One Change For Better Health – What Will Yours Be?
One Change For Better Health – What Will Yours Be?
Many of us wish we could be healthier. The trouble is, life often gets in the way! A busy day can wreak havoc with your good diet intentions. And wilful kids can easily stop you slipping off to that exercise class you’ve been looking forward to all week. And let’s face it, we’re just so tired by the time they’ve gone to bed anyway! It’s no wonder that so many resolutions, diet plans, and fitness programs fail in just a few short weeks.
But are we all just pushing ourselves too hard? Are we expecting too much? Perhaps we’re setting ourselves up to fail. And we all know that failure is tough to take. It has a long-term effect on our motivation and willpower to get up, brush it off and try again. So why not scale it back a bit or even a lot? Take one thing from this list that you know you can and will see through. Improve your health with just one change:
Walking every day will get your body moving more. It doesn’t have to be far, and it doesn’t have to be fast. Most of us need to use the car to get to work and back. Maybe you do the school run in the car, or pick up your groceries? If you’re lucky enough to get a full lunch hour, perhaps you can spare ten or fifteen minutes for a walk around the block? Swap out one short car journey a week, or maybe just choose to take a lap of your local park.
Walking moves many of your major muscles. It’s a great time for practicing good posture too. It will strengthen your core muscles which are thought to improve your metabolism. And heading out for a walk when you’re thinking about snacking can stave off that craving hunger. Sure, it takes a little time. And it may ruin your hair in bad weather. But it could be just the thing to choose to improve your health a little.
Over time, you’ll find your speed naturally increases. Your distance may increase too. Your fitness is improving, and you’re burning more calories. As an alternative to sitting on the sofa and snacking in the evening, it can certainly be the more health option. If you have space in the garage, why not invest in a treadmill and a small TV? Watching your favourite soap on the move could be just the thing you need to make big moves toward a healthier lifestyle. Who knows? Maybe you’ll move onto speed walking or even jogging next!
Good health depends on the right amount of quality sleep. We are quite fragile creatures and interruptions to our sleep can be hugely detrimental on our day. Fatigue and lack of focus can cause accidents too. Mistakes are made, irritability kicks in, and you find everything so much harder to cope with. It’s not just our emotional or mental health that is at stake here. Our physical health can rapidly decline when sleep is poor.
Healing and cell regeneration occurs if the body is allowed to rest enough. Good sleep means our bodies are rested, relaxed, refreshed and regenerated. Most of us survive on five to six hours. But seven hours of solid sleep could make an enormous difference to your physical and mental performance. Best of all, it will give your immune system the boost it needs to help fight off the cold and flu season!
A well-defined bedtime routine is the best way to help your mind and body prepare for deep sleep. Staying asleep can be challenging if you live on a busy street, or you have kids prone to nightmares. Why not try to help them adopt a strong and effective bedtime routine too? Blackout blinds, closed doors, and a tidy room can help reduce the stimuli that may make it tricky to fall back to sleep if you wake.
Eating fresh has been promoted for a long time as the best way to be healthy. It is thought that processed foods contain harmful ingredients and a lack of nutritional value. This is why more diet plans like Paleo are recommending they be given up altogether. You can learn from PaleoHacks how to do this easily and effectively. Of course, sometimes a single step is enough to make a big difference. Swapping just one snack bar a day for a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts could be the small change that makes a big difference for you. Not only will you be gaining more nutritional value, but you may feel satisfied for longer by your choice.
Of course, if you don’t want to give up your favourite snack bars, you could simply add fresh foods to your daily meal plans. Add an extra vegetable to every evening meal. Slice a banana into your breakfast cereal. Enjoy a fresh yoghurt for a healthy dessert. There are plenty of choices. Of course, you may be adding calories to your daily intake if you don’t swap. However, most vegetables contain almost zero calories. Chomp on a raw carrot, a stick of celery, or pop a slice of tomato on your cheese sandwich for a healthy addition that won’t eat into your calorie limit.
The trick to eating more fresh foods is smart buying and smart prepping. Fresh stuff has a limited shelf life. Carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes, for example, last only a few days at home. If you’re on your own, it’s difficult to get through a kilo bag before they go off. You could batch cook and freeze. Soups are particularly good ways to use up root vegetables. Nuts last much longer and some vegetables, like cucumber, can last way beyond the best before date.
Prep your snacks the night before so you don’t have to rush in the morning. Little air-tight pots are ideal. Grazing can stave off hunger between meals, and keep your fingers occupied with healthy indulgences. Seasoning and dips can be a wonderful way to add more zing and flavour to a dull piece of veg. Before you know it, you’ll be swapping out more snacks, and enjoying more fun flavours in your evening meal too.
Most of us have a bad habit or two that we know we need to get on top of for the sake of our health. Even if you’re in great health now, how we treat our bodies today can take its toll on our future well-being. We all know that smoking is a killer, but it can be a pleasurable indulgence at times. Quitting something as addictive as cigarettes is never going to be easy. However, cutting one out a day could be a huge step toward improving your chances of kicking the habit for good.
The one you cut out is up to you. You might delay your first smoke of the day. Or maybe you won’t have one after lunch. Perhaps you’ll pick the one you crave the most to see how long you can abstain from it? Set a stopwatch and challenge yourself to put that one cigarette off for ten minutes. Then you might make it twenty minutes, an hour, or even the whole afternoon. One step always leads to another!
Alcohol can also become a burden on us. A relaxing drink at the weekend can turn into three or four glasses of wine. Beyond the harm from the alcohol are the extra 150 calories per glass that we’re consuming. Setting yourself a limit, or choosing a day of the week when you won’t drink anything can be a way to make a positive change for your health. There are plenty of really delicious alcohol-free wines available now. These can be very handy when you feel you might be vulnerable to peer pressure or awkward social occasions.
The mind, body, and soul need to relax on a daily basis. If you’re not getting enough respite from the stresses of the day, they can soon mount up. You may become more prone to illness or anxiety. Stress can also cause weight gain and physical pains in your back neck and shoulders. Ensuring you take the time to relax each day is just as important as a healthy diet and exercise. It might only be a five minute time out, or it could be that indulgent soak in the tub before bed. But it’s time that’s just for you, to take care of you.
There are so many different ways to relax. Some people choose meditation. This involves focussing deeply on your breathing and inner balance. It calms the mind as well as the body. Activities like Yoga and Tai Chi provide you with the skills and techniques to reach a more relaxed state. They’ll energise the body and improve your strength. And a really good massage can work wonders for relieving stress.
Finding the one thing that can help you make a positive change for your health is a personal journey to take. But it can also be the first step to even more changes and improvements. What will you choose today?