It’s never too late to live a healthy life. Many people want to make a change and improve their habits but knowing where to start can be difficult. You don’t need to do a complete diet and fitness 180 to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Spending all day in the gym and hiring a pricey nutritionist aren’t the only ways to make key changes in your habits.
Simple adjustments to your daily routine are all it takes to make a big difference.
1. Switch to Whole Grains
One of the easiest swaps you can make for a healthier diet is switching your carbs to whole grains.
Whole grains carbs have virtually identical taste and texture as their overly processed, refined counterparts, but with a whole lot more benefits (get it?).
Switching to whole grains will:
- Make you feel full for longer
- Aid digestion
- Increase your fiber intake
- Help you consume fewer calories
In addition to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins, complex carbohydrates (whole grains) are an essential part of any meal.
2. Decrease Stress
Stress takes a major toll on the body. Making healthy changes isn’t just about exercising and eating right—keeping stress under control is also a key factor in improving your overall well-being.
To improve your mental and physical health, try some of these methods for managing stress.
- Meditation – Meditation is one of the oldest stress relievers in history. Finding a few minutes each day to clear the mind and let the body relax can improve your day, even hours after you’re done. If you’re new to meditation, try using a guided practice or a meditation app to help you get into the flow.
- Natural Remedies – Try natural remedies for stress. CBD soft gels have been shown to affect the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and reduce feelings of anxiety. Herbal teas can also provide a calming effect on the mind, especially mint and chamomile, due to their aromatic properties.
- Talk it Out – Whether to a friend or a licensed therapist, talking through your stress is an effective way to relieve it. Bottling things up can lead to multiple sources of stress building on one another, causing an even greater impact on your health.
3. Get Enough Sleep
The body can’t function properly without enough sleep. The average adult should be getting at least seven hours each night—preferably more. In addition to getting enough sleep, it’s important that you’re also getting the right kind of sleep. The human body needs a balance of deep and REM sleep, and some nighttime habits can have a negative impact on these levels.
To improve sleep, consider dumping some of these habits:
- Inconsistent sleep schedule – It’s important that you go to bed and wake up around the same time every day, even on the weekends. Getting your body used to a regular sleep schedule will improve the quality of your sleep and help you fall asleep easier at night.
- Avoid stimulants – Caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulant drugs (including ADHD medication and some decongestants) should be avoided close to bedtime. Even a cup of coffee in the afternoon can have lasting effects throughout the night—leaving you tossing and turning in bed.
- Use a sleep calculator – Sometimes, when you’re struggling to fall asleep the night before an early day, you may be stressed about being tired in the morning. This stress will typically lead to even more insomnia, which is counterproductive. To relieve some of this anxiety, try out a REM sleep calculator. This will give you several options for when to go to sleep, so you’ll fall into a comfortable slumber (resulting in a lovely morning).
4. Find Easy Ways to Exercise
A healthy amount of exercise doesn’t have to produce buckets of sweat at the gym. A simple change you can make toward a healthier lifestyle is incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine.
This may include:
- Biking to places nearby
- Taking the stairs more often
- Going for longer walks with your dog
- Properly stretching your muscles each morning
- Parking farther from work or the grocery store, so you have to walk more
Even a small amount of exercise each day will make a bigger difference than hitting the gym once a year, pushing yourself too far, and being so sore you don’t go back. Find low-impact exercises that you actually enjoy—and who knows? You might actually fall in love with the process!
It Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Many healthy lifestyle changes can actually be enjoyable. From delicious whole-grain foods to pleasant walks around the block, taking care of your body and mind doesn’t have to feel like work.
Remember not to make yourself miserable. Find easy ways to make your daily routine a little healthier, and watch the changes begin to unfold.