Sometimes the idea of living a healthier lifestyle seems impossible. Losing weight, eating better, quitting smoking or drinking, and getting more exercise seems like a lot of things to tick off the list if you are determined to be as healthy as you can possibly be. However, there are a few simple lifestyle changes you can make to change your health for the better, and they don’t involve a lot of work or any major sacrifices. Take small steps and soon you will be able to move onto some of those bigger challenges.
Assess Your Starting Point
If you have come to the conclusion that you need to make some lifestyle changes then chances are that you aren’t feeling very healthy at the moment. If this is the case, it is important that you go and see your family doctor, just to check that there isn’t an underlying reason for your poor health. It is also useful, perhaps at the same appointment, to get an accurate measurement of your weight, your Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure, and other facts and figures that can be used later on to determine if you are making any progress in your efforts to change.
Check What You Consume
Often, it is excess weight that is the catalyst for many people wanting to make lifestyle changes to improve their health. Whether it is because they want to look good at an upcoming event or because they are noticing that certain activities are becoming harder to do without losing their breath, it is those extra pounds that often encourage us to become healthy. First and foremost, keep a food diary for a couple of weeks to get an idea of what you are eating every day. Don’t try and make any changes at this point, as this is supposed to be an accurate representation of your bad habits. You may find you are unpleasantly surprised by some of the things you are eating or how frequently you are snacking. At the end of the two weeks, sit down with the food diary and work out where you can make changes; reducing portion sizes is an easy one, as is replacing sugary or salty snacks with healthy fruit. The important thing to remember is that you need to know what you were doing wrong before you can make lifestyle changes, otherwise you will just slip back into your old bad habits.
To smokers, this will seem like a major lifestyle change, not a minor one. However, there have been so many advances in recent years in the development of products to help people give up cigarettes that it is becoming easier all the time to wave goodbye to this particularly damaging habit. Electronic cigarettes can deliver the nicotine that smokers are addicted to without all the other damaging chemicals and carcinogen that you find in cigarette smoke. The disposable models are even designed to look and feel like the real thing to help you make the switch. They are very easy to use and even work out cheaper in the long run than buying cigarettes. Once you have comfortably made the switch to electronic cigarettes, you can even try reducing your independence on nicotine further until you are no longer addicted at all.
Walk Before You Can Run
Exercise is obviously going to be an important part of any lifestyle changes to improve your health. Not only does it help if you are trying to lose weight, but improving your general fitness can decrease your chances of developing heart disease, diabetes and other serious conditions. If you currently take no exercise, however, it can be dangerous and difficult to start a high-impact cardio exercise routine. Start with some easy changes; walk the few flights up to the office rather than taking the elevator; get off the train or bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way home or to work. Activity trackers set you targets for the number of steps you should be taking in a day, and you can even set up challenges with your friends to make it more fun.