What if we changed 5 simple things in our day-to-day that would help us be healthier? If we work on the basics, it can be the kickstart we need to overcome our bigger hurdles (for me – chocolate!!!) Getting healthy has to do with making many small and simple decisions that are the right decisions for your health throughout your day.
Health is a way of life and it doesn’t happen in one day. You have to conquer one thing at a time. These 5 simple ways to get healthier can help improve your overall health, weight, energy, mood, and longevity of life. Make a goal and stick with it! Here we go!
1. DRINK MORE WATER
Drinking enough water can have so many health benefits and can affect every single system in our body. Your body depends on water to recover, function, and survive. Not drinking enough water can cause dehydration – resulting in lack of energy, fogginess, constipation, and raised body temperature.
Most adults do NOT drink the daily amount of water essential to meet their body’s demands. Increasing intake of plain drinking water has been recommended by the Institute of Medicine to prevent dehydration and can help with weight management.
How much water should I drink a day?
Most people need 6-8 cups of water a day, but this amount might need to be higher if you are:
- exercising and losing sweat
- living in a hot or humid climate
- taking certain medications that make you retain water (NSAIDS, anti-depressants, etc.)
- pregnant or breastfeeding
- sick with fever, diarrhea, or vomiting
There is no one size fits all answer to the amount of water you need to drink each day, but your water intake is usually enough if you don’t feel thirsty or your urine is light yellow or colorless. Let’s drink some water!
2. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. Being healthy is DEPENDENT on getting a good night’s sleep. Adults need approximately 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night. Not getting enough sleep can have many health consequences including poor mental performance, easily agitated, and increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and mental disorders.
Want to get healthier? Go to sleep! Getting enough sleep can help you to:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Boost your immune system
- Improve memory and ability to retain information
- Quicken reflexes and ability to focus
- Lessen your stress and improve mood
- Strengthen your heart (by letting it rest)
Let’s go to bed a decent hour tonight!
3. GET UP AND MOVE
I literally have this written on a post-it note hanging on my desk to remind me to GET UP AND MOVE every hour. Technology has advanced so much now that most of us are sitting for prolonged periods of time. A study from the American Cancer Society found a link between long periods of leisure time sitting and a higher risk of death from all causes. This includes 8 of the 10 most common causes of death. Can you believe that!
There are many ways you can get more movement in your day. Try these simple things you can do to GET UP AND MOVE:
- Set a reminder on your watch or phone to get up and move every 30-60 min
- Take breaks at work and walk around the building
- Stand and move while watching TV or talking on the phone
- Sit on a stability/yoga ball instead of an office chair
- Take the stairs instead of elevator
- Park in a parking space far away from the front door
- Try a standing desk or under the desk cycle or treadmill
ANY kind of movement is better than none and the more often, the better!
Try these simple exercises:
4. EAT MORE VEGETABLES
Vegetables are an AMAZING source of nutrients including fiber, potassium, phytochemicals (compounds that build and repair cells), and many vitamins and minerals. Most vegetables are low in calories and fat and have NO cholesterol. In turn, by choosing to eat more vegetables, you will be taking advantage of all the natural health benefits such as:
- lower cholesterol
- lower risk for heart disease – including stroke and heart attack
- protection against certain types of cancer
- keep skin and vision healthy
- maintain or lose weight
Vegetables provide nutrients that are critical for your body’s maintenance and well-being. Sounds simple, right?
Well, if you struggle with eating vegetables like I did, try adding vegetables into something you already eat, such as to your omelet, sandwich, and rice or pasta dinners.
Plan for a healthy snack during your day. It could be 1 cup of raw broccoli, carrots, or bell peppers with hummus (all under 100 calories). You should be aiming for getting in between 1 to 3 cups of vegetables each day, but start small and work on starting to substitute vegetables for your usual snack.
5. EAT LESS MEAT
Studies have found that eating red meat puts people at an increased risk of death from heart disease, diabetes, or stroke. The risk of death from these diseases is also increased by eating processed meats. One recent study categorized processed meats as a level 1 carcinogen (cancer causing) – in the same category as alcohol and cigarettes.
Eating a plant-based diet, which consists of vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, legumes and nuts, has less fat and lower calories reducing the risk of heart disease and death. This is because a plant-based diet is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
But you don’t have to give up meat all at once! Rather, try easing into going meatless by starting with a meatless meal once a week. Plan meals making your favorite entrees that are typically meatless, such as pasta, soup, or casserole. You could substitute protein-rich foods for meat in your preferred recipes such as:
- Use refried beans as a substitute for meat in tacos and burrito
- Beans and legumes in salads or casseroles
- Tofu goes with any stir-dry dish
- Seafood such as canned or fresh fish
- If going meatless is hard, use chicken or turkey instead of red meat in your recipes
What change will YOU make?
Pick one of these five simple ways to get healthier and work on it TODAY. Making the right decisions each day, even small ones, help us live a happier, healthier life and who doesn’t want that?