5 Way to Improve your Health
“I’m wanting to improve my health, but I don’t know where to start. I have access to loads of information but what do I do first.”
Have you ever tried to go on a health kick only to fall off the wagon a couple of days in? The reason is because it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form new habits. Taking the first step to improve your health is always the most difficult. You have to be honest with yourself and assess where you are and where you want to be. You need to believe in yourself and know that you’ve got this. Making changes is not easy, you will face challenges along the way but over time it will get easier.
The first thing you need to change is your mindset. You can’t make changes if you don’t know why you want to make the changes. Knowing why is important because it will help you create a new mindset and help you understand when things get tough why you are continuing to be healthy. It is also much more empowering to be changing your health when you can say “I want to be health because……..”.
The main reasons people want to improve their health include:
· Prevent disease
· Feel better
· To be pain or injury free
· Healthy ageing
· Reduce stress
· Become a role model
· Lose weight
· Feel good about themselves
Your reason may be one of the above something else entirely but unless you identify what the real reason is that you want to improve your health, it is difficult to make changes that benefit your health for life. Make sure you put your reason someone where you can see it every day.
Often when we decide we want to get healthy we want to do it all at one. This leads to failure because it becomes overwhelming. Make small changes to your diet and lifestyle and over time you will be living a healthier life. Setting yourself goals and having a plan will lead to success and you’ll be able to stay on track.
Start with your big goal and then break it down into smaller parts. For example, if your goal is to exercise regularly and your currently aren’t doing any you can’t expect to be able to run 5kms every day. Start with going to a walk a couple times a week for just 30 minutes, then increase this over time. Depending on your fitness levels you may be able to run in no time.
Don’t compare your progress to someone else, we all do things in our own time. What works for one person may not work for you so stay focused on what is important to you and forget what someone else is doing.
Create a regular check in session for yourself and assess where you are at or get yourself an accountability buddy who can help you stay on track with your goals.
Poor sleep can impact memory and learning, increase your appetite and cause weight gain, impede our decision-making and problem-solving ability, decrease immune function, cause stress and anxiety and increase your risk of chronic disease.
Prioritising sleep and practicing good sleep hygiene can improve sleep onset and maintenance. Sleep hygiene includes having a consistent routine, staying off devices to avoid blue light 30 to 60 minutes before bed, making sure there is minimal light and noise pollution and avoiding taking naps.
Sleep can be improved through diet and exercise, getting a little sunshine each day and reducing stress.
This is often the most difficult thing for people to change as we get into unhealthy habits and often look
for quick easy meals which aren’t often nutritious. Today’s busy lifestyles have us reaching for convenience meals which are often highly processed and full of sugar.
Start with some simple swaps such as having brown rice instead of white, a herbal tea instead of a coffee, multigrain instead of white bread, pulse pastas instead of white pasta and unsalted nuts instead of salted.
Increase your water intake. If you are only drinking a glass or two aim to increase it slightly each day until you reach between 1.5 and 2 litres of water every day. More is required if you exercise a lot.
Aim for a diet that includes lots of vegetables and fruit, good quality protein, wholegrains, nuts and seeds and less processed foods.
On average we spend 4 hours every day sitting in front of the TV, computer or on our mobile phone. This increases if you have an office job. Regular exercise is important but first you want to focus on general movement.
Here’s a few ways to increase your movement:
· Park the car further away from the shop entrance
· Take the stairs instead of the elevator
· March on the spot while you take a phone call
· Get a smaller water bottle – you will need to walk to fill it up more often
· Do calf raises while brushing your teeth
· Do stretches in the morning and at night before bed
· Every hour get up, go for a short walk or stretch
Movement also helps improve sleep, reduce stress, strengthen your body and reduces some pain.
Focussing on these 5 things will help you improve your health overtime.
1. Mindset – know why you want to improve your help
2. Plan – have goals, break them down and have regular check ins
3. Sleep – improve your sleep quality
4. Diet – eat a varied diet and start with some simple swaps
5. Movement – not just about exercise, move whenever you can
If you need help improving your health and setting your health goals, I offer personalised treatment plans aimed at your overall health and achieving your goals. Book a free 15-minute discovery call today to see how I can help.