There’s no doubt about it, taking charge of your health and wellness can seem daunting and overwhelming, especially if it has been a while since you focused on this part of your life. There are lots of reasons why you might want to start changing your lifestyle for the better; keeping healthy is usually a main one.
It might be to avoid illness, to look younger, or to live longer and with a better quality of life. Maybe you want to lose weight, or simply be that little bit healthier and happier. Possibly you’ve started, or are thinking of starting, a family and so you want to get yourself in better shape physically and mentally.
No matter what your reasons, regular physical exercise, healthy nutrition and a positive approach to life can have profound impacts on how you feel and take on your daily tasks. All it takes are some small adjustments to experience major changes in your energy levels and mental attitude.
Is it time to start “crowding out?”
One approach that you can take to improving your overall wellness is through “crowding out”. This is a great way to approach change, because you don’t need to deprive or restrict yourself. Instead, find ways of adding in positive things to your life so that you have less time for the not-so-healthy stuff.
For example, instead of trying to give up your favorite junk food, make the promise to yourself to eat more vegetables every day. Reward yourself with the junk but only after you have eaten a healthy plate first. Your never know, you might find the junk less appealing after filling your belly with food that is nutritious!
Sneaking in ways to move your body every day is also key to keeping healthy. Exercise gets your body moving, your blood circulating and your energy in motion. It makes you feel good when there are endorphins flowing through your body.
The great news is you don’t need to go to the gym and spend hours working out to still get your body moving enough to make an impact. You can add movement throughout the day in small portions of time that all add up by the time you go to sleep at night.
Multi-tasking means that you can still enjoy your favorite TV shows and socialize while you also exercise. Why not watch a program while walking the treadmill or using an exercise bike, or take a walk outside and talk on your phone while you are strolling instead of sitting on your sofa.
Wear a pedometer or fitness tracker as a way to stay motivated and to find ways to get your daily step count up. You will be surprised by how much your step count goes up each day just by doing simple changes such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, pacing around while thinking or on the phone, or walking to the next bus or tube stop instead of the nearest one.
Make this even more powerful by getting a friend to also track their steps so you can compete with one another or, if one of you is (or both) struggling, motivate and encourage each other. Now get creative in finding ways to add steps as often as you can throughout the day.
Turn the “everyday routines” into movements that matter
One way to be less sedentary in the workplace, for example, is to find ways to get up from your desk as often as you can. Don’t send an email or make a call to your colleague in the next cubicle or down the corridor. Instead, get off your chair and walk over to talk to them. Those extra steps will really add up by the end of the day once you’ve done it a few times. Likewise, for your mid-morning coffee or lunch-break, go to the deli a block or two away, instead of the one just round the corner from work.
You can also turn your household chores into ways of moving your body. Even mowing the lawn, washing the car, vacuuming the carpet, mopping the floor, and doing your weekly grocery shopping all provide you with ways to walk, work your arm and leg muscles and to strengthen your core. Especially if you do so with extra gusto than you would normally. And don’t forget about playing with your family, relatives or kids – that really helps burn some calories!
If you can, always walk or ride your bike to places you need to go rather than taking your car as another way to get the heart pumping without having to do a typical workout. If you do need to take your car, park it as far as you can away from the store entrance and see your daily step count soar. You can also get off the bus or train a stop early and walk the extra distance when taking public transport.
Wellness lifestyle: small steps, big rewards
By taking small, simple steps (no pun intended!) towards making positive changes, you will find it motivates you to make the bigger changes you need to have a true wellness lifestyle. As you start to move your body more, you will start to feel better all over. This will encourage you to want to get off the couch and to get out more often as you embrace the freedom of healthy living. You will find that you want to work less (well, more productively so you can finish earlier!) and socialize more as you approach life in a new, positive and healthy way.
The more active you become through movement, the more you will also be encouraged to look after other aspects of your life too. You will feel motivated to eat better, sleep more, drink less coffee and alcohol, and to nourish healthy relationships in your life as your overall wellness starts to improve.
Small changes encourage healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Improving your quality of life by taking control of your wellness will help to prevent illness and encourage peak performance in your body and mind. Getting healthy, becoming fitter and looking younger can be fun, exciting and rewarding, and is a state of being that doesn’t have to be a struggle to obtain.