The journey to healthier living is often difficult and has many stops along the way. Making small but beneficial changes to your life over time often has better long-term results compared to get-fit-quick trends. Take the time to get to know your body and be honest with what is manageable for your lifestyle. These small changes will scaffold to create the long-lasting results you have been looking for.
Here are some tips to help you begin your journey to your health.
1. Stay Hydrated by Increasing Your Water Intake
Increased water intake boasts a wide range of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, increasing the body’s filtering of waste, and protecting kidney function. More observable changes included potential weight loss, maintaining a healthy brain function, and promoting a positive mood.
To ensure that your body functions at its peak, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends the following intake of water:
- 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day for women
- 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day for men
Lifestyle and environmental factors can affect these recommendations. The following influences lead to an increase in the amount of water needed to stay hydrated and healthy:
- Hot and humid weather
- Physical activity
- Overall health and conditions that lead to a loss of fluid
2. Set Consistent and Realistic Exercise Goals
Daily exercise can improve your mental and physical wellbeing. Those trying to initiate positive lifestyle changes, such as starting to exercise, fail most often due to unrealistic expectations. Expecting to go from a sedimentary lifestyle to exercising hours a day every day of the week is unsustainable. Rather, starting with small manageable goals and slowly working your way to larger commitments has a higher rate of long-term success. As little as 10 minutes of exercise will make a difference.
Exercising does not have to be a chore. Rather than focusing on the new grueling exercise trend, spend time finding ways to enjoy getting additional steps in. Fun and fast ways to live a healthier life include:
- Taking lessons in a new sport or activity that you have always wanted to try.
- Spending more time outside and trying activities such as hiking.
- Picking up a new skill or sport like hula hooping or volleyball.
The more you enjoy your activity, the more likely it will become a staple of your life. Even if a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood might not bring the fast and drastic results you are looking for immediately, consistent changes to your routine will be more effective for your overall health compared to unsustainable exercise overhauls.
3. Be Conscious of Your Nutrition
You do not need to be on a diet to make healthy choices when eating. Strict orders and counting calories are both overwhelming and require a lot of sacrifices. Instead, try supplementing healthy alternatives to some of your guilty pleasures. Instead of reaching for pasta, test out the many alternatives that are lower in carbs, like zucchini noodles or quinoa pasta.
Additionally, adding food that makes you feel great is more effective than focusing on eliminating all unhealthy choices. Filling up on greens and whole grains reduces cravings while still allowing for the occasional treat after you already meet your nutritional needs. The more you incorporate these needed foods, the more your body will crave them.
Here are some tricks to help you make the switch to healthy foods:
- Prepare your own meals and focus on testing food substitutions.
- Make enough for leftovers to take the pressure off you to cook every night.
- try new recipes every week to keep cooking fun and exciting.