The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The journey towards better health begins much the same way. Small steps and simple lifestyle changes can greatly improve immunity, boost energy levels and lower our risk of diseases. Read on to learn about some simple steps that can have a profound impact on your health.
Drink more water
Our bodies are composed of 60% water, so it should come as no surprise that we need water to function properly. Drinking water increases kidney function, decreases muscle fatigue, aids in digestion and promotes healthy, youthful-looking skin. Our water intake needs vary based on size, weight and activity level, but a good rule of thumb is to drink at least half an ounce for every pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, drink at least 70 ounces of water each day (Source: WebMD).
Spend less time sitting
Global studies estimate that the average individual sits anywhere from 7.7 hours to 15 hours per day, and this one unhealthy habit increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and premature death (Source: JustStand.org). Try to increase your standing time by alternating between sitting and standing at regular intervals throughout the day. Consider purchasing an adjustable height desk for your computer work, remember to take standing breaks when watching TV, and make exercise part of your daily routine.
Wear a pedometer
Increasing your daily activity and improving your health could be as simple as clipping a pedometer onto your belt loop. A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that participants who wore a pedometer and logged their steps daily increased their physical activity by 27 percent, shed unwanted pounds and lowered their blood pressure enough to decrease their risk for stroke and heart disease.
Lay off the hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer can be lifesaver in situations where soap is not available, but it should not be used as a regular substitute for soap and water. Alcohol-based sanitizer does not kill all types of germs, and over time it can dry out your hands and cause them to lose elasticity. Overuse of antimicrobials also contributes to the development of drug-resistant bacteria, so it’s best to use regular soap and water whenever possible (Source: Time).
Count calories, not meals
It seems like everyone has an opinion on how many meals to eat per day, but whether you’re a firm believer in breakfast, lunch and dinner or you like to eat small meals every few hours, the bottom line is calorie intake. The USDA recommends that a moderately active 35 year old female needs about 2,000 calories per day, while a moderately active 35 year old male needs about 2,600 calories per day (view the entire chart here). Regardless of how many meals you eat, make sure your daily caloric intake falls within the recommended guidelines.
Healthy lifestyle changes are easy, manageable and effective, and they can be worked into even the busiest schedules. Make a commitment today to adopt at least one habit that will put you one step closer to good health. Sometimes, a small change really can make a big difference!