Did you know that around 50% of Americans feel too intimidated to workout next to fit people? Another 31% aren’t enthusiastic about the number of fitness classes they have to attend, while 37% of those who’ve never exercised feel they are too unhealthy to start working out.
When you think about it, you’ll see most people feel that adopting a healthy lifestyle is quite a burden.
The good news is you don’t need to adopt an aggressive workout routine, completely change your dietary habits overnight, or make sweeping lifestyle changes to improve your health and wellness. Instead, there are many smaller steps you can take to transform your well-being, and they are easier to incorporate into your daily routine and sustain in the long term. Read on to learn some of the small adjustments you can make, starting today.
(1) Prioritize Adequate Sleep
A shortage of shut-eye increases your risk of high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and depression and lowers your immunity. Not to mention the daytime struggles you’ll go through — tiredness, irritability, difficulty focusing, loss of memory, and increased errors.
Yet, sleep is basically the most accessible activity. Plan to catch seven to nine hours of sleep every day, and you’ll gradually see the benefits. If you always find yourself tossing and turning all night, avoid caffeine and tech gadgets before bedtime, consider using calming essential oils, a weighted blanket, a sleeping recliner, or even a white noise machine. Wellness Nova has many other ideas for natural ways to improve your quality of sleep.
(2) Walk, Walk, Walk
Walking is an excellent way to kick start your health and wellness journey without overexerting yourself. Taking a few more steps each day will not only help you control your weight, but can also boost heart health, manage hypertension, build stronger bones, keep your digestive system going strong, alleviate joint pain and lighten your mood.
You don’t even have to walk the recommended 150 minutes a week right away. Start with simple steps like taking your dog for a walk, choosing parking spots that are further from the entrance to a store, taking the stairs, and walking for charity. Start with a moderate pace and cover short distances, and gradually increase your duration and intensity.
(3) Put Away the Salt
Are you aware that most of us ingest twice the recommended daily amount of salt? Yes, a salt shaker on your dining table may help sprinkle some taste into your healthy homemade meals, but it’s also a quick way to add excess sodium into your body.
Your body needs salt to balance fluid in the blood and maintain adequate blood pressure levels. But a high salt diet carries many risks, including heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease. Manage your daily salt intake by eating whole, unprocessed foods, choosing fresh fruits, checking food labels before you buy, and using natural herbs and spices in place of salt to add flavor.
(4) Hydrate Yourself
Water is the foundation of life, health, and wellness. And yet, we often overlook its importance. Its health benefits are tremendous, from carrying nutrients and oxygen throughout the body, flushing waste out of our system, lubricating joints, to aiding digestion and facilitating weight loss.
Plan to drink a minimum of eight glasses a day. And don’t worry, you can also take water in the form of fruit and vegetable juice, fruits with high water content, broth soups, and even milk. Set a daily water intake goal, and plan to achieve it by carrying water to work and setting reminders to drink more.
(5) Improve Your Posture and Ergonomics
Whether you work from home or in an office, you probably find yourself sitting for extended periods of time. Your posture directly affects your productivity, body health, and wellness. Bad posture can affect blood circulation, trigger back, neck, and shoulder pain, cause headaches, impair lung function, and gradually change the natural shape of your spine and body.
You need to learn proper posture when sitting, standing, walking, and even lifting. When sitting for prolonged periods, straighten your back, put your feet flat on the floor, get a chair that supports your lower back, avoid crossing your ankles and legs, and take regular stretch breaks.
(6) Spend Two Hours Outside Each Week
The outdoors works like magic when you want to restore your mental, social, and physical well-being. Going outside will help you socialize with new people, and harness the calming benefits of nature, relieving stress and leaving you feeling happier overall.
Instead of staying glued to your TV or phone, aim to go outside more often. A study showed that spending more than two hours outdoors each week increases your chance of feeling healthy by 59%. Start exploring the local park, take your book outside, exercise outdoors, take up a new outdoor hobby, or go hiking on the weekends.
A Healthy Lifestyle Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult
There are so many small steps you can take to improve your physical and mental health while also giving you a sense of purpose and meaning. Sleep more, hydrate often, watch what you eat, sit better, step outside more, and don’t forget to offer your time to do a nice deed for your community.