“I want to be healthier.”
On New Year’s Eve or at the start of swimsuit season you may have heard yourself saying this exact phrase a time or two.
Setting the intention to get healthier can be powerful. But it can be challenging to know-how. And when the results don’t magically appear, it can be hard to stay motivated.
We believe the key to getting healthier is to take small steps and to make better choices until they become second nature. Think progress over perfection.
Here are 5 of our favorite small steps to help you be healthier!
From riding our bikes around the neighborhood to being on the basketball team to marching in the band, our childhoods were spent exercising.
Fast forward to adulthood. As life became complex, the activities we used to love are often abandoned. And for some of us, our waistlines expanded as did our stress levels.
But easing back into exercise is doable!
- Start with 30 minutes of activity every day. Did you used to dance? Sign up for a class at your local studio or rec center. Play a sport? Adult leagues are always looking for new members. Run marathons? Start with a brisk walk.
- Add extra movement into your daily routine. Grocery shopping? Park your car away from the entrance to get extra steps in. Visiting family? Offer to go outside and play with the kids.
- Break up long periods of sitting. If you’re like the majority of Americans, workdays are spent sitting at a desk. Set a reminder on your watch, or in your calendar, and take stretch breaks throughout the day. A 15-minute walk can work wonders for your creativity and your productivity!
When most of us think of ways to live healthier, we think of the foods we eat and how we should be making better choices. Rarely do we consider what we drink.
The fact is that water makes up 60 percent of our body and 90 percent of our blood. Water does everything including lubricating our joints, eliminating waste and providing a cushion for our brain and spinal cord.
While the research on how much water we should be drinking is inconsistent, we recommend gradually increasing your intake. You may start to notice that as your water intake increases, your energy level increases and your hunger level decreases.
If ice water isn’t your thing, try a glass at room temperature. Or mix things up with seltzer or fresh fruit.
3. Control stress
We all know stress can wreak havoc on our bodies. But what’s also part of the conversation around stress is the toll it can take on our mental health.Here are strategies to keep in mind when you start to feel overwhelmed or anxious:
- Avoid making self-critical comments. Instead, start to become aware of your personal strengths, weaknesses and needs. It’s important to remember that not everyone will be “stressed out” by the same situations or people. Knowing how you respond, and recognizing a pattern, can be incredibly helpful as you work toward managing your stress level.
- Think creatively. When you are faced with a stressful situation or interacting with a person who makes your blood pressure rise, try shifting your perspective. Challenge yourself to think about how someone you trust, such as a spouse, mentor or friend, might react if they were in your shoes.
- Ask for help. In addition to seeking out professional help, learn to advocate for yourself. If the deadlines at work are too much, ask to re-work them or delegate them to a colleague. If the pressure of hosting a holiday becomes too much, ask a few guests to help you set up or clean up. And when your guests ask you what they can bring to dinner, be honest and tell them!