Living a healthier lifestyle isn’t always the result of drastic changes. Often the small changes we make to daily habits have the biggest impact for permanent changes. Here are a few easy ways you can make simple changes to get healthy.
Cook with olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help protect against disease. The monounsaturated fat in olive oil has been linked to improved cholesterol and blood pressure. Select olive oil over refined cooking oils. Use it to saute vegetables and as a base for salad dressings.
Eat a salad every day.
An easy way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake is to include a healthy salad every day. Skip the boring iceberg lettuce, and include more nutrient-rich ingredients like cabbage, spinach, beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, and a variety of green and red lettuces. Keep dressings light and healthy by drizzling on a little extra virgin olive oil and flavored vinegars.
Switch to water.
When you are thirsty, reach for water. Calories from beverages can cause a significant increase in your total intake, leading to weight gain. Even worse, these calories don’t fill us up, so we don’t adjust food intake to account for the extra calories. If you need flavor in your drink, try club soda with a twist of lime or infuse your water with fresh mint and cucumbers.
Drink more tea.
Tea contains polyphenols that have been found to lower the risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Decaffeinated varieties can provide a substitute for water when you want something with more flavor. Sipping hot tea also has a calming effect. Flavored, unsweetened hot teas can be used as a treat to unwind at the end of the day.
Watch the snacking.
Mindless snacking is an easy way to consume more calories than you need. We often overlook the handful of crackers grabbed after lunch or the munching done while cooking dinner. These calories add up. Limit your eating to meals and portioned snacks, and avoid grazing throughout the day without tracking each bite.
Skip technologies that make life more convenient, like escalators and moving sidewalks, and choose walking to improve your health. Instead of sending coworkers emails or text messages, walk to their offices to deliver your messages.
Start the day with a 10-minute workout.
Even if you can’t get in your full workout every morning, start every day with a mini-workout. Just 10 minutes of marching in place, strength training, or yoga are enough to get the blood flowing and improve your outlook for the day.
Squeeze in 5 minutes of meditation.
Giving your brain a break and reducing stress only requires 5 minutes. Find time throughout the day to sit quietly and meditate on your goals, or repeat an affirmation.
Flexibility improves your range of motion to keep you mobile. When you are flexible, everything from walking to strength training becomes easier. Whether you stretch in your office during a work break or hit the mat for a good stretch after your workout, treat your flexibility with the same importance as other aspects of your health.
Make sleep a priority.
Adequate sleep is often the forgotten part of the weight loss equation. Sleep plays a role in the regulation of hormones that influence our hunger and stress levels. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. When you skimp on sleep, you can experience hunger and cravings that may have been easier to control if you’d gotten more rest.