Quit smoking. Stop drinking. Lose 20 pounds. While all that is necessary and will undoubtedly result in long-term health improvements, it is time-consuming, requires almighty willpower and impossible to achieve any improvement in a day. But what about simple improvements that you can do for yourself today that would make a world of difference to your mind, body and soul ? yes, you can and yes they exist! In this article, we bring you 11 simple and easy lifestyle changes that will improve your health and wellbeing. Pick one or two or all of them, make them a habit. Even one of these changes can make a tremendous difference. Soon, your discipline level and self-confidence will rise where you will start believing that you can do anything, and quitting those darn cigarettes won’t seem that dreadful. But let’s begin with the little things first…
Drink More Water
Our lives are so busy, and drinking water isn’t necessarily in your priority list. However, it will eventually take its toll on you, where dehydration affects your organs, skin and your mental awareness
Our body is composed of 60% water, and for it to function optimally, you need to maintain a healthy amount of hydration, all the time. To do this, start early, drink some water as soon as you get up – you have spent (hopefully) eight hours without a single drop. Your body and organs will thank you for it. Adding some lemon in your water is also beneficial for your digestive system. You should continue upping the fluids throughout the day. Try not to wait until you feel thirsty. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated, the goal is to prevent that from happening.
How much is enough? For men, depending on your weight and height, approximately 3.7 liters per day, for women, 2.7 liters. Sounds like a lot, but it is probably a little more than you are already drinking. The 8×10 rule helps, and is easy to follow – you just drink 8 ounces (250 ml) of water, 10 times per day, and you are good. It’s not just water, any fluid counts, the only exception is alcohol, which will dehydrate you even more.
Also, this is a recommended amount for most people, but if you exercise, are involved in other strenuous activities, or work outside on the sun, you will need more fluids to rehydrate. Also, drinking your water strategically, for example, drinking thirty minutes before a meal can actually reduce your appetite, helping you lose weight.
Sleep An Hour More
Sleep is so important, and yet, so many people don’t get enough of it. Too many of us treat sleep like wasting time and choose to get an extra hour of TV time, instead an extra hour of sleep. It’s bad enough that getting quality sleep seems to be an impossible task for some people with distraction and causes such as; sleeping with your stomach full, blue lights from your mobile/ computer, snoring and stress. These factors can make you tired, unfocus and unsettled.
Getting this right is easy. First, unless you are already getting eight hours of sleep, aim to add one hour more. So if you are sleeping four hours on average, push that to five. Next, you need to set up a sleeping schedule – going to sleep, and waking up at the same time will help your body to get in a rhythm, and you will feel less groggy after waking up. After doing that for a while, you will notice that you will sleep and wake up roughly at the same time, even if you forget to turn on the alarm.
Also, to get quality sleep, avoid eating a few hours before going to bed and put away all your electronic devices. Try not to sleep with them! Better still, if you can try to meditate or simply just relax before your sleep. You will start noticing the benefits after a few days.
Once you have established a sleeping pattern, you can do the same with meals. Adding a tasty but healthy breakfast at home will help you keep the weight down. Breakfast will kick-start your metabolism, turning on the calorie burning furnace. It will help you start your day energised. Eating the right food for breakfast can also increase your focus, keep the energy level steady and keep you satiated until lunchtime, which means, you would be less likely to choose naughty food for lunch.
It would be ideal to eat breakfast right at home before you head out. But if that is not possible, or you don’t want to wake up earlier, don’t want to wash the dishes or similar, make something healthy in the evening before and eat it once you get to your destination. Avoid fast food – the last thing you need is to overdose your body with lots of sodium first thing in the morning.
How many times have you vowed to start going to the gym and work out-serious-as-shit, only to find every excuse under the sun and just ended up not going? Well, not working out doesn’t make you a bad person, some people just don’t like the pain or just don’t like to sweat. But that said, you still do have to lead an active style to stay healthy. The Japanese haven’t always been the gym going type of people, but they are super healthy and live a long time! It’s the food they eat and the amount of walking they do!
Walking is low impact, and you are less likely to injure yourself. Second, it’s easy, if you are reasonably fit, you can do it, and you’re probably already doing it every day, but not enough. Start with 30 minutes of walking per day, and slowly move that to one hour, that’s it. This is doable by getting off the subway one station earlier, and walking to your office, and doing the same on the way home. This will not only help you burn calories, but will tremendously reduce stress. While you do it, listen to some music, or even better an audiobook where you can learn something too. If you can walk through a park or somewhere pretty, that would be even better. I myself find that I am the happiest and the most active when walking through a shopping mall, where my eyes and my feet both get a good work out. Hey, each to their own right?
Adopt a Pet
If you adopt a dog, then you have to walk it, so that covers the walking part. But any kind of pet will have a positive influence on your life, thus improving your health too. Pets are enormous stress relief, and studies show that they even help regulate high blood pressure, one of the leading causes of heart diseases as well as having other cardiovascular benefits.
Pets will also improve your social life – having something you care about helps your empathy, and this will result in you being a better person too. Additionally, you will start socializing with other pet owners from your neighborhood, and who knows, you might even get a date! Go get a pet, it will be one of the best things you ever did.
On top of brushing your teeth twice daily , adding floss to your routine will tremendously boost your oral health, which will reflect on your overall health too. Brushing is essential, but unfortunately, it will not remove all the plaque. Floss gets between your teeth, and more importantly, gets below the gumline, disrupting bacteria and preventing that plaque film to form. If you don’t floss, the plaque will build up, and eventually, calcify into tartar that can be only removed by your dentist.
If you don’t remove it, your gums will start receding, and this will eventually lead to tooth loss. All this can be prevented just by flossing every day. It is the single best thing you can do for your gum health, period.
Take A Break
We are not only talking about taking breaks while working. Unfortunately, we spend most of our free time slouched on the sofa staring at our mobile or on an office chair facing the computer screen. Sedentary lifestyle or prolonged sitting is often called ‘the new smoking’. Prolonged sitting could contribute to cardiovascular disease, bad posture, and even depression. That is why it is a good idea to take breaks from it.
You can turn this health tip into a productivity hack too, by using the Pomodoro technique. You work for 25 minutes, no distractions, then take a 5 minutes break. After 4 cycles, you take a longer break. That way, you will stay fresh and focused while you work, knowing there’s a break just around the corner. Of course, it is important to have an active break, by standing, walking around, or, stretching.
Adding a short stretch routine throughout your day will help you relax, improve posture, relieve any pain or tightness you are experiencing and will help you look and feel awesome. It does not require mats, pull-up bars, or some crazy Romanian gymnast-like flexibility. It can all start by just reaching for your toes, followed by reaching for the sky a couple of times. Not much, but enough to get your blood flowing, and to counter the effect of all-day sitting.
Week by week, add more stuff to the routine, but at first, your goal is to establish it. Know nothing about stretching? Steal some moves here
Meditate and Breathe
Stress is one of the major causes of health disorders. While living a stress-free life is easier said than done, incorporating some changes to relieve it can help your health both in the short and long term. A few minutes each day spent meditating might be all that you need to reduce that anxiety. If meditation is not your thing, try taking deep breaths from your belly. Yes, from your stomach, deep, not just from your lungs. If you don’t know how to do it, here are two tips.
First, stand in front of a mirror and watch your shoulders – if they rise while you inhale, you are not breathing from your belly. Second, lay flat on your back, and place a book over your belly button. Now try to push it up while you inhale, and do the opposite when you exhale. This will not only teach you how to breathe correctly but will also give you a mini ab workout!
Having a positive outlook can transform your life. No, that car, promotion, the vacation you desire won’t make you happy, it will only give you a temporary mood boost, soon enough, you will get back to “wishing.” Practice positive thinking, gratitude, and the “glass is half full” attitude.
Yes, it sounds like a cliche, but we are not saying you should just sit in some yoga position meditating the whole day to find the positive reinforcement. Surround yourself with positive people, read, watch motivational videos and talk about positive things. Look forward to things that make you happy. Try not to dwell on the small things or worry about things that are out of your control. When things don’t go your way, instead of getting angry and giving up, look at the funny side of it all. It requires a bit of work and behavior modification but no one else is responsible for your happiness but your self. Embrace it, look forward to it and enjoy it, it’s yours.
See A Doctor
In this day and age, there are many wonders of modern medicine offering treatments for almost all medical problems. But the mother of medicine is, and always has been prevention.
It’s true, no matter what, some things you can not prevent, they just happen. But, it is undeniably better to catch those early, before they start wreaking havoc. Even the scariest conditions such as cancer can be successfully treated in early stages.
Get a full checkup once a year. Yes, nobody likes doctors, needles and other crazy-looking instruments, and nobody likes paying for it if you are not insured. Still, all that discomfort and hassle is absolutely NOTHING compared to what you get – a piece of mind knowing that everything is alright, or solving the potential issue before it grows into a more significant problem. A great deal if you ask us.
There you have it, that was our list of some simple things you can do today to improve your health. As you can see, most of the things are really simple to do and don’t require much time. It is as simple as setting up a 25-minute timer on your smartphone that will remind you to stand up, stretch, and take a few deep breaths – you have incorporated three of the things we mentioned in a blink of an eye.
Always start with the simple things first. Step by step, you will form healthy habits, and it will be much easier for you to commit to those larger issues, once you start believing that you can do anything you want. Yes, you can!