After seeing thousands of patients I have noticed that there are always things we can do to jump-start your health.  If you are looking to improve your health or if you are already very fit, chances are your will find something here that you can improve in.  Below are a list of items you can do quickly, easily, and inexpensively to help improve your health and life.

  1. Water – Believe it or not but most do not even drink enough water.  Start your day off with 8-16 oz of water before you leave the house or grab that cup of coffee.  Dehydration is linked to poor performance and energy loss.  On average, try to get about ½ your body weight in ounces per day.
  2. Food as medicine – Our standard diet can always use tweaking.  Food can literally heal us from within and it is more than just an energy source.  Choosing the right foods can not only protect you from disease but there are ways of eating that can literally help you reverse sickness, illness, and injury.
  3. Exercise – Exercise gives not only your body a boost but also your brain a boost as well.  Those who exercise have a reduced risk for chronic diseases, better blood flow and recovery.
  4. Cut down processed food & sugar – Processed foods are often made with chemicals, preservatives, and artificial ingredients that your body just does not respond well to in the long term.  Add massive amounts of sugar and now you have a recipe for disease.  These are things like packaged treats, cookies, and foods you find in the isle.  If you are looking to really cut sugar down, try and get 20g of sugar or less per day (of added sugar that is).
  5. Pick Activities You Enjoy – So many people want to get fit but they choose the gym.  Rather than choosing a gym, choose an activity that you enjoy doing.  There is no better way to fall off track and lose interest than to chose something you don’t want to do.
  6. Smoothies/Juicing – Adding vegetables to your diet is always a good thing.  By juicing or blending you can drastically increase the amount of nutrients you get per day.  Just be sure that you have more vegetables than fruits and do not use sugar concentrates when blending. This may take time to develop an acquired taste but can really benefit you.
  7. Shop Better – The worst way to shop is when you are hungry!  Go to the store at a time where you are full so you can make better decisions.  Its better to spoil one meal before you shop than to buy on an empty stomach and spoil the whole week.  In addition, go straight for the fruits and veggies while skipping the isles where the processed foods are.
  8. Prepare your meals / Meal Prep – Brining your own lunch can save you calories and big money over the years.  Don’t like this option?  There are many meal prep companies that ship you fresh and healthy foods.   They can even deliver to your work and you can pay monthly.
  9. Protein Supplementation – Protein supplementation can help curb a lot of the hunger pains you may feel during the day.  Protein helps to fulfill satiety levels and you may ward off a lot of unhealthy choices as a result.  Typically, I keep a protein powder and shake at my work as a backup just in case.
  10. Fiber – Fiber not only helps control sugar levels but also is great for your digestion and providing a fertile environment for healthy gut bacteria.  This is critical for your overall health as well.  Try to get at least 28g of fiber per day as a minimum.
  11. Alcohol – Too many people drink alcohol late at night.   Not only does this contribute to spikes in your sugar levels (which can cause late night pizza eating) but also it will dehydrate you and truly does affect your sleep cycles thus, affects your hormones.
  12. Smoking – There is no better way to improve your health than to stop smoking.  The number one best way to reduce the risk of illness and disease is to stop smoking. PERIOD!
  13. Get Rid of Vegetable Oils – Vegetable oils are packed with omega 6 fats, which are pro-inflammatory and contribute to disease.  Our diet should be about 1:1 – 1:3 ration for omega 3 to omega 6 fats.  In today’s world, we often see ratio that is about 1:21 to 1:26.
  14. Supplementation – Adding vitamins and minerals can help but only if you are doing other things with it.  Although supplementation is great, if you are not putting out the fires with the basics this will be minimally helpful.
  15. Intermittent Fasting – If you are busy, want to stay healthy, and can endure not eating for a bit then this may be for you.  Fasting at times has been shown to help improve your immune system and can help those lose weight.  Just make sure to break the fast with healthy foods.
  16. Black Coffee – Your Starbucks iced moca doca poka frapp probably has 1,200 calories.  It is essentially a sugar bomb (ice cream Sunday) that has coffee flavors. Black coffee on the other hand can be used to help fasting, boosts your metabolism, and is only 5 calories. Switching to straight black coffee may not be your thing but start thinking about how many extra calories you put in your coffee that don’t add any nutritional value. I personally rather eat my calories than drink them.
  17. Goals, Vision, Purpose – A lot of people neglect their goals but it’s truly important.  Living a life with goals, vision, and purpose keeps you motivated, satisfied and fulfilled mentally and spiritually.
  18. Attend Workshops – Want to learn more about anything?  There are meet up groups, workshops, that are free all around your community.  Experts often give workshops so if you are looking to learn more about your health, a hobby, or fitness, and then go attend one of them (even if you have to pay).
  19. Sleep – You’re probably one of those people who say I only need 5 hours per night but studies show that you are likely wrong.  Research has shown that those who get less than 7 hours of sleep will demonstrate some sort of reduced performance or activity compared to if you do get 7-9 hours.  Essentially, you are not the best version of you.   You need 7-9 hours of sleep per day to function properly!  This includes mind, body, brain, and hormones.  Personally, getting more sleep drastically improved my happiness and how I feel day to day.
  20. Breathing – Do you really know how to breathe properly?  Most people do not and your breathing is related to healing, core strengthening, back, and your ability to heal injuries.  Did you know that about 91-93% of people with chronic pain have altered breathing patterns?  Breathe better, live better.
  21. Uncover your pains – What kind of pain are you living with?  Getting down to reduce your pain can really help improve your mood. Pain takes a lot of energy and focus from us and we often avoid social activities, exercise, and neglect other aspects of our life as a result of focusing on our pain.  Pain is complex (a lot more than you may think) but learning to get rid of it will improve your health.
  22. Grounding – When was the last time you walked barefoot on the earth?  Connecting your feet to the ground has shown to reduce pain, inflammation, transfer ions, and help improve foot strength.  We call this grounding and our feet are designed to register information from the ground.  It is how we communicate us to the earth and the earth to us.
  23. Posture – If you have poor posture there can be muscle imbalances, poor mechanics, and poor breathing patterns.  As a result, this will contribute to pain, tightness, and a lack of energy all while increasing the chance that you will get injured. This can be especially true if you are starting a new activity or exercise program.
  24. Your Peer Group – Surround yourself with good company.  Don’t have the best company or group?  There are meet-ups and networking groups (some free) that you can attend to be around more positive people that want to see you succeed.  Who you hang around influences your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  25. Movement from desk – As mentioned in posture… We sit way too often.  If you work at a desk try to move more.  Take more bathroom breaks; walk a bit further from your car to the office or work door.  Move during lunch and meeting breaks.  Your body was not designed to sit as long as you do.
  26. Time Efficiency – Be more efficient with your time by listening to podcasts or audiobooks.  You can learn a lot without having to do more with your time.  Also, set deadlines for certain activities like social media or reading so this way you can be productive with the time you already do have.
  27. Get outdoors more – Do I really need to say this?  You are nature.
  28. Your Thoughts are Things – As I mentioned with your peer groups that who you hang with influences your thoughts.  We all have some negative self-talk but realize this is only natural.  Learn and review your self-talk and being to bring awareness to your thoughts.  They create your world and influence how you feel on a daily basis.
  29. Stretching when you feel good – Stretching can help boost coordination, recovery, movement, and blood flow after exercise or activity.  Not only does it feel good but also you should stretch when you are not in pain.  Avoid stretching when you are suffering pain as this often provides temporary relief at its best.
  30. Foam Rolling & Mobility – This self-technique that helps you improve your range of motion, movement, and relieve tension throughout the body.
  31. Gratitude – Gratitude is the art of being thankful for what you have while on the pursuit of what you want.  There is always someone with less.  I am grateful that you have read this far!
  32. Farmers Markets – Farmers markets is a great way to get farm shares, which is like prepaying for your food weekly.  Markets also give you access to local food that is typically better in quality and for a reasonable price!  You are also supporting your local business.  You dollar votes count.
  33. Measuring  (Count your calories/Macros) – Technology and Apps on our phone can help you easily track & manage your food (calories or macros).  Keeping a log can help give you better results.  Most of these apps are free with paid versions as well.
  34. Hire a Professional – I hire a professional to take care of my car because I have no idea what I am doing and I don’t want to spend the time learning it all. I also hire a Doctor to review my blood work and do other things I do not have the skill or knowledge of. Hiring a professional is a great way to get your results, learn in the process, and takes out a lot of the guesswork.  In most cases, a professional is going to guide you in the right direction and at some point you will have to hire one.  We can’t nor should we do everything on our own.
  35. Schedule Breaks & Vacations – Whether this is breaks in your day or breaks in your calendar year… Either way, a break from work or from the daily routine can help drive energy and get you to refocus.
  36. Unplug from Technology from time to time – I really don’t think much needs to be said for how often we use technology.
  37. Play – The best exercise for life is to PLAY!  Roll on the ground, laugh, be a kid.  After all, we really never grow up and we all need some fun.  Playing can be in the form of wrestling, running around, crawling, climbing, sports, recreation, laughing, etc.
  38. Experiment – Don’t be afraid to experiment with your body, your diet, and your life.  We all make mistake and the only way you are going to learn is to experiment and see what works for you and what does not.

Dr. Josh Jagoda is a Sports Chiropractor located in San Diego, CA. Dr. Jagoda specializes in sports, shoulder, and soft tissue injuries.