Getting healthy is something that’s on everyone’s radars these days. But improving your health doesn’t have to mean overhauling your entire lifestyle. Sometimes all it takes is a few simple changes for better health. Taking care of your body boils down to making good choices every day that end up leading to big benefits over time. You needn’t go on a strict diet, exercise for hours, or change your entire life to become healthy. Little changes can equal big results. And these little everyday moves will keep you feeling great. They’re quick-and-easy fixes to your daily health regimen can make a huge difference in the way you feel. So keep reading and try a few out every week, before you know it you’ll be living a healthier lifestyle.
12 Easy Things You Can Do to Improve Your Health (and Feel Your Best Everyday!)
1. Drink more water
Our body is 90 percent water and needs water for almost every function. Being dehydrated can negatively impact everything from your mental focus to energy and metabolism. Many of the aches, pains, and simple ailments we experience wouldn’t bother us as much if we just drank more water. Drinking more water will greatly enhance your digestion‚ nutrient absorption‚ skin hydration and detoxification, as well as many other aspects of your health. One trick I use to help me stay hydrated is to have a bottle of water with me all the time, I find sipping water throughout the day is the easiest way to get the required amount.
2. Get plenty of sleep
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being. Getting enough quality sleep can help protect your mental and physical health, as well as your quality of life. Try to develop a bedtime ritual that actually serves you. If you’re having trouble falling asleep try cutting out stimulants such as alcohol or caffeine, especially in the hours directly before you go to bed. Try avoiding screens like your phone and the TV at least an hour before bed too. Use this time to integrate self-care practices like meditation, journalling, a bath, or a calming skin-care routine instead. You’ll sleep easier and wake up refreshed the next day.
3. Don’t skip breakfast
Your mother was right: breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! Your body needs good quality fuel to wake up your metabolism so always start the day with a good breakfast. When you have a wholesome breakfast you will burn more calories throughout the day and it also prevents you from getting that lull in the morning when your body is running on empty. Having a filling breakfast that will provide lots of energy will set you up for your day ahead. Some easy breakfast ideas that are my go to’s are porridge with berries, or a poached egg with avocado or smoked salmon.
Regular exercise is necessary for basic physical fitness and good health. Exercise helps reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. It can improve your appearance and delay the aging process. Working out and getting a good sweat also releases endorphins, which can turn around the worst of moods as well.
The hardest part of working out is getting started! One trick I use to schedule my workouts into my calendar. Once you’ve scheduled your workout, make it a consistent, non-negotiable date with yourself and keep it. Fitness classes are great because you can schedule them in ahead of time. Many charge a cancellation fee, which can help hold you accountable too. Inviting a friend to join you for your workout also adds another layer of accountability.
5. Eat more greens
One of the best things you can do for your health is to eat more greens! Whether it’s spinach, kale, swiss chard, arugula, broccoli or bok choy your skin will thank you, your mood will thank you and your our digestion will thank you. Every single part of your body will thank you when you eat more greens. Next time you’re out, try opting for a salad instead of fries, or ask for extra vegetables in replace of potatoes. If you are cooking at home, there are lots of recipes online full of greens that inspire you, just do a quick search or take a scroll through Pinterest.
6. Eat more healthy fats
Most people have been trained to choose low-fat foods over high-fat foods. Fat has always been positioned as a dietary enemy, so it’s no wonder it can get totally confusing when doctors and dietitians sing the praises of what they call healthy fats. Upping your healthy fat consumption can help fight depression, improve your cognitive function, strengthen your bones and decrease your risk of disease (just to name a few). My favorite healthy fat sources are avocado, eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, fish and nut butters.
7. Up your fiber intake
How does your house smell when you forget to take the trash out for a few days? This is exactly how your body feels when you, ahem, forget to take your own trash out. Fiber is imperative to keep things moving along our digestive tract and into “elimination station.” Up your fiber intake with things like ground flax seed, beans, raspberries, almonds, and kale.
8. Get outside
A number of studies have illustrated that people are healthier in greener places. Being in contact with nature improves your mental health, so instead of sitting at your desk for lunch, take this time to get outside and reap the benefits. Most cities and towns have at least some green space, whether it’s a park or trails. Do a workout with a friend or plan a picnic, or go on a hike. It’s free and you’ll de-stress with social time and exercise all at the same time. And hey, if you really want to maximize your outdoor experience, plan a camping weekend to explore a national park.
9. Take 5 minutes to de-stress.
Just five minutes can make a world of difference. Try developing a meditation practice—all you need is a quiet place and a chair or floor. Minimize distractions, get comfortable, and sit quietly for five minutes. Focus on your breath and breath slowly in and out of your nose. When your mind begins to wander, bring your focus back to your breath. If you need a little guidance try using an free app like Mindbliss to guide you. Not so into meditation? No problem. Try taking a 5 minute nap or simply dishing out an act of kindness. My personal favorite is a soak in a warm bath with Epsom salts.
10. Practice gratitude
Being grateful forces you to shift your focus from the bad to the good and wonderful. Gratitude has been scientifically proven to improve relationships, self-esteem, mental health, and even sleep. A gratitude practice can change your life. Get started by committing to a consistent time (like during your bedtime ritual). Cozy up with a pen and paper, or even a gratitude journal. Think, “I am grateful for…” and just start writing. Let it flow. Depending on the day, you may not be able to think of anything right away, so give it time. Keep this going day-after-day and you’ll find a lot of negative emotions like fear, anxiety, anger, and depression become harder to feel when you are practicing gratitude.
11. Get together with a friend
Sometimes when the going gets tough, we tend to isolate ourselves. But there’s nothing like a good chat with a friend to reduce stress and increase our feeling of belonging. Make it a priority to connect with at least one friend every week and while you’re at it, reminisce of some good times (or have some new ones) and have a good laugh. Laughing can help to boost blood flow by more than 20% and researchers say it may reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Laughing can also help to fight infections, relieve hay fever, ease pain and control diabetes.
12. Keep a positive outlook
Having an optimistic outlook on life can actually help you to live longer. Researchers have found that optimistic people slashed their risk of early death by 50 per cent compared to those who were pessimistic. Thinking positively lessens your chances of worrying and reduces stress – lessening your chances of getting a physical and mental illness.