10 Small Steps You Can Take Towards a Healthy Lifestyle

Whether it is being motivated by just a general overall want to feel better or simply wanting to lose a few pounds before you see your family at the holidays, a lot of people this time of the year are looking for ways to improve their lifestyle and their health. The problem being is a lot of us this time of year lack extra time.

From wanting to fill our schedules with every fall activity possible- hello, pumpkin farm season! Or simply having kids being back in school with extra curricular activities every waking second.

At 180 Health, we understand you are busy. That's why we wanted to bring a few simple steps your way that can make getting healthy less of a chore and more routine in your day to day hectic lifestyle. 

Even if you only have 3 extra minutes each day, these are some small steps you can incorporate into your lifestyle to make it a healthier one.

  1. Drink More Water

Water makes up 60% of your body. If you are low on fluids, your body will send a signal to refuel by triggering your thirst mechanism. Listen to your body and replenish your fluids. Some medications can trigger this as well, so if you think you are getting adequate amount of water you will want to consult your primary care physician about this. Water also helps energize your muscles and keeps your skin radiant, as well as helps your kidneys and bowels function normally. A good tip is to just make sure you always have a water bottle with you. If you have it with you, you are more likely to consume more water than if you never bring one. If you make it routine, you can then adjust to making sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day and increasing it gradually. 

  1. If you are craving something sweet, opt for fruit instead of dessert.

If you are like me, you love sugar. Sweet tooths are an incredibly common thing. If you opt for fruit over items containing processed sugar, you fulfill your sweet tooth’s needs without loading your body with artificial ingredients. Fruit is good for your digestive system and is low in sodium, while being full of other nutrients. Plus eating more fruits and vegetables increases your water intake, so it is a win-win situation. You still get a "treat" without the negative side effects of desserts. 

  1. Stretch nightly before bed

Stretching reduces stress levels and can help you fall asleep faster. Overall, it is an easy relaxation routine to put your body at ease. Stretches should not hurt when performing them. A little bit of soreness is normal, but sharp pains are not. A very important part of stretching is making sure you are breathing. Making sure you are breathing intuitively will not only increase your flexibility, but also make sure you are getting the most out of your stretching. Start slowly by simply just stretching your body a few minutes before bed. If you want some ideas of what stretches to do, here is a great resource

  1. Try to minimize stress

Some feel like they have been stressed since birth. Some have just now discovered what stress is thanks to the year 2020. Nonetheless, stress can cause major issues as it causes chemicals in the brain to rise and your flight or fight hormones can be released. An excerpt from mindbodygreen, explains it best. “The release of these chemicals contributes to certain physiological effects, including rapid heart rate, higher blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. When left unmanaged over time, chronic stress can lead to the development of other serious problems, such as stomach ulcers, stroke, asthma, and heart disease.” Not only can it cause these, it can also increase your risk of cancer, heart attacks, and digestive issues, as well as the most common health issues of mental and emotional disorders.

Our tips to minimize stress are researching stress solutions that fit your lifestyle. Common stress relief options are yoga, meditation, light exercise such as walking, and getting adequate sleep. Some people also look for healthy supplements to add to their lifestyle to minimize stress. In our clinic, we see people have success with our Cortisol manager, Stress support, Lavela, & CBD tincture supplements.

  1. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is all fun and games, but it definitely doesn’t do any favors towards your health goals. Weight gain is a common problem linked to alcohol consumption, along with weakened immunity, cardiovascular problems, unbalanced gut health, neurological problems, as well as liver and pancreas problems. When drinking, just drink in moderation. The consequences of over consumption of alcohol are too detrimental to your health and the goal of getting healthy. Another tip is to reach for red wine when drinking, as it has underlying health benefits that balance out the cons of an alcoholic drink.

  1. Switch your daily lattes to black coffee

Pumpkin spice latte season is among us. But before you reach for a tall latte, realize that is an extra 300 calories with little nutrients fueling your body. A tall pumpkin spice latte, contains 39 grams of sugar and 75 mg of caffeine. In contrast, a tall black roast is only 5 calories, with 0 grams of sugar, and 270 mg of caffeine. If you add a splash of almond milk, it will add around 30 calories or more depending on the amount you add. Before making the switch, realize the caffeine difference and adjust sizes accordingly to the amount of caffeine you wish to consume. Black coffee also contains antioxidants and stimulates metabolic activity.

  1. Get in more steps

Getting in more steps is definitely easier than one might think. Little changes have big outcomes. We are so focused on being efficient, we forget that the efficiency lessens the amount of organic movement we have a day. So, we challenge you to be less efficient and take time to move your body between tasks. Park further away when shopping- whether it be at the mall or grocery store, parking a little further away adds just enough more steps that add up fast. When waiting, for a friend or date, choose to walk around versus sitting still. If you work a desk job, make a habit to get up and move a few steps each hour.

Erica, our Case manager and practice rep, & myself use some of our lunch time to take a quick 15-minute walk. Not only is it getting in extra steps, it is a little refreshing and energizing calorie burn to get us through the rest of our work day.

  1. Eat mindfully and Strive for nutrient dense meals

Mindful eating helps us lessen our chances of overeating and improves digestion. It let’s your body catch up with your brain, allowing it time to tell you when it is full. The brain works faster than the body overall. It takes the body 20 minutes to send the signal that it is full. If you slow down when you are eating, you are less likely to overconsume because it gives your brain time to catch up.

Nutrient dense eating means reaching for food items that are rich in nutrients, but lower in calories. It’s as simple as when you go to Panera and opt for an apple versus French baguette for your side. Why? Not only is there a calorie difference, but the nutrient density of the foods is as well. The apple will mitigate your hunger like the French baguette, but is also the more optimal solution for your health.

Some of the best nutrient dense foods you can reach for are kale, blueberries, and even potatoes. Yes- potatoes. While they get a bad rep, potatoes are actually about 70% water and full of nutrients. They are effective against inflammation and beneficial for your skin.

  1. Focus on getting healthy- not skinny

From Tik-Tok to Instagram, the media and society have a huge impact on the way we see ourself and our bodies. Having pressure to have the perfect body is a common pressure on many these days. That is why the healthiest thing you can do for yourself (and your mental health) is to just focus on getting healthy- not skinny. By making little changes like these listed and more, you will find yourself feeling better. When you feel better, you’ll have more energy to put towards work outs and prepping healthy recipes. Taking the focus off weight change and narrowing in on overall health and mindset, you will find yourself creating a healthy atmosphere the promotes you being your best self.

  1. Don’t give up

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is to not give up. That means to not give up on yourself too. Change is hard. You didn’t get where you are to today over night and that is the biggest thing to remember. To make change, it takes time. These small steps will help you feel better and want to make further progress towards the healthiest you can be.

At the end of the day, there are so many steps besides this you can take. But sometimes a list isn’t enough and you don’t know where to start. That’s when we recommend seeking a consult with a professional to get you on the right track. Knowing you have a professional behind you is just the motivation some people need to get themselves on the track to their best self. Our team at 180 Health would love to be your cheerleader on your health journey; if you need a little extra boost or guidance, schedule a consultation today.

Shelby B Marketing Director for 180 Health & Wellness

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