Sometimes, it seems like living a healthy life has become way too complicated. Health “experts” bombard us with information all day, every day. They urge us to try the newest diet, the best exercise program, the most powerful supplements. Eventually, it just seems overwhelming. I’m a health information “junkie,” but sometimes even I give up trying to figure out which pieces of health advice I should follow and which ones I should ignore. Because too often, the advice on how to live healthier is just too hard to follow (This post contains Amazon affiliate links.)
But it really doesn’t have to be that way. Sometimes, simple is good. And when we’re already living stressful, complicated lives, sometimes simple health advice is the best advice. So if you want to feel better, look better and simply live healthier without feeling overwhelmed, here are 6 simple things you can do every day:
- Stand more. Have you heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking?” New research has shown that sitting too much is bad for our health, and that most of us spend way too much time sitting. So stand more. If you spend hours at a desk each day, make or buy a standing desk and alternate sitting and standing. (This is the one I use at work, which is pricey, but Tiffany at Eat at Home Cooks made this great standing desk for $17.) If you sit to do kitchen or household tasks, stand up instead. Stand at the back of the room at meetings or events. Be conscious of the time you spend sitting, and replace it with standing whenever possible.
- Walk more. You know how important exercise is for your physical and mental health, but many women find it difficult to exercise regularly. Fortunately, walking is great exercise – so make it a point to walk more each day. Walk while your kids are at soccer practice or piano lessons. Walk while visiting with a friend. Walk with a co-worker when you need to talk about a project. Walk with your husband after dinner to catch up on your days. Use a simple step counter or a fitness tracker (this is the one I use) and work up to about 10,000 steps per day. Your body was designed to move, so do it a favor and get up and walk throughout the day, every day.
- Sleep more. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, many women get far less. But sleep makes a tremendous difference in your health. It reduces your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, helps reduce anxiety and depression, promotes healthy skin, and boosts libido. Not to mention makes you feel like a new woman! So make it a priority to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. That might mean letting go of some things you do or reigning in your family’s schedule and activities. Or it might mean shutting off electronic devices earlier in the evening and taking some time to relax and unwind. Whatever it takes, decide that you and your health are worth a good night’s sleep, then make it happen.
- Drink more water. Water helps all of your body’s systems and processes function more efficiently. It also helps you feel less fatigued and more energized. But water advice tends to be complicated, so how do you know how much to drink? In general, the standard recommendation to drink 6 to 8 8-ounce glasses a day is a good place to start, because most people don’t drink nearly that much. (When you’re drinking enough water, your urine will be pale yellow.) So find a water bottle or glass you like, fill it several times a day, and drink up. If you don’t like plain water, make fruit waters. And take water with you everywhere you go, so aren’t tempted to grab a soda when you get thirsty.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. When it comes to health information, food advice is the “queen of complicated!” Sometimes it seems like the more you read about what to eat, the less you know about what to eat! It’s enough to make you want to give up and grab a Twinkie. But don’t do it. Instead, follow the one piece of food advice that almost everyone agrees on – fruits and vegetables benefit every aspect of your health, and almost everyone needs to eat more fruits and vegetables. And a simple way to do that is to eat two fruits or vegetables at every meal. Make a meal plan and grocery list for each week that includes two fruits and vegetables per meal, and take some time on the weekend to wash and prep them so they’re ready to grab and go or grab and cook on busy days.
- Make love more. Sex with your spouse can reduce stress – which is great for your health! It can also add some fun and laughter to your life and, in the long run, can strengthen your marriage and “smooth over” some of the rough spots of day-today life. So make space in your life for making love with your spouse regularly.
What are your favorite simple ways to look and feel better and make your life a little bit healthier? Please share them in the Comments – I would love to hear from you.