as starting at your feet, and brushing upwards towards your heart in long, sweeping motions. And if all else fails, at least it feels amazing.
3. Get Some Free Vitamins From The Sun
Vitamin D is one of those vitamins you don't want to skimp on, especially if you're a lady who has bones (which is a lot of us), as it combines with calcium to help prevent osteoporosis. According to Ella Quittner for HEALTH, "Vitamin D is essential for bone health. Recent research suggests it may have other benefits, too, such as protecting against colds and fighting depression." So you want to make sure you're getting enough of it. Luckily, vitamin D is fortified in foods, like milk. But it's also something you can get for free just by going outside, since sunlight produces vitamin D in the body. All you have to do is stand outside just long enough to feel it, but not long enough to get burned, according to Vitamindcouncile.org.
4. Laugh It Up
Everyone's heard the old adage that "laughter is the best medicine." And while it obviously won't cure everything, laughing it up can definitely offer some health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, the immediate benefits of laughing include lowered stress levels and reduced muscle tension due to increased oxygen intake and increased circulation. Long term effects include an improved mood, pain relief, and a boosted immune system. Sounds like a good excuse to binge watch Amy Schumer standup videos for the rest of the day.
5. Don't Wear Shoes
You know the feeling on the first warm day of spring when you can finally run outside without shoes? Or the amazingness of walking barefoot on the beach? Well, it turns out that going barefoot not only feels great, but it has some pretty darn good health benefits, too. As noted in Best Health Magazine, "If you refuse to wear shoes in the summer, you may enjoy better blood circulation, a happier mood, stronger bones and better posture. According to Barefoot in Toronto, a group that promotes a barefoot lifestyle, barefoot walking increases skin health, reduces foot calluses, builds arch strength and enhances sensory stimulation. Going barefoot also creates healthier toenails and reduces foot odor." Sounds like it's worth a try.
6. Surround Yourself With Plants
I've never lived somewhere that allows pets, so I've taken to surrounding myself with little house plants as the next best thing. They're cute, and I can leave them alone for days at a time if I choose to go out of town. (The perfect pet!) But houseplants do more than just look pretty and make you fulfill your desire weird desire to take care of something. They also can help you fight off colds. According to Healthline.com, "A study by the University of Agriculture in Norway found that indoor plants can ... help fight colds. The research showed that indoor plants decreased coughs, sore throats, fatigue, and other cold-related symptoms by more than 30 percent. Researchers attributed these benefits to the fact that plants help increase humidity levels and decrease dust in your home." Even more of a reason to hit up your local florist.
There are so many ways to improve your health, including these nontraditional (and often downright bizarre) tips.
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