Have you been wanting to start improving your health? Getting healthy might feel like a mystery. You might wonder what to eat, or question how to create an exercise routinemuch and what types of exercises to do. It might feel like you need a complete overhaul of your entire lifestyle to get healthier. But for most of us, getting healthy doesn’t require a complete lifestyle makeover. All it really takes is to make small and sustainable tweaks in our daily routines. These small changes, over time, will build upon one another helping you to form healthier habits to establish better health. When you focus on one or two areas at a time, you will learn how to start improving your health now and in the long run.
The list below is not complete by any means, but it’s here to give you a starting point for making healthier choices to improve your health. Start making changes in one area, and when you have it mastered – add something new to your routine. Over time, you’ll see the small changes adding up to make a big difference in your life.
How to Start Improving Your Health Today
1. Replace fruit juice with whole fruit.
Juices can add a lot of sugar into our diets. Eating the actual fruit will provide vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber without the sodium, excess sugar and calories.
2. Eat slowly.
Take the time to chew your food slowly. This gives your brain enough lead time to receive the signal that you’re satisfied, making it less likely that you’ll overeat. Eating slowly also helps with digestion.
3. Eat your greens.
Leafy greens are great for your health and there are plenty to choose from. These include spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, arugula, brocolli, brussel sprouts, collards, bok choy, and many more. They are low in calories, full of fiber and you can eat plenty without a load of calories.
4. Form healthy relationships.
Making real relationships with people is about the quality of that connection, not just how many people you know or how often you see them. Having healthy relationships can go far to improve your health and quality of life.
5. Learn to manage stress.
Stress is a daily part of life, but when it’s uncontrolled it can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Take time to do activities you enjoy or exercise to relieve stress.
6. Take a break.
Taking time off from work can allow you to reconnect with family and friends, which is great for your physical and emotional health. People who create this type of balance by taking regular down time are less prone to illness and likely to have a healthier, longer life.
7. Reduce sugar in your diet.
When you’re working to start improving your health, a great area to focus on is sugar. Most Americans are having excess amounts of sugar in their diet every day. Besides being associated with obesite, too much sugar in your diet could be the reason you’re tired, moody, or “hangry.” Cut back on the sweet stuff to cut calories and avoid the sugar roller coaster.
Exercise is not just for weight loss; it’s a proven way to reduce stress and improve your overall well-being. Even a 10 to 20-minutes session of moderate intensity exercise a few times a week can be beneficial to your health. And you don’t have to go to the gym. Take on activities that you enjoy like walking, gardening, dancing, bike-riding, or hiking. If you need accountability, consider getting a partner or joining a local sports league.
Need more support and accountability? Consider joining a Lifestyle Change Program. A program like My Fit Habits can help you make lasting lifestyle changes like eating healthier, adding physical activity into your daily routine, and improving coping skills. These programs are group-based and led by a trained Lifestyle Coach to help you form healthy, long-term habits for a healthier life.
Learn about My Fit Habits Lifestyle Change Program.
9. Avoid being sedentary.
Sitting is the new smoking, according to many recent studies that are identifying the link between this sedentary behavior and many health problems. If you work in an office setting, make sure to stand up regularly and move! Moving throughout the day not only helps you to get your steps in, but helps to improve your focus, productivity, mood, and overall health.
This one is a less obvious health-booster, but don’t overlook it! Laughter is a great way to lower stress and boost your “feel good” hormones. But besides that, laughter has been linked to lower blood pressure and the risk of stroke or heart attack. A good belly laugh also works on those ab muscles as well. So make it a habit to LOL.
Alicia Hyatte is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Family Wellness Advocate, Health Educator, and a Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. She helps parents to build healthier habits and routines to better balance home and work life. Her website, WholeFamilyLiving.com, provides motivation and simple strategies for handling everyday challenges like managing stress, being active, eating healthier, losing weight, and more. Alicia is a beach lover and gardening geek in her spare time.