You don’t need to completely overhaul your diet and exercise to develop a healthier lifestyle, you can start by by making a few simple changes to your day-to-day routine. In fact, small, incremental changes can have more of an impact on your overall health than any one diet or workout plan. Building these habits up slowly over time will help you create a new lifestyle that you will be able to stick with long term. If you are motivated but unsure of where to begin, Dr. Iris Sherman, internal medicine physician, recommends starting with these three simple changes:
1. Prioritize Sleep
Developing a good sleep schedule is crucial to increasing your energy and can improve concentration, reduce stress, strengthen your heart and boost your immune system. Try to go to bed and wake up in the morning around the same time each day. Most people say that eight hours of sleep is ideal, but it is important to test and see what works best for you. Make note of whether you are productive and happy on the days after you get seven hours of sleep. If you aren’t, bump up your sleep schedule until you find that sweet spot where energized throughout your day.
2. Eat Healthy
Consuming a healthy diet gives you more energy and increases your productivity and mood. Aim to eat three healthy meals per day, and incorporate vegetables into every meal. The nutrients in vegetables can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, slow bone loss and maintain blood pressure control. It’s okay to have a healthy snack mid-morning and early afternoon (i.e. fruit or carrots). Also try to avoid buying junk food. If it’s in your house, you will end up eating it, especially if you are working from home. You can always make an appointment with a registered dietitian if you want to get started on a healthy eating plan.
3. Be More Active by Exercising Regularly
Increase your heart rate for at least 20 minutes per day. Getting your heart to beat faster trains your body to move more oxygen and blood to your muscles more efficiently, helps you burn more calories and lowers your cholesterol. All of this can help you stay healthy and lower your risk of cancer. Walking outside is always healthy as long as you are wearing a mask and staying away from crowded spaces. If you want to exercise in the comfort of your own home, there are many YouTube videos and exercise apps you can use.
If you’re still at home due to the pandemic and you want to get started on a healthier lifestyle, it’s always a good idea to speak to a physician. They can help you get started and make suggestions on how to best start a new fitness or eating plan.