While there are many methods to lose weight or gain muscle quickly, the boring and often difficult reality is that maintaining health comes from the smaller choices we make every day. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will require daily choices to live a more active life and choose better options for food, and older, unhealthy habits can be quite hard to break.
That’s why as opposed to taking on a fad diet or drastically increasing any exercise, and taking on simple lifestyle changes can reap better results. Small, incremental changes added on over time can compound into some serious implications for your health and wellness.
Here are 5 simple life changes you can make that will make you a healthier person.
1. Cut Calories (in Drinks)
Counting and maintaining calories is an undeniably effective way of losing weight, but not everyone has the time to carry around a nutritional journal. Instead, consider implementing the following rule for yourself: never drink calories.
This simple change will cut out regular sodas and specialty drinks but can compound to some legitimate benefits over time.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) offers a handy and somewhat alarming list of the number of calories in popular beverage items in the nation. By cutting out a morning sweetened coffee and two sodas, for instance, you can expect to cut out almost 500 calories a day!
If going water only with your drinks isn’t an option, consider artificially sweetened drinks like diet sodas or drink mixers. Or if cutting out sodas is difficult for you, consider rewarding good behavior with products like low carb desserts for sticking with a zero calorie intake on beverages.
In any case, this simple change will take some getting used to for some but the benefits are certainly there.
Here’s another simple change that can be as involved and as straightforward as you want it to be!
The typical day for many Americans looks like a commute via a personal vehicle and back home at the end of the day, which isn’t conducive to any real exercise or even a minimum amount of activity.
If you live in a larger town or city, consider swapping out your car with bus and train tickets. If your work is close enough, you might also be able to walk the distance yourself. If you have the time and the energy to do so, consider walking in all scenarios where applicable.
Taking brisk walks will help your body (and specifically your heart) keep blood flowing and muscles from atrophying over time.
3. Start Seeing Green
If you live in a major city, work from home, or just don’t head outside much, it might be a good idea to start getting a little more green in your line of sight.
While it might sound a bit like pseudoscience initially, the CDC reports that seeing green and entering green spaces like parks and forests have been linked to lowering anxiety and decreasing depressive symptoms.
While you can’t expect a plant or two to drastically improve your mood, you can expect that commuting through your local park or taking a brisk hike on the weekends can improve your mental health.
Your mental health needs to be taken as seriously as your physical health, so if we’re looking for simple solutions that will improve our lifestyles, we’ll need to see a little bit more green in our daily lives.
4. Sleep Consistently
Most everyone knows of the benefits of a full night’s rest. If only from the drastic repercussions of pulling an all-nighter or failing to get enough sleep at night. But did you also know that when you get those hours in might even be more important than the number of hours you manage to sleep?
Sleeping consistently will sweet your body’s circadian rhythm at the desired time. Sleep consistently enough, and you’ll feel tired right at bedtime, naturally arise at the right time in the morning, and get deep, efficient sleep every night.
Getting proper sleep is the foundation of our mental and physical performance every day. Simply setting alarm clocks and obeying them long enough will get you primed and ready for a great night’s rest, every single time.
5. Watch Your Screen Time
Finally, for the sake of your eyes and your mind, consider cutting down on your screen time whenever possible.
Too much time spent staring at televisions, smartphones, and tablets can make the eyes strain to see. Even worse is that computers, gadgets, and other Internet-connected devices can prove for easy procrastination methods on anything from work to sleep.
Your mind will keep busy and active long after you put the screen down as well; which is exactly why you should consider keeping your bedroom a technology-free zone. Keeping away from screens about an hour before bed can help you relax and calm down before laying down at night.
Likewise, less time at screens and losing hours of your life to scrolling news feeds and social media can mean better self-esteem. Social media specifically has been linked to lowering self-esteem so that any excess time might be better spent outside the sake of your mind.
In any case, limiting your screen time can go hand in hand with some of our other tips. Instead of watching the latest film or television show, for instance, you may be able to meet up with friends at the park. Or if you do want to see a film, consider walking to the theater instead of getting in the car to drive the distance.
Whether it’s opting for diet sodas or going to bed on time, all five of our above changes is simple enough to implement but challenging enough to force real and lasting changes to your health. While you may not see a slimmer waistline or feel better overnight, the key to any simple health change is consistency over time.
We hope that you try out some of our simple life changes and see which ones stick for you. The more you maintain your body, the better prepared it will be for the many years to come.