Five ways to improve your health starting now

The path to a healthful lifestyle isn't always easy. Here are 5 simple starting points @latimeshealth

It's easy to get overwhelmed when trying to embrace a more healthful lifestyle. What new diet book should you buy? Should you join a CrossFit gym? Do you need a tracker, and if so, which one? And — gulp! — how much is this all going to cost? It's enough to make you plop back down on the couch and reach for the remote.

Here are five ways to improve your health starting today that might even save you money in the long run.

1. Walk more. It's the fastest, easiest way to get in some exercise. And taking a walk right after a meal is especially good for curbing glucose levels, which is helpful for anyone trying to rein in blood sugar. Don't wait, though: Glucose hits its peak 30 to 60 minutes after a meal.

2. Protect yourself from the sun. Slather on sunscreen and don a wide-brimmed hat. Discuss your skin sensitivity with a doctor, and find out if you need to take additional measures, such as long-sleeved shirts, driving gloves and long pants.

3. Speaking of doctors: Stop the foot-dragging when it comes to scheduling your annual physical. Just do it.

4. Slash the sugar. No one is trying to take away all your ice cream. But how about a scoop or two once or twice a week instead of three heaping scoops every night? Find small, simple ways to trim the sugar out of your diet and you'll trim your waistline.

5. Get more sleep. This should be welcome news. Research increasingly suggests that a run-yourself-ragged lifestyle leads to stress, and stress leads to weight gain (and a stubborn resistance to weight loss). So get more Zzzs.

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