Tips for Adopting a Healthier Lifestyle

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Adopting a healthier lifestyle isn't always the result of big accomplishments and major changes. Often it’s the small, permanent adjustments you make that will have the most impact on your health.

Take several 5-minute brain breaks daily.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, taking a short 5-minute breaks throughout your workday can increase concentration and alertness, reduce stress, and is linked to a lower body mass index (BMI). Stand up and stretch. Perform some deep breathing exercises, or go for a short walk around the building.

Choose one daily habit that you can make healthier.
You likely have something you do every day as part of your normal routine. Maybe you stop by the coffee shop every morning before work, or perhaps you must sit down and watch your favorite television show every night. Take a look at your habits and identify what you could do to make them healthier. Maybe you can order your favorite coffee with less syrup or reduce the amount of cream you add to each cup. Do some crunches or push-ups during the commercial breaks while watching TV. Soon your days will be filled with healthier habits that can help you reach your fitness goals.

Do at least one physical activity each week that isn't part of your workout.
Increasing activity throughout your day is as important as your regular workouts. Research shows that sitting for long periods of time, even if you exercise, is linked to an early death from causes like heart disease and cancers. Identify ways to add more movement outside of your regular workouts. Start by adding one new thing each week. Bike or walk to work or to complete nearby errands. Meet friends for a hike on the weekend. Take a break during the work day to walk up and down a few flights of stairs at the office.

Make one new healthy recipe each week.
It is easy to get into a rut, eating the same healthy foods day in and day out. This sets you up for disinterest in your food and cravings for less healthy options. By regularly introducing a new food or recipe into your meal plan, you can keep things exciting. You’ll discover new ways to prepare healthy foods. Find some recipes you would like to try and make at least one new one each week.

Record your accomplishments every month.
As you strive to reach larger goals, you might not fully recognize the small changes that took place to get you there. Devote a notepad or journal to your accomplishments. At the end of each month, or throughout the month, write down everything you accomplished. Include everything from eating an extra serving of vegetables to doing a full set of lunges without a break. When you start to feel discouraged, look back at these lists. They are proof of how far you've come and serve as motivation to stick with it.

Set a new fitness goal every 3 to 6 months.
Don’t lose sight of your goals. They are important for keeping you motivated and improving your fitness. Pick a new goal every 3 to 6 months to keep your workouts interesting. Sign up for a triathlon, learn how to kayak, or learn a martial art. Use your goals to step out of your exercise comfort zone and try something new. By regularly incorporating new goals, you will adjust your workouts to achieve them, preventing exercise boredom.