We’ve all had those enthusiastic, well-intentioned moments in our lives when we decided to make big, sweeping lifestyle changes to improve our health, well-being and ultimately our life: Lose 20 pounds. Start exercising every day. Quit smoking. Eat healthy.
While it is always a great idea to strive for big health goals, you don’t have to make drastic changes to your life to boost your health and well-being. There are many small steps you can take to improve the quality of your life and overall health and well-being. Ultimately, it’s a lot easier to maintain small steps that you can easily incorporate into your daily life rather than trying to overhaul your life completely in one big step.
Whether it’s watching what you eat, moving more or being more mindful and de-stress, there are plenty of little steps to improve your health and we put together our favorite tips to get you started.
Try our easy feel-good tips and see how small changes can make a huge difference in improving your health right now.
#1 Take the Stairs
The next time you find yourself going to a higher floor, skip the elevator and take the stairs instead. This is a great way to add physical exercise into your daily routine without having to block out precious time from your busy schedule to go to the gym or attend one of your favorite exercise classes. Climbing stairs will get your blood pumping and works the muscles in your lower body while energizing you and building stamina.
#2 Drink More Water
Most of us don’t drink enough water and go through the day being constantly slightly dehydrated. This slight dehydration makes us tired and irritable without us knowing where it comes from. Plus, dehydration also masquerades as hunger. The next time you feel hungry during your afternoon slump, have a glass of H2O first and see if the hunger subsides. A great idea to increase your water intake is to always start your day with a big glass of lemon water to rehydrate after not drinking anything for several hours while you sleep. Remember the body is made up of about 60% of water, so it is necessary to reach for water all throughout the day.
#3 Kick Sugar to the Curb
We know this can be a hard one, because sugar is highly addictive and cake is just too good to give up. But you don’t have to give up your favorite sweet treats, you just need to swap it for healthier variations that don’t use highly processed sugar, but instead are sweetened with dried or whole fruits like dates or naturally sugar-free stevia. Sugar is highly processed, causes inflammation, is one of the easiest ways to gain weight and increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. On top of that, it doesn’t keep you full for long. If you have a sweet tooth, opt for nature’s healthiest sugar instead and eat some fresh fruit. We actually went on a 10 Day Sugar-Free Fitness Diet, you can read our journey here: 10 Day Sugar-Free Fitness Diet
#4 Enjoy De-Stressing
Reducing stress is key in improving your health. But it is also one of the hardest things to do with our fast-pace lifestyle. Regular exercise and meditation are the top two things you can do to reduce stress, but even simple, enjoyable things like taking a bubble bath, reading a good book and listening to chill-out music can help you to relax. You may think you don’t have time for this, but even 10 minutes a day can help to reduce the risk of some serious health problems like stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, ulcers, depression and obesity. The more time you spend on de-stressing, the more energized, refreshed and calmer you will feel.
#5 Exercise More
Aside from your daily workout session, which you should block out on your schedule and make a non-negotiable, deliberately find ways to incorporate more physical activity into your life. We mentioned taking the stairs earlier, but it doesn’t stop there. Every chance you get opt for a walk or bicycle ride instead of taking the car. While watching TV or Netflix, squeeze in a few minutes of push-ups, sit-ups, squats and mountain climbers. When in the office, every time you need to speak to a co-worker, get up and walk over to their desk instead of picking up the phone or sending an email. You get the idea. Your day is full of opportunities to get moving. Get creative and be more active.
#6 Drink Green Tea
Green tea is probably one of the healthiest drinks you can consume. It is packed with antioxidants like polyphenols, catechins and epicatechins and it comes with a slew of health benefits. Plus it’s a great way to hydrate at the same time. When you make your green tea, use water that is near-boiling and let the leaves steep for about 2 to 3 minutes. If you let them in longer, your green tea will taste bitter. Enjoy it hot or cold and reap the benefits of this king of teas.
#7 Go Outside
Nature has an abundance of health benefits and even just going outside for a few minutes a day can be great to improve your health and well-being. If you go outside within an hour of waking up it can help to improve your cortisol levels and balance your circadian rhythm. Trees turn our carbon dioxide into fresh, new oxygen and getting rich, oxygenated air improves our breathing and helps to kill bacteria and viruses.
#8 Practice Gratitude
Take a few minutes every morning when you wake up and at night, right before you go to bed and think about 3 things or people you are grateful for. This will fuel a more positive outlook on life and can help to improve your health. Start your gratitude practice today and train your mind to focus on positivity. This will not only calm your mind, it will also reduce stress.
Meditation has a great number of health benefits with the top of the list helping you to de-stress and clear your mind. And while you meditate, you unplug from technology. Research shows that we are more stressed out than ever before with our hectic schedules and constant input from social and other media. If you want to make your health a priority, find a few minutes each day to meditate. It doesn’t have to be structured or this major effort, it can be as simple as focusing on your breath and you will be able to balance your mind, lower stress levels, improve immune function, reduce physical pain, improve creativity and memory as well as sleep and it reduces blood pressure and regulates heart health.
#10 Read Nutrition Labels
Make it a habit to read nutrition labels to know whether a food will make you feel god or not. Remember sugar hides in words like high-fructose corn syrup and you want to stay away from hydrogenated oils. Reading nutrition labels will give you the power to know exactly what you are putting into your body and if it doesn’t pass your standards, don’t buy it.
You may already be doing all these things, but if getting healthier seems like an unsurmountable task, these tiny changes are too easy not to incorporate into your daily routine. Try them for a month and see how you can boost your energy, fitness and health.
START SMALL AND TRANSFORM YOUR BODY INTO A HEALTHY, FINE-TUNED MACHINE
Joschi & Monika