Many of us think we need to live healthier lifestyles—and we’re not wrong. The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics says that only 23 percent of Americans get enough exercise, while more than 80 percent of us fail to eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. These statistics aren’t about shame or guilt, but they do reveal growing blindspots many of us have when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.
While many of us know we can do better, making healthier choices often seem uncomfortable, difficult, expensive, or time-consuming. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
You can get healthier quickly by making little changes and small adjustments that can surprisingly add up to big improvements. Here are five simple ways to incorporate healthy choices into your everyday routine.
Practice Yoga and Mindfulness
Mindfulness means focusing on the present moment, which helps us let go of worries about the past and fixations in the future. When you find yourself trapped in those types of thoughts, find a quiet spot to practice yoga and mindfulness. A hatha yoga practice can ground you back into your breath and body as well as the here and now. Start simple with a 15-minute energizing routine in the morning or deep and relaxing stretches in the evening, then try to work your way up to a full 60-minute practice. Tech can come to the rescue here: YouTube has plenty of highly-rated yoga channels taught by instructors with years of experience, which you can stream on your computer or phone.
Exercise Throughout The Day
Though human beings are a bit more sedentary than our ancestors, we often have more time than we think to be active. Exercise—which can boost almost every aspect of our health and wellness—can be peppered in throughout the day. You can give yourself more opportunities to move by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, using a treadmill desk, or utilizing time-maximizing HIIT workouts.
If you’re on a budget, it’s wise to understand your streaming options before investing in an online workout program. Track your progress with free or low-cost apps like MyRunningPal and RunTastic. You can then elevate your fitness goals with a smartwatch like the Apple Watch Series 6, which has an electrocardiogram, always-on Retina display, and blood oxygen measurements.
Clear the Air
Our spaces sometimes don’t quite have the breath of fresh air we want, which can lead to chronic allergies, sinus infections, asthma, and coughs. Purchasing an air purifier can remove many of the pollutants that cause physical health concerns, and today’s models contain remotes, digital displays, and technology that attaches positive and negative ions to airborne particles, eliminating them from the air. There is a mental health component to clean air as well. Clearing negative energy in your space can also refresh your mind and body. This can be especially important if your family has been quarantined together for a while and is dealing with conflict and tension.
Health consciousness can be a lifelong battle for some. Though it may seem hopeless at times, activities that encourage self-awareness and elicit reflection can improve critical thinking and empathy. Plus, it encourages people to feel more self-worth and gratitude for others. Keep a journal, stay social, and be positive—these are all good ways to gain more insight into who you are and why you do what you do. There are even apps that can help, including mood trackers and digital gratitude journals.
Adopt a Dog
Owning a pet has many wonderful benefits, both for man and animal. Science says that owning a dog can boost your health, reduce depression and anxiety, and improve cardiovascular health—walking and playing with your dog will give you a daily cardio boost. Plus, just petting a dog has been known to lift moods and promote feelings of well-being—in some cases, almost immediately. If you are worried about being able to give the right amount of care and attention to a pet, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter or even taking your dog to daycare for socialization.
The ASPCA’s online adoptable pet search lets you find pets in need of a forever home in local shelters.
All too often we try to make big changes happen too quickly. They rarely stick, and we end up even further away from our health and wellness goals. We live in a stressful, demanding, and fast-paced world, so stay focused with these tips and techniques that can give your mental and physical health the boost they need.