This week, we’re talking about taking small steps that can lead to big changes in our peace of mind, health, and marriages. We started off with Small Steps, Big Changes – Living Calmer, Healthier and Sexier in 2014, which introduced the idea of making one positive change at a time in order to create a calm, healthy and sexy life this year. Today, I’m sharing some ideas for living healthier. If you’ve decided to focus this year on doing something positive for your health, here are some ideas you might want to consider for your first step:
- Eat more real food – If you want to eat healthier this year, eating more real food is a great place to begin. Christina at Juggling Real Food and Real Life is offering a step-by-step plan throughout January that will help you do just that.
- East less processed and fast food – If your family eats a lot of fast food, processed food and/or restaurant meals, you can improve everyone’s health simply by eating fewer of those foods. Create a “first step” plan that gradually reduces fast and processed foods and replaces them with healthier foods.
- Sleep 7-8 hours most nights. Adequate sleep boosts almost every aspect of your health, including your immune system, metabolism, weight and stress level. If you don’t get enough sleep (and most women don’t), finding a way to sleep 7-8 hours a night may be the best first step you can take this year.
- Focus on your own healthcare. Women frequently take care of their family members’ health, but neglect their own. If you’ve been putting off a visit to the doctor, mammogram, pap test, blood test or any other preventive health service(s) you need, consider taking care of your health by scheduling it (and following up if needed) as your first step toward living healthier this year.
- Start exercising – Regular exercise may be the best thing you can do to improve your health and peace of mind – and boost your libido! If you want to begin the year by establishing an exercise routine, here are some ideas to help you get started – Move Your Body Every Day and 10 Tips for Adding Exercise to a Busy Life.
- Add a specific type of exercise – Maybe you’re exercising regularly, but are limiting yourself to one type of exercise. That’s my problem – I get plenty of aerobic exercise from brisk walking, but no strength training or flexibility exercise. So my first step this year is to add strength training to my routine 3 days a week. That’s the only change I’m going to focus on until it becomes a normal part of my schedule.
- Spend less time sitting – Isn’t this the same as “start exercising?” Not exactly. Most people are entirely too sedentary – they spend most of every day either sitting or lying down. Even people who exercise regularly can be too sedentary. So in addition to planned exercise, most people need to spend more time standing and moving. If you decide to sit less and move more as your first step to living healthier this year, here are some tips to help you get started.
- Spend more time outside – Simply getting outside more often can reduce many things that contribute to health problems – sitting, lack of sun exposure (especially in the winter), lack of fresh air, and “cabin fever.” The simple strategy of getting outside for 30 minutes or an hour almost every day may be one of the best steps you can take for your health.
- Lose weight – If your weight has been bothering you for a while, or you know it’s affecting your health, you may want to focus on losing weight as your primary health step for the year. It’s not easy; you may need to adjust your schedule and commitments to make time to do it. Here’s some information that may help you get started – Maintain a Healthy Body Weight and 10 Tips for Losing 10 Pounds.
- Get to the root of an annoying health problem – Is something about your health worrying you, annoying you or sapping your energy? Lots of things fall into that category, including chronic headaches, weird digestive problems, fatigue, sleep problems and back pain. The first step, of course, is to see your doctor and make sure it’s not a symptom of a more serious medical problem. But you know what? Doctors sometimes don’t have the answer to those annoying problems. Doctors couldn’t explain our youngest son’s digestive issues several years ago. We had to figure out by trial and error, and doing our own research, that the symptoms disappear if he stops consuming lactose and takes probiotic supplements. My friend Christina underwent surgery that did not solve her digestive problems; the problems weren’t solved until she transformed her family’s diet. The same is often true of other “nagging” health problems. If you’re plagued by one of these problems, consider focusing your “first step” energy on figuring out and resolving it.
Of course, these are just examples – you may want to pursue an entirely different health issue or take a different approach to improving your health this year. Whatever you decide to do, consider taking a “one step at a time” approach that builds one small success upon another, which is the least “painful” way to make significant strides toward healthier living.
Are you taking steps to improve your health this year? Please share what you plan to do in the Comments – I would love to hear from you. Gaye
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- 6 Solutions for the Chronically Busy – by Courtney at Be More With Less – great tips for those who want to stop being too busy all the time
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