We all understand that it’s necessary to look after ourselves. Sometimes, after a period where it has been far down the priorities list, we begin to realise that it’s probably about time we get a little healthier and fitter. But how we actually go about this can sometimes be wrong: we think that we have to make huge, wholesale changes to our lifestyle. Everything has to change! In fact, this isn’t really the case. It’s much better just to make a number of small changes, rather than a bunch of big ones. You’ll find them easier to stick to, and will find that they work just as well.
Below, we take a look at a few changes that anyone can easily incorporate into their life.
There’s a place for improving your eating habits (more on that later), but, first, there’s the matter of something that even people who eat healthily often overlook: portion sizes. It’s all good and well eating meals that are full of nutrients and minerals, but if you’re eating enough to feed three people, then there’s an issue. If you think you’re doing everything right but still struggling to meet your fitness goals, then it could be your portion size that’s the issue.
When people think about getting exercise, they usually think it involves spending long hours in the gym. This is not the case. While sticking to a hardcore gym routine won’t be all that bad for you, it’s not like it’s an essential part of staying fit and healthy. Indeed, if you want to know how much exercise you need, it’s best to look at how people live in those regions where people live the longest. Those people are reasonably believed to be among the healthiest out there. They engage in just a small amount of exercise each day. Enough to get the heart rate up, but it’s not like they’re sweating buckets. If you have limited time, then take a look at doing those seven minute exercise routines.
Most people eat reasonably well, but undo much of their good work just by eating junk throughout the day. Those donuts and cookies might taste good, but you know what they say: it’s a moment on the lips for a lifetime on the hips. It takes a little bit of discipline to turn these down, of course, but not much. Just look at these snack options for what they really are — bad for you! Instead, look at healthier choices instead. A piece of fruit, or hummus and carrots, for instance, is much better.
Cutting Down on Vices
No-one’s perfect. We all have our flaws and weaknesses. Hopefully, they’ll have nothing to do with our health, but sometimes they do. Take drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, for example. These might be part of our social fabric, but they can have a hugely detrimentally impact on our health. So it’s a good idea to endeavour to put them behind us. Because cutting them out entirely can be very difficult/close to impossible, it’s best to make subtle changes instead. Instead of smoking cigarettes, you can look at buying a vape, which has been shown in studies to be less harmful than smoking. For alcohol, it’s about changing your mindset to reduce the number of drinks you have on a night out. If you’re a beer drinker, one effective way is to alternate regular beer drinks with non-alcoholic beer options.
Getting Better Sleep
There are many reasons why you should strive to get a better night’s sleep. It helps to keep your body operating at full capacity, and also ensures that we’re able to think clearly the next day; if we’re tired and unable to think, we’ll be much more likely to adopt unhealthy habits. So how can you get a better night’s sleep if you currently struggle to hit the land of Nod? Taking time to de-stress after a hectic day, practising meditation, and limiting the amount of tech you use prior to falling asleep will all help.
Time in the Outdoors
We tend to think of getting healthier and fitter as things that involve eating well and joining the gym. And yes, those things are important. But when we’re thinking about our mental and physical wellness, it’s a good idea to get down to the basics of things — and that is that we’re animals that belong in the outdoors. As such, it’s not possible to be in peak physical condition without spending a little time in the outdoors. Aside from getting you physically fit (through hiking and so on), it can have a profound impact on your mental health. Studies have shown that spending two hours in nature a week (either all at once or spread over multiple visits) can boost happiness and reduce anxiety, among other benefits.
Yoga and Meditation
There are other activities that can boost our mental and physical health, too. Yoga and meditation seem to go hand in hand, and they also do wonders for us. Your body will not feel as good as it does after an hour of yoga class. Meditation can transform your life — to feel the power, give it a go next time you’re feeling anxious. You might just find that you feel better — and when you feel better, you’ll be more likely to stick to your fitness goals.
Find an Activity
Another good way to get healthy is to find an activity that you like and make it part of your lifestyle. If you take up, say, cycling, or football, or hiking, then you’ll be having fun and getting fit at the same time. It’s much better for you than sitting in a pub or watching television.
New Friend Groups
Finally, look at making friends who make fitness a priority, if your current friends don’t already. They say that we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with. If they’re all healthy, then you’ll be more likely to be healthy too.
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