It’s not always the significant changes that will improve your health. Sometimes the most important parts are the details that make up your daily routine. Studies show that changing a habit can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days, so trying to do it overnight most likely won’t work out very well. That’s why it’s so important to start small when you begin your journey to being healthier. Here are seven small changes you can make this summer to benefit your body.
1. Start your day with a large glass of water
Overnight our body dehydrates, so replenishing your water in the mornings is a vital part of taking care of yourself. You can still have your morning coffee, don’t worry. Just make sure you drink some water before you put anything else in your system. For an extra boost of vitamins, add some fresh lemon or lime.
For some, an ice-cold drink in the morning is too much of a shock to their system. If that’s the case, pour yourself a room temperature or lukewarm glass of H2O, which can be gentler on your stomach.
2. Move your body at least once a day
Yes, it may seem easier said than done, but you should be doing some sort of exercise or activity that gets your body moving at least once a day. Don’t panic; this doesn’t mean you have to be at the gym every morning. Instead, you can go for a walk or do some light yoga. Your muscles need to exercise, and if you’re sitting at your computer all day, you’ll be more prone to neck pain and a slow metabolism. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes, get up and get moving!
Want to make it more fun? Grab a friend or family member to join you. A stroll around the park or your neighborhood is not only good for your body but is also great for your wellbeing. Who knows? You may find your walks become a regular event that both of you look forward to every day.
3. Put your phone away
Most people spend their day staring at a screen. First, it’s your laptop screen at work, then your TV at home, and finally your phone screen before you go to bed. You need to give your eyes and mind a rest every once in a while. Plus, using your phone right before you go to bed can reduce the amount of REM sleep you get. Why not pick up a book instead or listen to some soothing music? Nothing too stimulating, of course, or you’ll be up all night. This one small change can make a difference. You’ll wake up more rested and ready for the day.
4. Learn how to cook healthy food
Making a quesadilla stuffed with meat, cheeses, and lots of other toppings in your microwave doesn’t really count as healthy cooking. If you want to work on your overall health, you need to give your body the nutrients it needs. And the best sources of those nutrients are lean proteins, healthy fats, and lots of greens and fresh produce.
5. Treat yourself but within reason
There is no use in following a strict diet if you’re just going to crash and end up binge eating fast food a few weeks later. The occasional unhealthy treat is absolutely acceptable to keep you sane and your spirits up. Just make sure a few chips after dinner doesn’t turn into the whole bag. Healthy means enjoying all types of foods but in moderation.
But, of course, you can skip the chips and turn to nutrient-rich whole foods that will fill you up and fuel your body. Some of my favorites include a small handful of nuts, vanilla Greek yogurt with a little granola, or a smoothie.
6. Keep track of what you eat
Sometimes we underestimate how many calories our favorite foods contain. Sure, your bowl of oats in the morning is healthy, but it can easily have 700 or 800 calories, not the 300 calories you thought it was. Keeping a food diary or using a tracking app, at least for a while, can help you get an idea of what you’re eating. You’d be surprised how much, or how little, you’re actually taking in every day.
7. Make healthy swaps
Some healthy swaps are so easy that they’ll become second nature in no time. For example, try switching from regular to spray oil to avoid unnecessary calories. Or try using yogurt instead of mayonnaise in some salad dressings or dips. Another great tip is to try almond milk instead of whole milk for a dairy-free and low-calorie alternative. After a while, you’ll barely notice the difference, but the health benefits will be worth it.
Change Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated
Are you ready to make a few simple changes to improve your health? You’ll be surprised how easy it is to give your body what it needs without having to upturn your life completely. Luckily, change doesn’t always have to be complicated. It may even turn out to be fun to find little things in your daily routine to improve.