Lifestyle changes do not have to be extreme to be effective. Making one small change a day can add up over time. Being healthy means more than just improving one's diet. It also means getting more rest, limiting germ exposure and moving more. Even if the body has been treated poorly for a long time, it can bounce back quickly. Healthy habits are easier when they are broken down into small goals. Here are ten ways to instantly improve health without sacrificing the fun.
Improve The Quality Of Consumed Foods
Dieting is a depressing term used to describe a restrictive form of eating. Most people end up reverting to their old way of eating once their grace period is over. Instead of dieting, focus on slowly improving the quality of consumed foods. In place of a candy bar for a treat, try fresh fruit. Add a serving of vegetables to dinner three times a week. Accompany large pasta dishes with a big green salad and choose raw honey in place of refined sugar when baking.
Do Not Smoke
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. Smokers who started the habit long before they knew the risks are often unable to quit later in life. In addition to causing lung cancer, smoking has been linked to heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and stroke. Seeking professional help is recommended for heavy smokers as the addiction is often too hard to deal with alone.
Get In Touch With Nature
Fresh air is good for the soul. Getting outside when possible is a great way to relieve stress and get some exercise. Grab a friend and hit the hiking trails. Pack a healthy lunch and enjoy some time out of the house. Opening a window is the next best thing. It allows for fresh air to circulate throughout the home. Take a break from the computer or smartphone every once in a while and get in touch with nature.
Change Unhealthy Eating Habits
Sometimes referred to as 'Mindful Eating' learning to eat food slowly is the best way to enjoy it. It also helps with eating less food. Avoid eating in front of the television or on the couch, which causes mindless overeating. Prepare meals at home with healthy ingredients and sit down at a table to enjoy them. Make time to eat breakfast each day, even if it means waking up fifteen minutes earlier. Avoid eating in the car or on the go and take the time to prepare healthy snacks throughout the day for when temptation strikes.
Wash Hands, Sheets And Pillow Cases Often
Washing hands is a no brainer. It is the best way to prevent spreading germs that cause the common cold and other viral infections. Wash hands before eating and after coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching the face too much as this spreads germs. Keeping pillow cases and sheets clean does not just feel good when climbing into them at night; it also helps kill germs that might be lingering on pets or in other areas of the bedroom.
Find Healthy Ways To Cope With Stress
The long-term buildup of stress leads to a condition known as chronic inflammation, which is the underlying cause of many diseases. Inflammation damages and irritates the joints, tissues, and organs, making it harder for body systems to work. Stress also affects mental health and causes cognitive impairments. Try learning breathing exercises or meditation, which can be done anywhere to deal with stress when it hits. When pressure hits at the office, take a five-minute break and head outside for fresh air.
Drink More Water
Dehydration is often mistaken for hunger. Try drinking a glass of water the next time hunger strikes right after a meal. Proper hydration is also an important part of the digestive process. It prevents constipation by moving fecal matter through the gastrointestinal tract and eliminates toxins through the urinary system. Water is also needed for healthy skin, hair, and nails. Avoid drinking too many caffeinated beverages throughout the day as this causes dehydration.
Stretching is a great thing to do first thing in the morning and again right before bed. It is relaxing and prepares the body for an active day ahead and it calms the body for a night of rest. Focus on the following body groups for a full body stretch: quadriceps, hamstrings, triceps, chest, hips, and IT bands. Stretching out the feet is a good way to relieve pain. Child’s pose (in yoga) is easy to do and can help with lower back pain.
Physical exercise is a crucial part of staying healthy, but it does not have to be intimidating. Get outside and take a thirty-minute walk three times a week before or after work. Try taking a yoga class on the weekends or riding a bike to work. Keep a spare change of clothes at the office as well as a few personal hygiene products to freshen up after working out on lunch breaks. Taking the stairs and parking farther away from buildings are also helpful.
Get Enough Rest
Lack of sleep is associated with many diseases, including obesity. Studies show that people who do not get seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep at night are more at risk of gaining weight. Start by developing a healthy bedtime routine right after dinner by taking a hot bath and reading a book. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day to establish a routine. Turn off all electronics two hours before climbing in bed.