Some of us don’t think about health until we have health issues, and when health issues start cropping up, it might be too late. Once health is lost, it takes a great amount of effort to restore it. In some cases, it could even be impossible to restore. So, it is important for each one of us to systematically work towards our health. Does it mean that we should completely change our lifestyle and start living in a new way? If it can be done, it is fantastic, but for most people, sudden big changes are not sustainable. So, it is more helpful to take small steps to improve our health.
While it is common to set big goals, experts say that setting smaller goals can be more helpful for our health. “Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine,” says James O. Hill, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Centre. “Small goals are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change.”
So, what are the ten small steps you can start doing to improve your health?
Here are the 10 steps for your health
1. Check your weight regularly: Having a healthy weight is important for good health, and it’s easy to put on weight without even realizing it. It does not take any extra effort to put on weight for many of us. So, keep an eye on your weight and make sure you are not gaining extra kgs. Even if you gain just a kg or two every year, the extra weight adds up quickly. When you regularly monitor your weight, you know which direction you are heading, and you can take corrective measures before it’s too late. So, check your weight at least once a week.
2. Take more small steps. Count your daily steps using a pedometer; then add 2,000 steps, the equivalent of one extra mile. Keep adding steps, 1,000 to 1500 each month or so, until you take 10,000 steps on most days. Taking 10,000 steps per day improves your health, helps you in weight management, and results in better sleep quality. This also keeps your body active. You can take these steps during your break time, while doing your household chores and by using stairs instead of the escalator or lift.
3. Eat well-balanced meals. Many of us, in a hurry, tend to eat fast food or any food that satisfies our hunger. But having a meal, well balanced in carbohydrates, proteins and fats is important for a healthy body. So, plan your meal well and ensure that it is loaded with all kinds of nutrients required for the body.
4. Have at least one salad every day. Eating a salad is filling and may help you eat less during the meal. It also counts towards your five daily cups of vegetables and fruits. And when you eat your salad with mindfulness, it becomes one of the most beautiful experiences of your day. With mindfulness, you experience the colours, crunchiness, juiciness of the salad, and eating salad becomes a different experience altogether. So, enjoy eating a salad every day.
5. Keep track of your eating habits. Write down in a journal about what you eat over the next few days and look for problem areas. Just writing things down can help you in eating right. Most of the time, we think we are following the right eating habits, but the reality could be different. We miss taking note of those snacks we munched on while watching TV, or we miss the extra servings of food we had for lunch. When we track what we eat and write it down, we can see the patterns of our eating and correct them if needed.
6. Ensure your vitamin levels are healthy. It is common in current times to be deficient of Vitamin B12 or Vitamin D. These vitamin deficiencies lead to lethargy, weakness, loss of zest for life. So, get your vitamin tests done regularly and make sure that your vitamin levels are healthy. Expose yourself to morning Sunlight. Add vitamin-rich foods to your diet and also take vitamin supplements if needed.
7. Have small weight-loss goals: If you are overweight, lose just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. The health benefits are many such as lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Your body starts feeling light and more active. So, start your weight loss journey with a small goal.
8. Drink water: Make it a point to drink water when you wake up in the morning. When we sleep, we lose 1 liter of water. So, hydrating yourself after you wake up is important for the healthy functioning of your body. Also, keep drinking water throughout the day. Our body is 70% water, and its important to keep ourselves hydrated.
9. Spend time outdoors: Make it a point to spend time outdoors at least 5 to 10 minutes in a day and breathe fresh air. In modern times, we are spending most of the time in closed doors, and we are rarely exposed to fresh air and Sunlight. So, prioritise to spend some time every day outdoors and, during this time, breathe deep. This refreshes you, improves your productivity and de-stresses you.
10. Be in touch with like-minded friends: Staying in touch with your friends who are also working towards health is a great way to be motivated about health. Sometimes, we get carried away by the demands of life and stop working for our health. When we are in touch with our like-minded friends who are passionate about health, we get to learn new ideas and become motivated. So, keep in touch with these friends or join communities that are focused on health.
These are the ten small steps to improve your health. Do not underestimate the results of these small steps. When you do these steps consistently, you will see your health improving, and you will be inspired to do more. Nothing can motivate you like your small successes. So, start your journey of health with these small steps.
Wish you and your family good health.