5 Easy Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Health
Getting healthier isn’t always about going from being a couch potato to being a marathon runner. Sometimes it’s the small changes that can make all the difference in your overall health. The key is to make a lifelong change in how you live, not one major change that may end up being temporary.
By being realistic about your lifestyle, you can make small changes that can improve your health overall. Making small changes in how you grocery shop, how you view exercise, the beverages you drink, planning and implementation, and focusing on your positives leads to a healthier you.
Rethink your grocery shopping
Fad diets are difficult because they are great for cutting a large amount of weight for a short period of time. However, once you stop the diet, it can be really difficult to keep the weight off because your method of losing it wasn’t sustainable. Juice cleanses are not forever.
Instead of considering a specific diet, consider food.
Go through your usual shopping list and make some changes. Instead of buying sweets for when you have a craving, buy some dark chocolate and fruit. Find your weaknesses and substitute healthier alternatives. If you find yourself making unhealthy choices walking through the aisles, order your groceries online where you are less likely to make impulsive choices.
Some also find that it’s helpful to plan your meals for the next week (or two) and create your grocery list from that meal plan. When you’re grocery shopping, really think about what you’re putting in your cart. You don’t have to make any huge changes like completely cutting out dairy or never making your favorite enchiladas for dinner—you just have to be more conscious about what you’re buying. Make the less-healthy meals less often and you’ll be surprised by the change it can cause in your overall health.
Being active is an essential part of being healthy, but you don’t have to look at it as “exercise” in the traditional sense. Finding something you like is essential. You don’t have to go for a run, or even go to the gym.
However, adding some sort of physical exercise to your lifestyle can do wonders for your health.
Take a break from work and go on a 10 minute walk a few times a week. Take the dog on a walk around the neighborhood. Consider riding your bike for transportation to close destinations. Park at the farthest spot in the parking lot. For those who are older, are not into exercise, are overweight, have knee pain due to exercise, or suffer from other ailments that prevent strenuous activity, low-impact activities like these are great ways to add some movement into your lifestyle.
You don’t have to become a different person in order to improve your health. If you don’t like exercise, you don’t. However, 10 minutes of activity can do wonders for your health especially if you can view them as welcomed breaks and not forced exercise.
Don’t discount beverages
It can be easy to wave away any concerns about the beverages we drink when the stress seems to be on the foods we eat. However, it’s important not to discount those beverages as something not to worry about in our daily diet. The unhealthy beverages we drink are stuffed with calories and sugars and aren’t doing much for us. They’re not a meal; they’re mostly empty calories that are easily consumed.
By removing some of these beverages from daily consumption and choosing healthier alternatives, you can really improve overall health. That doesn’t mean you have to cut them out completely, but by taking soda out of your diet a few days a week and replacing it with water, you are making a healthy change that won’t require a big lifestyle switch. Maybe you only drink coffee with cream and sugar on the weekends, or you mix in —it’s all about finding the small changes that work for your lifestyle.
Stick to a schedule
By creating a schedule for your healthy habits, they’ll be a lot easier to stick to. Maybe you walk the dog on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays; on Wednesdays you work in the yard. Those commitments are a lot easier to stick to then telling yourself you’ll walk a couple of times this week. It can be hard to keep moving if you have a hectic schedule, but it’s not impossible—especially if you choose an exercise you like that can work as a stress reliever and not as something you’re dreading.
The same goes for all other aspects of your health. Take Sundays to meal prep and write down your meals for the week and you’ll be less likely to stray from it. Write downtime or meditation into your schedule to practice some self-care in your week. You schedule every other aspect of your life in order to stay on the right track, so there’s no reason that scheduling healthy behaviours won’t work for you as well.
>Focus on the positives
When you’re considering improvements to your health, it’s common to get stuck in what you aren’t doing instead of focusing on what you are doing. A focus on health and working towards improvement is something to be celebrated. Concentrating too much on the pace that others are moving in, bigger steps you could be taking, or a lack of improvement can be damaging to your motivation and mental health.
Maybe you missed all of your work walks this week, but you still ate well and walked the dog—that is still a positive step towards a healthy lifestyle. That’s the difference between lifestyle changes and temporary changes. In real life you miss a couple of walks and have ice cream for dessert sometimes.
Being realistic about your goals and celebrating accomplishments is important. Exercising for older adults can be really tricky, but the positives associated with making the effort are worth it—even if it was gardening and not weight lifting. Healthy isn’t the same for everyone and it’s important to remember that when you’re struggling to stay positive in your healthy lifestyle.
Healthy doesn’t have a weight or an age. It doesn’t have an amount it can lift or a distance it can run. Health looks different on everyone. When you’re focusing on being healthy, your focus should be on changes you can make in your lifestyle that you can practice forever. The changes don’t have to be big: they can be as small as planning healthy meals and not keeping soda in the house. Celebrate improvement, work towards making healthy choices, and do what works for you to start living a healthier lifestyle today.
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