Are you as healthy as you could be? If you’re not, you’re not alone. It’s hard to stay on top personal well-being nowadays with so much on our plates—and the accelerated pace of daily life, thanks to always-on tech tools and communication. Even so, we can all be fitter and feel better by taking a few simple steps in the right direction.
Based on input from the pros, here’s how.
Our bodies are meant for action. So, sitting at a desk all day is obviously not ideal. Combat that sedentary time with movement of any kind. Take five-minute health breaks every hour at work where you walk to the break room and back, or do a few squats or stretch—anything to get the blood flowing and change positions. Take the stairs versus the elevator whenever you can. Walk, don’t drive, for short errands. If there’s an opportunity to move, take it.
Make time at least five or six days a week for physical activity:
- Walking in the park with a friend
- Martial arts or Zumba class
Make sure you like it, or you probably won’t do it. Remember, all or nothing thinking need not apply; it’s better to do just 10 minutes of something than nothing at all, so squeeze it in where you can. If you can wrap exercise into your commute, even better. Leave a packed bag of workout clothes and gear at the office (or in the car) so you can grab a free half-hour to exercise on the fly. Schedule regular workout “dates” with a buddy to keep you on your routine or join a gym—because when you’re paying for it, you’re more likely to go. Regular exercise is key to feeling great and looking good. Make it a priority.
Good nutrition and portion control are also essential. Eat vitamin and mineral-rich foods that fill you up, leave you feeling energized, and give your body the building blocks it needs to maintain vitality. As a general rule of thumb, you want to:
- Avoid refined, packaged foods that are high in sugar and fat
- Avoid super greasy and fried foods
- Avoid high-calorie, sugary beverages
- Eat smaller meals more often throughout the day
- Restrict alcohol consumption
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit, grains, and legumes, plus healthy sources of protein
The good news is eating well is delicious and that includes Little Potatoes, naturally buttery-tasting, low-calorie vegetables packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including potassium, iron, Vitamin C, and fiber. Creamers are “good carbs” that leave you feeling satisfied so you eat less and stay trim.
Experts say we adults need seven to nine hours of shut-eye each night. That can be difficult for many reasons. Give yourself the best chance at some quality zzz’s by setting the stage for success.
- Try to go to bed at the same time each night
- Turn off screens well before bedtime
- Read, meditate or listen to mellow music to relax
- Avoid too much alcohol or heavy dinners which can disrupt sleep
- Sprinkle a little lavender on your pillow to aid drowsiness
- Follow a set bedtime routine —perhaps a candlelit bubble bath before turning in?
Not only can the light in our smartphones and laptops disrupt sleep patterns if we tune in before bedtime, the endless stream of emails and texts filled with to-dos get the mind revving versus unwinding. Make sure to set your devices aside each day for some healthy downtime, especially in the evening.
- Read with the kids
- Walk the dog
- Take your time preparing a meal from scratch
- Listen to some good music
The point is: do something that you find rejuvenating.
Who needs more complication? Streamline anywhere you can—whether it’s bill paying (sign up for online automatic deductions), too many commitments (prioritize and pare down), family obligations and engagements (can anything be cut?) or taking on too much at work (don’t!). It sounds harsh, but learning how to say no just might be the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves. The fewer things you do, the less stressed you’ll feel—and that will positively affect your mental, and physical, well-being.
Take action today. Here’s to your (good) health!
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