Go ahead: Eat more chocolate and shop for a new pair of shoes.
Of course, everyone knows they should ring in the New Year with pledges to eat healthier and exercise more.
But the experts at the Cleveland Clinic shared these seven unusual tips for happier and healthier living in 2013 on Health Hub from the Cleveland Clinic, available online at www.health.clevelandclinic.org.
“They’re still healthy — just a little more fun, too,” the Cleveland Clinic’s consumer health, wellness and medicine blog stated.
1. Eat more chocolate.
Research has shown eating chocolate can increase blood flow to the brain, decrease the impact of heart disease and even fight depression.
“Eat in moderation, though,” the Cleveland Clinic warned. Just 6.7 gram of chocolate a day, or roughly a small square of chocolate two or three times a day, are enough to provide health benefits.
“Dancing burns calories, reduces stress, strengthens muscles and bones and can improve relationships,” according to Health Hub. “So whether you’re grabbing a partner or dancing with yourself, shake a leg — along with the rest of your body.”
3. Get out of your comfort zone.
Stimulate your brain by trying something new, such as learning phrases in a foreign language, attempting a puzzle or enrolling in a class.
“Your brain needs exercise, too,” the Cleveland Clinic experts on Health Hub pointed out.
4. Take a mental time out.
“We all take sick days when physical illness strikes, but unchecked stress and depression also can have negative effects on your health, including heart disease and anxiety,” the Cleveland Clinic’s consumer health blog said. “Use a vacation or personal day when you really need it and do something you find relaxing.”
5. Drink coffee.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, research has shown drinking two or three 8-ounce cups of coffee daily can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease by as much as 40 percent and Alzheimer’s disease by up to 20 percent. Remember, though, moderation is key, just as with chocolate.
6. Go shoe shopping.
For women, replace high heels with shoes with a thicker heel that’s 2¼ inches or smaller. The Cleveland Clinic also recommends opting for square-toed shoes rather than pointy-toed versions.
“To be sure of a good fit,” the Cleveland Clinic’s Health Hub suggested, “try shoes on at the end of the day, when your feet are at their largest.”
“Research is not definitive on whether laughter is the best medicine, but studies have shown laughter’s positive effects on blood flow and sleep, among other things,” the Cleveland Clinic stated.
Regardless, the Health Hub concluded, “a little more humor in your life can’t hurt.”
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.