Get Healthy: Simple Tips to Implement
When it comes to getting healthy, a quick Internet search reveals thousands of different suggestions, making the task seem more daunting and intimidating than it should be. Though there isn’t a quick fix, you can improve your health and fitness by simply taking a look at your current lifestyle and making a few minor adjustments.
Revamp Eating Habits
One aspect of being healthy is the food you put in your body. Have you ever really sat down and taken a good look at the foods you eat every day or week? Keep a food diary for a week, write down everything you eat and the time you eat; this helps you uncover possible bad habits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), common unhealthy eating habits are eating too fast, eating when you aren’t hungry, eating while distracted, and skipping meals. Identify the cues that lead to these habits, and replace the cues with healthy habits. For example, if you eat too fast, try putting your fork down between bites or minimize distractions that might keep you from paying attention to how quickly and how much you are eating. If you find that you eat or snack when you aren’t truly hungry, brainstorm non-eating activities to do such as going for a walk, reading a book, or chatting with a friend.
As far as what you eat, you don’t have to go on a specific diet to make healthy changes. Family Doctor recommends making minor changes, such as baking, grilling, or broiling meat rather than frying it, and incorporating some sort of fruit or vegetable into every meal. Try to use low-fat or nonfat versions of foods you enjoy, and read the nutrition labels on foods before purchasing them. Pay attention to recommended portion sizes as well. Good nutrition will not only give you energy and help with weight control, but it will also help improve mental health as well.
According to the American Heart Association, walking is the simplest way to start your fitness journey, costs nothing to get started, and is both easy and safe. Simply walking 30 minutes a day provides heart health benefits, and you can incorporate walking at home and at work. In the comfort of your home, you can get steps in by taking a walk, standing while talking on the telephone, doing housework, or parking further away at the grocery store or mall. At work, incorporate movement by taking the stairs, walking around the building during breaks, walking down the hall to speak with someone rather than calling them on the phone, or coordinating a fitness group with colleagues. Come up with creative ways to get steps in, and consider using a pedometer to keep track of your steps and set daily goals. Challenge yourself to increase your steps each week.
Walking your dog could help you to increase your steps and overall health too. According to a study conducted by Michigan State University, people who walk their dogs are 34 percent more likely to meet federal benchmarks on physical activity, and generally walked an hour longer per week than people who owned dogs but didn’t involve them on their fitness activity. The research also found that people who walked their dogs had higher levels of overall physical activity.
Researcher Mathew Reeves says, “There appears to be a strong link between owning and walking a dog and achieving higher levels of physical activity, even after accounting for the actual dog walking.”
Focus on Bad Habits
Sometimes it’s not what you do that matters but what you stop doing. Look at your overall lifestyle. Have any bad habits crept in over time that could be hurting your health? For example, do you stay up too late regularly — getting 6 hours of sleep when a small change in bedtime habits could get you 7-8 hours? Do you smoke? It’s harmful side effects have been widely reported on. Do you spend too much time glued to your phone? Doing so could lead to hand and neck pain and poor sleep. By taking steps to eliminate bad habits from your life, you’ll be improving your physical and mental health.
As you strive to become more active in your daily life, try bringing your dog along to set yourself up for future physical activity. Walking for a few minutes each day is an easy way to not only increase your health and fitness throughout the year, but your dog’s as well.
Written by Paige Johnson, http://learnfit.org/