Healthy Habits: The Little Things Do Count

With winter break over and people starting to get back into the swing of things, why not resolve to make a new habit this year? Habits, which famously only take 21 days to form, can mean lots for your health. Take vowing to drink an eight-ounce glass of water before every meal, for example. Not only will you feel full at each meal, but your water intake will also increase by over twenty ounces, which can mean a lot for your health and hydration. Have you decided on a healthy habit that you want to pick up this year? Read on for some suggestions on easy ways to be just a little bit healthier every day!

Take the Stairs

Do you need to get to a meeting a few floors up, or going to lunch near your work? Try walking it out! Even taking just a few extra steps during the day can have benefits for your mental and physical health.  Taking 55 flights of stairs has been associated with a significantly lower risk of mortality and is an easy way to contribute to the 30 minutes of recommended exercise per day. And because stair climbing requires no special equipment, it is an easy way to hit your step and exercise goals during the day.

Water it Down

An often-ignored facet of health, hydration is an essential aspect of overall health. Long-term dehydration sufferers experience muscle cramps, dry skin, and food cravings. So not only will staying hydrated help your body function better, but you will also experience fewer desires for fatty and sugary food, making it the perfect accompaniment to any weight loss goals you might have! To help with hydration, consider eating foods with high water content, buying or repurposing your water bottle to make it more attractive, or relying on any application or service that helps you manage your water intake.

The New Lunch Breaks

Do you lack time to exercise, or feel inadequate compared to your coworkers and their exercise commitments? Try standing up and taking a short walk on your lunch break. This small bit of exercise can contribute to any existing fitness goals you might have and will be a welcome break from the monotony of an office job or service sector job. If there is a gym within walking distance, you could squeeze in a quick workout session there, if that’s more your speed. Just getting up and getting active are great ways that you can contribute to your health, even if it just means walking to the new pho place that just opened!

Commuting Concerns

Commuting, the bane of most working professionals’ existence, is something that takes the average American around 50 minutes per day. If you live close to work, consider cycling or walking on days where the weather and conditions make that possible. If you live a little bit further or lack sidewalks and infrastructure to walk, try to make driving as productive as possible. While stopped in traffic, you can do breathing exercises (which are especially useful for those long, frustrating traffic jams in the morning,) calf raises, toe raises, adductor squeezes, or even just fidgeting. All these exercises help you to feel better about long commute times, as well as have a better reaction to any frustrations caused by other drivers.

Make Wise Coffee Choices

Are you grabbing one or more cups of coffee in the morning? Be careful about your caloric intake by cutting out a lot of the added sugars and fats from your coffee. You can do this by choosing milk over creamer, eliminating added sugars, and making smarter choices with coffeehouse drinks. Caffeine intake is also a hot-button topic for many health gurus because of caffeine’s impact on proper sleeping patterns. To avoid any insomnia or similar conditions, consider drinking that last cup of coffee at around 2 p.m. If you want to have a hot drink before bed, reach for an herbal tea, like rooibos, hibiscus, or chamomile.

Here Comes the Sun

Although overlooked, getting adequate amounts of Vitamin D from the sun is something that is a natural, relatively easy health fix for anyone. Increased doses of Vitamin D can help make you less susceptible to the flu, diabetes, and cancer. It also is essential for bone health and healthy pregnancies.  Before you reach for the supplements, however, try heading outside for ten to fifteen minutes during the summer. In the winter, supplements are necessary if you live north of Atlanta, as it is impossible for you to produce vitamin D during the winter in the north.

Get That Beauty Sleep

After just one night of lost sleep, you lose brain tissue and have an increased craving for fatty foods. After long-term sleep deprivation sets in, your risk of strokes is four times higher than it would typically be, your risk of heart disease increases, and the risk of obesity is much higher. But how much sleep is a healthy amount, and what can you do to sleep better and more often? According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults 18-64 need between six and eleven hours of sleep, with the ideal range being seven to nine hours. Need help reaching those goals? Consider a blue light filter on your phone, avoid drinking any caffeine or alcohol in the six hours before you sleep, and try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

Are you excited to try any of these health hacks? Do you have another relatively easy tip that you’d like to share with your fellow readers? Leave your answers in the comments below!

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