10 Ways to Become a Healthier YOU

Are you looking to live a healthier lifestyle? Getting started can be easier than you think!  We’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to improve your overall health. 

Trying to accomplish this checklist all at once can lead to failure and be very discouraging.  Successfully implementing just one lifestyle change and reaping the rewards makes us feel good and even more motivated to tackle the next goal.  This is not a sprint.  This is a journey.  

Pick one item from this list and attack it! Once you feel you have a firm grip on that healthy tip, move onto the next one while keeping the first one a regular part of your routine. One step in the right direction puts you on the path to a healthier lifestyle.

When you make your choice, set a plan and begin with it today! We know you can do it. You’ve got this!  

1. Eat a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains2021-03-19T13:48:55+00:00

Eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables is not a new player in the healthy lifestyle game, but it is one of the best ways to start living a healthier lifestyle.  The food we eat is important for many reasons – from the energy it gives us to go about our day to the vital nutrients we need to keep our body functioning properly.  Choose to add fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables and be sure to eat a variety of colors!  Think green leafy lettuce, orange sweet potatoes, blue blueberries to give your body the variety and nutrients it needs to function properly.  As Rachael Ray has been known to say “Eat the rainbow!”

Don’t forget to add whole grains.  Not all grains are created equal.  Look for whole grains that are minimally processed.  Look for organic breads that have whole grains as the first ingredient listed.

Need some inspiration to get you started? Check out this list of 10 Simple Recipe Ideas for a Whole Food Diet

2. Exercise Daily2021-03-19T14:36:07+00:00

The American Heart Association recommends that adults aged 18 years and older get 150 minutes of exercise each week. The AHA recommends that children aged 6-17 years get 60 minutes of exercise per day. 

Whether you like to walk, bike, run, swim,  jump rope, or even mountain climb, the important part is that you get the level of your heart rate up! 

Moderate-intensity activities such as walking or biking should get your heart rate up, have you breathing heavier, but still allow you to talk.  Vigorous-intensity activities such as running and swimming laps will require more effort.  Your body will sweat and you will have difficulty talking without running out of breath. 

Need some inspiration for adding more exercise to your daily life?  We cover some great Home Workout Ideas in this recent blog.

3. Aim for 7-8 Hours of Sleep Each Night2021-03-19T13:50:42+00:00

I’m talking to you, late-night owls!  It’s important for our body to establish a nighttime routine.  Ditch the screen 30 minutes before bed.  Make sure your sleep space is comfortable and relaxing, and plan to get into bed around the same time every night.  Trust me, you will wake up feeling much more energized and ready to tackle your day! 

Try these tips provided by the Mayo Clinic: Sleep Tips: 6 Steps to Better Sleep.

If you’re currently recovering from an injury or experiencing pain, try these 5 Tips for Improving Quality of Sleep Even When You’re in Pain.

4. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary and high-fat beverages2021-03-19T13:51:06+00:00

Water helps your body keep a normal body temperature, lubricate and cushion your joints, protect your spinal cord, and get rid of the waste your body doesn’t need.  

Sugary/high-fat beverages such as soda, sports drinks, and most likely your favorite coffee beverage at your daily morning stop have large amounts of sugar and calories with little to no nutritional value.  Be careful of drinks that are advertised as “no sugar” or “diet”.  These often contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharin.  If you want to add a boost to your water, try adding a wedge of lemon or lime.  It is the perfect and smart way to add some flavor! 

Use these tips from the CDC to add more water to your routine:  Tips to Drink More Water

5. Do something that you love everyday2021-03-19T13:51:49+00:00

Figure out what excites you and do it!  Listening to music, reading a book, cooking a meal with your significant other, or tackling the weeds in your prestigious garden may bring that added joy to your life you need each and every day.  Make time for the things in your life that are meaningful to you.  You will be a happier person for it.

“Happiness is not something ready-made.  It comes from your own actions.” -Dalai Lama 

If you happen to love Gardening, check out 8 Tips to Garden Safely This Spring

6. Set up regular appointments with your Primary Care Provider2021-03-19T13:48:22+00:00

Primary care providers have a vast knowledge of many medical ailments, and when needed, can point you in the direction of a specialist who will evaluate your condition with more precision and insight.  Establishing a relationship with your PCP will help them understand you better as an individual and assist you in reaching and maintaining your healthcare goals. 

For further insight on why the Patient and PCP relationship is so important to your health, read this article from Harvard Medical School, Why Do You Need a Primary Care Physician?

7. Surround yourself with people who are rooting for you2021-03-19T14:36:29+00:00

You’ve heard the saying, “keep good company!” There is a reason that saying has stuck around for so long. The people you spend the most time with can highly influence how you spend your days.  It is also said that we are the sum of the 5 people that we spend the most time with. Choose wisely and be sure that those you are surrounding yourself with are supporting you in becoming the best version of yourself.

Find your tribe.  Align yourself with others who are looking to set goals, continuously improve, and most of all, support you on your journey. 

“Surround yourself with people that push you to do and be better. No drama or negativity. Just higher goals and higher motivation. Good times and positive energy. No jealousy or hate. Simply bringing out the absolute best in each other.” – Anonymous. 

8. Limit long periods of sitting2021-03-19T14:02:59+00:00

This can be hard for so many while working from home.  It’s easy to get distracted while working on the computer answering emails, finishing up a big project, or no doubt, being on your 5th virtual meeting of the day.  Sitting for long periods can increase your risk of chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. 

Many activity trackers and other wearable technology have the built-in capability to remind when it’s time to stand, move around and even breathe a little deeper. If you use a similar device, take advantage of those features! If you aren’t currently using wearable technology, try setting timers to alert you when to stand or alternate sitting and standing every other hour.  Get creative with items around your house (a cardboard box from your latest Amazon purchase) that can be stacked on your desk and create a platform where you can stand and work at your computer.  You could even try doing calf raises, lunges, or squats as you stand to keep your muscles agile. 

Learn more about the risks of prolonged sitting:  The Dangers of Sitting: Why Sitting is the New Smoking

9. Educate yourself about your body2021-03-19T14:07:47+00:00

Understanding your body and how it works is key to recognizing what it actually needs to perform!  If you haven’t read Bill Bryson’s book, “The Body: A Guide for Occupants”, do yourself a favor and grab a copy.  This is not a page-turner you will binge read in one sitting like you would a leisurely fictional novel, but it does contain fascinating details about your body and the importance of taking care of it.  This book explores the journey of medical history and how far we have come in our knowledge and understanding of how our bodies work. 

We also examine reasons that educating yourself about your body can be beneficial to both you and your Primary Care Provider in a recent blog, “Web Search Your Symptoms: Do or Don’t?”

10. Plan for your success2021-03-19T14:24:47+00:00

Planning is essential!  How you prepare for your goals can be the determining factor in whether or not you follow through to achieving them.

If you want to make better food choices, spend some time over the weekend grocery shopping and preparing your fruits and veggies so they are ready to go for the week.  Meal plan so you know what you are going to make each night and have the ingredients on hand. 

The more you can limit your excuses the more you can execute those goals.  Another helpful tool to stay on track is to write daily in a journal where you can express your success, but also when you stray off the path.  You’ll be able to look back and see what roadblocks you encountered and be ready for them when they strike in the future.  

Need help setting goals? We covered setting S.M.A.R.T. Wellness Goals in our March 2021 Email Newsletter. If you missed it, check it out now and you’ll be on your way to A Healthier You in no-time!

Keep Reading…

10 Ways to Become a Healthier YOU

Are you looking to live a healthier lifestyle? Getting started can be easier than you think!  We've compiled a list of 10 ways to improve your overall health.  Trying [...]

By |2021-03-19T15:02:36+00:00March 19th, 2021|Healthy Living|Comments Off on 10 Ways to Become a Healthier YOU

About the Author:

Ashley Gardner
Ashley Gardner is currently a Patient Care Coordinator within our Provider Relations Department. Ashley is passionate about spreading the message of who we are at Onondaga PT, helping to coordinate between our team and your referring physician to provide the best care experience possible, and educating the community about PT through our social platforms.
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