The shortest route to better health comes in small steps rather than giant leaps. Little changes are easier than big ones, yet add up to great improvements over time. Each small step is movement in a healthier direction and far better than grand goals that prove too ambitious to attain. Here are 10 small steps to get you on the road to good health.
1. Take a 5-minute walk. Take a five-minute walk during your lunch break. Almost everyone can walk for this short time period. Next week increase it to ten minutes.
2. Give yourself a lift. Lifting a hardcover book or a 2 lb.weight a few times a day can help tone your arm muscles. When that becomes a breeze, move on to heavier items.
3. Eat one extra fruit or vegetable a day. Fruits and vegetables, packed with fiber and phytochemicals, taste good, and are good for everything from your brain to your bowels.
4. Make breakfast count. Start the day with some fruit and a serving of whole grains, like oatmeal, bran flakes, or whole-wheat toast.
5. Stop drinking your calories. Cutting out just one sugar-sweetened soda or calorie-laden latte can easily save you 100 or more calories a day. Over a year, that can translate into a 10-pound weight loss.
6. Have a handful of nuts. Try grabbing a handful of heart healthy walnuts, almonds, or peanuts instead of chips or cookies when you need a snack.
7. Sample the fruits of the sea. Eat fish or other types of seafood once a week instead of red meat .Seafood is good for the heart, the brain, and the waistline.
8. Breathe deeply. Try breathing slowly and deeply for a few minutes daily. It can help you relax. Slow, deep breathing may also help lower blood pressure.
9. Wash your hands often. Scrubbing up with soap and water often during the day is a great way to protect your heart and health. The flu, pneumonia, and other infections can be very hard on the heart.
10. Count your blessings. Take a moment each day to acknowledge the blessings in your life and to start tapping into other positive emotions. These have been linked with better health, longer life, and a greater well-being, just as their opposites — chronic anger, worry, and hostility — contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Don’t give up. Getting healthier is a minute-by-minute process. It’s all about small choices you make throughout the day. Be confident that you can make a healthier choice, and don’t be hard on yourself even if it takes a while to get with the program.