Maybe your long-forgotten New Year’s resolution was to get in better shape, or your doctor recommended that you change your diet. Or perhaps you’re just feeling tired and rundown more often than usual, and want to get back to your old self. Regardless, there are many reasons you may wish to change your routine and start thinking more about your health.
Making changes to your health doesn’t always have to be a massive goal made with sweeping lifestyle changes. In fact, you might be more likely to fail when you do too much, too fast. Instead, try taking smaller steps to improve your overall health. These small steps are easy to incorporate into your daily life, and you might be more likely to stick to them!
Take Vitamins or Supplements
Are you low in iron, or worried you’re not getting enough calcium? Dietary changes may be on the horizon, but taking a vitamin or supplement in the morning can help you get there quickly. For iron, try taking a supplement first thing in the morning, even before you eat, with a glass of orange juice. Vitamin C helps it absorb faster!
If you’re feeling fine but just want to boost your immune system, try taking elderberry gummies. These contain antioxidants and immunity boosters and can help you fight off the common cold.
Find Ways to Unwind
Stress is a killer — literally. Constant stress can lead to, or exacerbate, health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression, among others. Finding ways to manage the stress of your daily life is one of the most important things you can do for your health.
Doctors recommend regular exercise, meditation, or deep breathing techniques to combat stress. However, there is no one size fits all solution. Some people will benefit significantly from meditation, while others won’t find it helpful at all. You need to try and see what helps you relax, whether it’s going for a run, reading, or doing yoga. Just make sure you are releasing the tension from your body — you should feel loose and relaxed when you’re done!
Switch Out Salt
Salty foods may be delicious, but they can lead to high blood pressure. Try to refrain from using excess salt. Taste your food while you’re cooking before you add salt, as it may be flavourful enough without it. For example, many fresh cuts of meat will contain natural sodium that could quickly turn into too high of a daily intake if you add more.
You can also try different flavors in the place of salt, like herbs, garlic powder, or lemon juice. Your salt preference is an acquired taste, and since you learned it, you can unlearn it. According to the National Kidney Foundation, it can take 6 to 8 weeks to adjust to eating foods with less salt, but after you’ve trained your palette, you won’t be reaching for salty potato chips any longer.
Get More Sleep
The average adult should get approximately seven hours of sleep each night, but many of us are functioning with less. Sleep deprivation can have many negative effects on your life, including both your mental and physical health. Not having enough sleep can cause chronic health problems, increase your stress or anxiety, affect how you work or get along with others, and in some cases, compromise your safety (like when operating a car or heavy machinery).
Make sure you’re getting enough restful sleep each night. Give yourself a set bedtime and stick to it, even on your days off work. Avoid eating large meals before bed, and hold off on caffeine or alcohol in the evening. You can also keep a sleep journal to record any disturbances or difficulties you’re having getting to sleep, and can speak to your doctor if you are unable to correct it on your own.
Correct Your Posture
Chances are, if you’re reading this at your computer, you’re sitting hunched over. Many of those that work desk jobs or spend most of their days sitting will forget to correct their posture throughout the day. Straighten your back, tuck in your stomach and uncross your legs to put your feet flat on the floor. Proper posture can help you avoid back pain, sciatica, or even nerve damage.
If you work at a computer, try to set up your workstation to be more ergonomic. This can include changing your chair to one with better back support or moving your monitor to cut down on eye strain.
Go The Long Way
If you live a sedentary lifestyle or have trouble exercising, start by just adding a little extra physical activity to your day. Instead of taking the elevator at work, try the stairs. Go for a walk to the coffee shop instead of using the drive-through. Or just take a longer route when you’re walking the dog in the evening. Any physical activity that gets your blood pumping is a step towards that healthier version of you.
Have A Glass of Red Wine
A toast to your good health! Red wine has been proven to protect against heart disease and even prevent heart attacks, so there’s nothing wrong with a glass in moderation. Doctors recommend one glass for women and two for men since too much alcohol of any kind can cause liver problems. However, if you have a family history of alcohol addiction or an addictive personality, doctors recommend skipping it. The positive effects of a glass of wine aren’t worth the potential risks of overconsumption.
Choose Healthier Snacks
Just a few dietary substitutions can make a significant change in your overall health. For a snack, avoid cookies (high in fat) or chips (high in salt) and instead opt for fruit, nuts or carrot sticks dipped in hummus. These snack options can satisfy your cravings without sacrificing your health.
You can also make healthy substitutions at mealtimes. Choose lean cuts of beef or pork, and opt for skinless chicken. This will cut down on the unnecessary fats in your meal. You can also add more vegetables, which are rich in fiber and contain lots of water. It will leave you feeling full without adding a lot of calories.