I used to make big plans. I love making lists and I love doing research and the two of them often intersected as elaborate plans. Thing is, I’m great at making those big plans and horrible at following through on them. So, over the years, I’ve learned to scale back. That applies to my health too. My mantra is “baby steps”. These 5 Simple Ways to Live a Healthier Life Today are just that. You can EASILY implement them today. No special foods, no special materials, no huge changes to your life. You have everything you need with you right now. The instructions are to just do it. And once you’ve done it today, get up in the morning and do it all over again tomorrow. Rinse and repeat.
1. Get outside.
Even if only for 5-10 minutes, it can do you a world of good. Just that little burst of fresh air can perk me up and make me feel energetic enough to take on my day. In the summer, the dose of vitamin D from sunlight is a definite bonus too! Experts say that most of us in North America are vitamin D deficient and this has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Recommendations for how much vitamin D we need on a daily basis vary from about 200 to 800 IU with the need increasing as you get older. If you’re fair skinned, simply spending 10 minutes in the midday sun dressed in shorts and a tank top and without sunscreen can give you about 10,000 IU of vitamin D so it doesn’t take much!
2. Laugh a little.
Actually, if you can, laugh a lot. I can’t remember a day in my life without laughter. Yes, even on the worst of occasions, there was at least one moment of laughter. And based on some of the recent studies I’ve read, I think this may be the reason my heart was deemed “pristine” after some recent tests were done. It’s believed that laughter not only makes you feel good emotionally, but that it can stimulate circulation to the heart, lungs, and muscles. Laughter really can be the best medicine.
3. Keep a positive outlook.
I’m pretty sure this is another thing that has helped my health over the years. Research has shown that those with a positive outlook on life live an average of 7.5 years longer than pessimists. I’ve actually had friends say that I live in a unicorn world because I’m always looking on the bright side of things, and I suppose it’s true. No matter what happens, I always try to remain optimistic. Oh believe me, I may have stressful or down moments, but I don’t let them consume me. No sweating the small stuff is a great way to start!
4. Drink a glass of water.
I bet you thought I was going to tell you that you need to drink 8 glasses of water a day, right? Nope. First of all, water needs vary according to several factors and the “rule of 8 glasses” is a bit arbitrary. And if, like me, you’re not a huge fan of drinking water, 8 glasses can feel like an impossible goal. So, just drink one. In a week or so, maybe try to add in a second daily glass of water. Another trick is that every time you reach for some other beverage, make yourself drink half a glass of water first. Just remember, your body is about 60% water so it’s really important to stay properly hydrated. We can go weeks without food, but only days (or hours if it’s really hot out) without water.
5. Go for a walk.
Wait Cyn. You said you were going to keep this easy. Once again, I’m not imposing a steps goal (10,000 steps is NOT right for everyone and some steps are better than none). I’m asking you to try walking for just 5-10 minutes. You can walk on a treadmill, walk in place, walk up and down the halls of your home, or head outside. (Note: it’s so easy to multitask if you walk outside. You can take care of #1 and #5 all at the same time. I don’t recommend trying to do that with #2 and #4 though.) If you like company to chat with while you walk, there are lots of walking groups you can join. We even have a mall walking club locally so you can window shop while you get in your steps!
See? Easy peasy and no special equipment to buy. In fact, if you’re REALLY efficient, you can manage all 5 things on this list in under 15 minutes. Well, I mean, except for the positive outlook part. That should be an “all the time” kind of a thing. And if you’re like me, you’re going to laugh WAY more than once a day. Having trouble finding something to laugh about? Find the nearest small child. They know how to find the joy and laughter in almost anything!
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