Sometimes when I think about what it takes to “get healthy” I am overwhelmed by the emphasis on all the big life changes to my diet, to my exercise regime, and to my stress levels.
I’ve realized, however, that getting healthy does not require a paradigmatic shift in my approach to life; it only requires a few simple modifications to my daily routines.
In celebration of Healthy Heart month, I’ve put together my top 5 tips for easily integrating exercise, healthy eating, and stress reducing activities into my everyday life.
1. Walk Wherever Possible- I’ll use any excuse to get outside, get some fresh air, and stretch my legs a little. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, suggest walking to the coffee shop at your break with a colleague, and arrange to have your appointments close by but out of the office, get off the bus a stop earlier than usual. I always try to invite a colleague or a friend to join me.
2. Have Healthy Snacks on Hand- To avoid eating junk food on the go, every Sunday I prepare veggie snack packs for the week so I always have something healthy to munch on at work and at home. I also try to keep some dried fruit and nut mixtures around as well for when I am craving more protein.
3. Take A Conscious Break- If you are like me, then you will work hard until the job is done. However, time and time again, research is showing that we work most effectively if we take breaks. This also helps reduce stress and increases circulation. For this reason, I have started putting breaks on the old to-do list.
Drink some water, talk to a friend, walk down to the store or post office, or take some time to breathe. It’s amazing how much more productive and relaxed you can be by taking a conscious break.
4. Bring a Buddy on Board- A healthy (proverbial) heart loves company. Be it your friend, family member, colleague, or dog, exercising and eating healthy food with someone else is always more fun and motivating.
Recently my colleague and I started to have “walking meetings,” where we discuss our business while we walk. It’s amazing how much easier it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle when those closest to you are in the same boat.
5. Balance Is The Key- Sometimes when we think that getting healthy requires us to cut out all food and activities that are bad for us. I think that depriving yourself from the food and activities that you love will lead to more cravings, increased stress levels, and may disenchant you from making healthy choices.
I say give yourself a break sometimes, allow yourself to indulge in the things you love most, just remember that balance is the key.