Updated: Sep 6
Okay, it’s not a magic pill or a quick fix. Getting healthy takes patience, time, commitment, and consistency BUT there are many small things you can do RIGHT NOW that can help jump-start your commitment to getting healthier! Here are a few things you can do right now to get you started!
1. Drink water. Yep, it’s as simple as that. Water isn’t just to quench your thirst; it is essential for your body to work properly! According to Mayo Clinic here are a few reasons why drinking water is essential for your wellbeing.
Regulates body temperature
Moistens tissues in the eyes, nose, and mouth
Protects body organs and tissues
Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells
Lessens the burden the on kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products
Helps dissolve minerals and nutrients to make them accessible to your body
How much should you drink? Mayo Clinic recommends 11.5 cups for women and 15.5 cups for men daily. Here are some ideas on how to get more water into your day!
Leave a glass of water by your bed at night and first thing in the morning drink it!
Always have a water bottle with you – find one that you like!
Put an elastic band around your water bottle to keep track of how much you've drank.
If you don’t like water, try seltzer, or flavor it with citrus, herbs, or cucumber!
Make sure you have water at all meals.
A lot of fruits/veggies have water too! Cucumber, watermelon, celery, and lettuce.
2. Increase your daily movement. This is movement in general, not exercise. Things like taking the stairs, walking the dog, playing with your kids, gardening, and dancing. This type of movement burns most of your calories throughout your day and keeps your body moving, blood flowing, and energy levels high.
Here are some simple ways to increase your daily movement
Take the stairs instead of the elevator
Walk to the store instead of drive
Walk your dog instead of paying someone else to do it
Play with your kids/grandkids
Stretch while watching TV
Park far away
Get off a stop earlier from the bus or train and walk
3. Exercise. Along with daily movement, it’s important to add purposeful movement to your week. Essentially a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate activity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity. This equates to about 5 days a week for 30 minutes. Exercise such as Yoga, Pilates, lifting weights, running, biking, fast walking etc. Having a strong body will benefit you in so many ways.
Here are some ways to get that workout in:
Get a trainer! Accountability is key – so if you have a hard time motivating yourself, sometimes it’s helpful to have someone else holding you accountable!
Get a buddy. Work out with a friend and hold each other accountable! Ensure this friend has similar goals as you so you can motivate each other.
Split up your workouts. There are no rules that state you must work out for an hour. If you only have 10 minutes – make it count!
Write it down. Put your workout in your calendar. If it’s written down, it’s more likely to happen.
4. Eat more veggies. Yeah, yeah eat your greens – but really, eat them. Vegetables are nutrient-dense and low in calories so you can eat a good amount of them! They’re loaded with fiber too, so they’ll keep you full without adding a lot of calories. Eat a variety of colors for more nutritional value. Think of half your plate being vegetables – the more color the better!
Here are some ways to add more veggies into your day:
Add some spinach or kale to a smoothie
Add some veggies to your eggs
Make a stir fry or soup heavy on the vegetables
Try veggie noodles
Put veggies in your sauce
5. Breathe. It’s important to take some time every day for stillness. Life can be a rollercoaster and seem like it’s going at warp speed, so take a moment every day to just be. It doesn’t have to be long, just a few moments of deep breathing can bring you back to your center to help you focus, reduce stress, and make sound decisions.
Here are some ways you can get more stillness into your day:
Before you get out of the car take 5 deep breathes
Before you open your email in the morning take a few deep breathes
Find a spot in your home where you feel at peace – go there daily
Light a candle
Repeat a mantra to yourself that brings you peace
Author: Melissa Dupuis, MPH