It’s no secret at this point that we need to work out, eat healthy and focus on wellness, both for ourselves and for our families. But, as easy as that is to say, it’s a lot harder to “do”. It’s easier to drive through a fast food line than to meal prep, and it’s easier to crash on the couch after a long day than to go for a walk.
Despite all of that, there are at least three simple ways that you can improve your health that costs nothing and just includes tiny changes to your daily routine.
Drink plenty of water.
Your body naturally dehydrates every night while you’re asleep. This is due to a number of reasons; such as the sodium from your dinner impacting your hydration during your rest period, avoiding liquids closer to bedtime to avoid getting up in the middle of the night, and even sleeping too long.
If you drink a full glass of water right when you wake up, it not only begins the rehydration process, but it jumpstarts your metabolism. Studies show that drinking water on an empty stomach can increase your metabolic rate by at least 24 percent!
Not to mention, drinking water throughout the day will:
- Help you control calories and avoid unnecessary snacking
- Energize your muscles by giving fluid to your muscles’ cells
- Improve your skin
- Help your kidneys transport waste in and out of cells
As a way to drink more water, consider these tips:
- Drink a glass of water with every snack and meal
- Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk or in your bag
- Choose sparkling or mineral water over soda (most store brands will sell sparkling water bottles for less than $1!)
Get more sleep
You’ve likely heard it time and time again that we should get 8 hours of sleep each night. While everyone is different, studies suggest that we at least need 7 hours of sleep to get the full benefits.
One of those benefits is improved memory. Your mind is actually very active when you’re asleep—think about all those dreams you have! When you sleep, your brain goes through a process called “consolidation”, which allows you to strengthen memories or practice skills learned while you’re awake. If you’re trying to learn a new skill, preparing for a big test at school or have an important meeting the next day, you will perform better after sleeping.
Studies also suggest that a benefit to more sleep is a longer life. Recently, a study was performed with women ages 50 to 79. In that study, it was found that more deaths occured in women who got less than five hours of sleep per night.
Finally, sleep can help you maintain a healthy weight. The University of Chicago recently found that people who were well rested lost more fat than those who were sleep deprived (they lost muscle mass). Individuals in the study also felt more hungry when they got less sleep.
Eat something green with every meal.
This one is a bit more tricky if you’re not a fan of vegetables, but there are ways to sneak greens into your meal!
Greens—which include collards, spinach, kale, and turnip and mustard greens—are rich in vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants and water (more water!). However, studies suggest that less than 30 percent of us are getting the recommended amount.
The good news is that many of those greens, when bought in bulk, are actually very affordable. Most can even be found at the farmer’s market or your neighborhood community garden! Sneak them into your meals by:
- Adding greens to your scrambled eggs. You won’t even notice finely chopped kale in your eggs!
- Double the greens in a recipe. Does the soup call for a handful of spinach? Add two!
- Eat a salad before every meal. It’ll also help you stretch your entree into leftovers because you’ll be more full!
Improve your health with small changes.
These three small changes to your day-to-day lifestyle can help drastically improve your health if done over time. Remember, no results are immediate when it comes to your health. Commit to the changes!
Always consult with your physician or healthcare provider before making large changes to your diet or exercise routine. If you have any questions, make an appointment with us or simply walk in for same-day care.