20 Things You Can Do to Be Healthier in 2020
Still looking for a good new year’s resolution or two? Try this list:
1. Get more sleep.
Don’t worry about fancy devices and designer mattresses. Good sleep starts with the basics of good “sleep hygiene” – avoid stimulants and heavy foods before bedtime, keep a regular sleep routine, maintain a healthy sleep environment (dark, quiet, comfortable), keep the bedroom temperature cool (ideally around 65 degrees), and don’t indulge in long daytime naps. If you want a deeper dive, then check out this great advice from Mayo Clinic. And if you try that and are still struggling, then consider a sleep test to get more insight or investigate sleep supportive products* that can help you reach your goal.
2. Stop smoking or vaping.
Unless it has been prescribed by your doctor, inhaling things into your lungs other than air is not a good idea. Need a reason you might not be aware of? How about heavy metal toxicity – specifically cadmium. Resolve to quit this year – and don’t start if you don’t have the habit.
3. Move more.
Bodies are meant to move on a regular basis. Being sedentary harms health in many ways, including shortening overall lifespan. Exercise is probably the most powerful anti aging drug on the planet. If you are already active, then we applaud you! If not, then find an activity or activities that get you moving in the new year. This doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon or perform extraordinary feats of strength – you can start with walking, or gardening, or dancing. Find a friend to join you and the two of you can achieve this goal together.
4. Get on top of weight gain.
This doesn’t mean you must reach some Instagram ideal in the first few months of the new year. Maintaining healthy weight is a process that can take many paths. Often just trying to decide where to start can cause individuals to give up. Thorne has some great tips to get you on your way. You can also consider an at-home test that will inform you about underlying factors that affect body weight and metabolism.
5. Eat more vegetables.
This doesn’t need a lot of explanation – your mother has probably been telling you this since you were two. Think you already do a good job? Challenge yourself once or twice a month to buy a vegetable you’ve never eaten or one you think you don’t like. Check out Okinawan purple sweet potato, bitter melon, kohlrabi, or parsnips – the possibilities are endless.
6. Eat more nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains.
These are the backbone of the Modified Mediterranean Diet, which is still the best-supported diet for overall health. Eating this kind of diet helps prevent a host of chronic, lifestyle-related adverse health conditions. It also helps manage stress and much more. Thorne offers a great guide to help you understand the basics.
7. Reduce alcohol intake.
Drinking alcohol has many harmful effects on human health. Alcohol consumption is actually on a decline in the United States (largely due to health awareness) – so why not join the club? If you’ve been overindulging recently, then you could also consider kicking off your good new habits with a mini detox using Thorne’s MediClear®.
8. Stay hydrated.
Never underestimate the value of good, clean water. According to the National Academy of Science, adults should drink between 2.7 (women) and 3.7 (men) liters of water daily.1 We have some great tips for staying hydrated, even if you don’t like water.
9. Make new friends.
In addition to making us happy, social connections have actually been shown to strengthen the immune system and increase the likelihood of living a longer life.2
10. Spend less time on social media.
Although the term “social media” sounds like a platform for making “friends,” research actually shows it can increase depression.3 So aim for more time with real people and less time with your online friends.
11. Reduce blue light exposure.
Blue light is the spectrum of light emitted from smart phones, televisions, laptops, and most other digital devices. Excess exposure is linked to eye discomfort, blurred vision, headaches, sensitivity to light, shoulder/neck tension, and disrupted sleep.4 Recent research shows blue light exposure can even contribute to aging and weight gain. Reduce your screen time (especially at night) and consider added eye protection through supplementation.*
12. Eliminate one stressful thing from your life.
There must be something you can let go of…even if it’s small. Less stress is good for your health.
13. Learn something you didn’t know.
Thought you were done learning when you finished school? Maybe it’s time to reconsider. Exercising your brain through learning helps combat aging and cognitive decline.5 Lots of universities offer free online classes – and it doesn’t have to be academic – or you could consider cooking, dancing, or something artistic like photography.
14. Get a pet.
Did you know that individuals who have a companion animal, like a dog or a cat, tend to have less depression and anxiety and are more physically active?6 Although it might not be a good choice if you have an allergy to pet dander, having a furry friend is a great way to improve your quality of life. Because animal shelters are overflowing, bonus points if you adopt a shelter pet.
15. Or get a houseplant.
Not quite ready to take on a pet? Then try a plant. Houseplants improve air quality by lowering carbon monoxide and ozone levels.7 They also give you a greater sense of well-being.
16. Be a volunteer.
Giving to others is not just good for them – it’s good for you. Studies show that in both young8 and older9 individuals, volunteering time improves mental health and cardiovascular health.
17. Visit your doctor and dentist.
Don’t wait until you have a throbbing toothache or the flu. Your health professionals want to see you when you’re well so they can help you stay healthy or get healthier. If you don’t have a practitioner or feel it’s time for a change, then check out our directory to find one in your area.
18. Take a deeper dive into your own health.
Want to know more about your hormones, metabolism, or heavy metal levels? Taking charge of your own health through home testing is empowering and helps you focus on what you need to do to reach your goals.
19. Learn about your microbiome.
You can learn about your gut microbiome and what you can do to support it by taking a GutBio test from Onegevity Health. This test uses advanced machine learning that analyzes the DNA of the microbes in your gut, providing you with personal recommendations.
20. Invest in some nutritional insurance.
No one is perfect – and all the resolutions in the world won’t ensure you’ll get all the nutrients you need from your diet, or the right balance of essential fats, or the added nutrients you need to meet your individual health concerns. If you don’t know where to start, then we have quizzes to get you started or product bundles designed to give you what you need.
- Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Institute of Medicine. http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2004/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-Water-Potassium-Sodium-Chloride-and-Sulfate.aspx. Accessed January 8, 2020.
- House J, Landis K, Umberson D. Social relationships and health. Science 1988;241(4865):540-545.
- Lin L, Sidani J, Shensa A, et al. Association between social media use and depression among U.S. young adults. Depress Anxiety 2016;33(4):323-331. doi:10.1002/da.22466
- Sabina P, Perri D, Vlad B, et al. The effects of blue light in modern society. BRAIN Broad Res Artif Intell Neurosci 2019;10(3):5-11.
- Park D, Lodi-Smith J, Drew L, et al. The impact of sustained engagement on cognitive function in older adults: The Synapse Project. Psychol Sci 2014;25(1):103-112.
- Companion animals and human health: benefits, challenges, and the road ahead for human-animal interaction. - Abstract - Europe PMC. https://europepmc.org/article/med/30209428. Accessed January 8, 2020.
- Papinchak H, Holcomb E, Best T, Decoteau D. Effectiveness of houseplants in reducing the indoor air pollutant ozone. HortTechnology 2009;19(2):286-290. doi:10.21273/HORTSCI.19.2.286
- Schreier H, Schonert-Reichl K, Chen E. Effect of volunteering on risk factors for cardiovascular disease in adolescents: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA Pediatr 2013;167(4):327-332.
- Tang F, Choi E, Morrow-Howell N. Organizational support and volunteering benefits for older adults. Gerontologist 2010;50(5):603-612.