Do you want to be healthier but a complete health overhaul is simply impossible right now? Major lifestyle and diet changes take a lot of time and effort (not to mention money), and this may not always be achievable in the context of a demanding work schedule, tight budget or other life commitments. This is why well-intentioned resolutions to get fit and/or healthy so often fall by the wayside.
However, making changes to your health doesn’t always have to be difficult or disruptive. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, boost your mood, lower your blood pressure, prevent different types of lupus, or just develop healthy habits, there are things you can do which are incredibly simple but will instantly have a positive impact on the health of your mind and body.
Check this list of 5 easy things you can do today for better health and fitness.
1. Get More Sleep
Ok, so this is something we hear a lot, but it really is important. What’s more, there are few things easier (or cheaper) than simply going to bed! Regularly getting a solid night’s sleep of 7 to 8 hours, at approximately the same time each day is critical to allow your body to conduct its regular processes, repair damaged cells, build up energy reserves, and do things like build muscle after a workout. Solid, regular sleep is also one of the major contributors to good mental health and wellbeing.
If you suffer from insomnia or simply struggle to get to bed on time, the first step to establishing healthy sleep habits is setting up a regular routine. Have a fixed bedtime, and stick to it in all but truly exceptional circumstances. Additionally, have certain things which you do in the 30-60 minutes before you go to bed, such as turning off all electronic devices during this time window in order to allow your brain to unwind, and having a relaxing shower.
2. Drink More Water Than You Think You Need
Another health tip that we are constantly hearing is to drink enough water. What you should know, though, is that “enough” water is probably more than you think. Experts tell us we need to drink a minimum of 6-8 glasses, or 1.2 to 1.5L of water a day. This minimum amount goes up if you are working out, or in the case of hot or humid conditions.
Drinking enough water doesn’t need to be taxing or difficult: there are plenty of apps now which will help you track how much water you’re drinking each day and/or remind you to drink another glass. Or simply carry a 1L reusable water bottle with you (bonus: this is also good for the environment) and make sure you empty and refill it at least twice a day.
If you see yourself craving for sweet treats, drink water before eating first. Drinking a glass of water before meals will make you feel full fast and limit your cravings. The more water you drink throughout the day, the lesser food you’ll consume.
3. Add These Foods To Your Diet
Low sugar, low fat, high protein, low GI, keto, raw: it seems like there are so many things we should and shouldn’t be eating these days. Particularly with the often conflicting advice and trends of what makes a healthy diet, it can easily be overwhelmed when trying to eat well for better health.
A complete change to your diet such as strict eating plan can be a huge challenge and difficult to maintain for more than a week or two.
However, by simply adding fruit and veggies with some of these foods to your diet you will be doing your body a favor:
- Green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli: these are high in vitamins and minerals
- Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
- Lean protein such as chicken, fish, and legumes for muscle growth and cell repair
Whole mealgrains such as wholegrain bread and pasta for fiber, gut health, and energy
Depending on your preferences, you can eat fruits and vegetables as is or use them as ingredients to some of your favorite dishes. You can even make a salad out of fresh fruits and vegetables. But, if you want to take it up a notch, consider turning these into smoothies. Smoothies are very easy to make and can be mixed with different fruits, vegetables, and even milk. You can make one at night and then consume it on the morning of the next day. Take a look at Proper Good‘s blog for more healthy eating tips.
4. Switch From Smoking To Vaping
If you are a cigarette smoker, quitting will of course substantially improve your health. Quitting smoking, however, is far from easy: nicotine is a highly addictive chemical, and quitting cold turkey can result in a range of side effects from anxiety and irritability to insomnia. This means that it may take up to 30 attempts to quit.
However, a far easier change you can make today is to switch from tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes or other forms of vaping. Vaping allows you to continue to receive your nicotine hit without the thousands of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals found in tobacco smoke. You can easily buy quality vape kits online on sites such as vapemate.co.uk. Vaping has even been recommended by public health bodies such as the NHS in the UK as a cessation aid to help smokers quit.
5. Add “Sneaky” Exercise To Your Daily Routine
Establishing a regular fitness regime of daily exercise, incorporating strength training, cardio, and flexibility training, anaerobic and aerobic exercise, can be daunting, if not impossible. Not everyone has the time or money to hit the gym five times a week!
For individuals who have a lot of responsibilities on their plates, they will no longer have the time and energy to visit the gym and workout every single week. If you’re one of them, fret not because there are a lot of ways on how you can exercise every day without making drastic changes to your routine.
Getting active and improving your physical fitness does not need to be this extreme. Even adding some physical activity to your routine on a regular basis can greatly improve your health. What’s more, you can incorporate activity into your regular routine in ways which you will barely notice, without taking time away from other commitments.
Some sneaky ways to include exercise in your day include:
- Always take the stairs: at work, to your apartment, at the mall… skip the elevator and get some steps in instead
- Park at the far end of the parking garage to make yourself walk that bit further
- Get off the bus or train a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way
- Stand up from your working station and do some few stretches or walk around your office
- Take a walk around the block on your lunch break
- Wake up extra early and walk around your neighborhood or do so the moment you arrive home from work
- Dance around your home or when you’re busy accomplishing some of your household chores
- Introduce sports to your children and play with them as often as possible
Instead of catching up with your friends at the bar or to play video games, suggest social activities which also involve activity such as paintball, tennis or hiking.
Getting healthy doesn’t have to mean a significant investment of time or money. There are some truly simple and easy things you can do right now to benefit your physical health, fitness and emotional wellbeing.
Contrary to popular belief, being healthy will not require a lot of things from you – you just need to be consistent with your efforts in order to see noticeable results. Being healthy doesn’t happen overnight, so make sure that you have enough time to stay consistent for you to achieve your health and fitness goals.