Living a healthy lifestyle is by definition living a life that’s holistically “healthy” in every sense of the word. Each one of us knows exactly what a healthy person looks like and how they behave. To name a few, a healthy person doesn’t smoke, tries to maintain a healthy weight, eats healthy foods with plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber, and, of course, exercises on a regular basis.
Besides the ones we’ve already mentioned, a healthy person also manages stress properly, gets enough rest and sleep, doesn’t drink or if they do then they do so in moderation, in fact everything they do is in moderation. But to be straight, everything mentioned so far, may not be impossible but are in fact extremely hard to do.
Do not be overwhelmed though, since you don’t have to change everything all at once, at the same time. In fact, the secret to living healthy is making small changes in your daily activities and routine—taking more steps each day,1 adding some apples to your cereal, having an extra glass of water, or saying no to that second helping of mouth-watering tiramisu. In fact, what you can do today, right this instant to make your lifestyle healthier is to move more.
Here’s Why You Need To Move More
Deep down you know you just can’t sit on that couch all day everyday, but we always come up with way too many excuses. From not having time to exercise, to lacking the motivation to do it, to being afraid of injuring oneself. Excuses.
Let’s uncomplicate things. Simply put, exercise is just movement. Whatever kind it is. Whether it’s walking your dog just around the block or competing in a marathon, these movements are forms of exercise and each time you move more than you usually do, it absolutely counts!
Structured exercise is of course optimal —meaning you’re sweating, getting some cardio done, working out in your target heart rate zone, or doing specifically targeted movements to strengthen your body but this doesn’t always have to be the case. Even moderate activities such as household chores, like gardening, or simply cleaning around the house can make a difference.2
The Benefits of Moving More
As mentioned, however minute you may think those movements your making are, they do count and have lasting benefits, most of which are not immediately evident.
These benefits include:2
- Reduces the risk of heart and blood vessels diseases such as stroke and diabetes
- Improves joint stability
- Increases and improves range of motion
- Helps maintain flexibility as you age
- Maintains bone mass
- Prevents bone degradation and fractures
- Improves mood and reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Enhances self-esteem
- Improves memory in the elderly
- Reduces stress
As you can see, the benefits of moving is still pretty amazing, even if you’re opting for small, gradual changes and your weight loss is at best modest. It definitely still counts!
In fact, you need not put so much pressure on yourself. You don’t have to set a goal weight, especially if you know you’d have trouble sticking to a program. Instead, focus on developing healthy habits that will definitely last, weight loss will come naturally after, you’ll see.
Simple Ways to Move Your Body
Once you’ve finally decided to take that tiny step towards healthy living and will now move some, you can start off with something small. Remember, every movement counts.3
- Screen time off. Once or several times a week, turn off your TV, computer, and phones too. Do something a little more physical with your family like games, or take a stroll with them, do almost anything that makes you move instead of just sitting on that couch.
- Walk more. Look for reasons and ways to walk more. When you get the mail or pick up the newspaper, take a walk around the block, take the dog for an extra outing each day or walk him a couple of more blocks further, walk on your treadmill for another extra five minutes before getting ready for work.
- Do some chores. Shoveling snow, weeding in the garden, raking leaves, mowing the lawn—these activities may not be vigorous nor intense, but they still do count plus you’re also getting so much done!
- Pace while you talk. When you’re on the phone, doing some cleaning, or putting things away, just pace around. This is an amazingly simple way of moving that you can even do without putting in much thought to it.
- Be aware. Make a list of all the activities and movements you do on a regular day. If you see that the most of your time is spent sitting, or just lounging around, make another list and incorporate the ways you can move more—getting up to pace, stretch or walk every hour, instead of taking the elevator at work you walk the stairs, and more.
Eating Well Without Being Miserable
Having a healthy diet is also a major part of living a healthier lifestyle. Weight management is usually the short term goal for most but in the long run, a healthy diet can also improve your health and quality of life as you get older.4 We’re all too familiar with all the food groups and the dos and don’ts of healthy eating, but, then again, making too many drastic changes to your diet at once may backfire. For example, going on a restrictive diet may make you crave the very foods you’ve been trying to avoid.
Once again, you can look for ways to make smaller, manageable changes each day.4 These are some awesome ideas on how to do just this.
- Eat more fruit. A few slices of fruit in your cereal, a kickass fruit salad dinner, or make it a dessert or a snack.
- Sneak in more veggies. Add them wherever you can—a tomato and some lettuce on your sandwich, peppers on your pizza, or extra veggies in your pasta sauce. Keep pre-cut, canned, or frozen veggies ready for a quick snack or as an add-on to a recipe.
- Try a healthy salad dressing. Switch to a lighter salad dressing and you’ll automatically be eating fewer calories.
- Eat low-fat or fat-free dairy. Most of us cannot live without dairy so simply switch to skim milk or fat-free yogurt. This is another simple way to lessen your calorie intake without having to change too much in your diet.
- Make some substitutions. List down the top 3 foods you always eat PLUS their nutritional content and, the next time you’re at the grocery store, find lower-calorie substitutes for these items. Eventually, it’ll become a habit, and you’ll always be checking out the labels unconsciously!
A Word From Very well
Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to mean overhauling your entire life, or doing drastic changes. Making small, manageable changes in how you live may seem like a slow process, but this is in fact a better, easier, and more natural way for you to adapt to these positive changes. Just pick one thing, work on that one thing every day, and leave everything else in your life as it is. You may be surprised just how much impact those small changes are really making on the quality of your life.