Healthy living is an admirable goal no matter what time of year. The problem is that many people shoot for the stars, resolving to lose a big amount of weight or completely give up foods they adore. A better approach is to make small changes that together can make a big impact.
"People who make smart yet simple lifestyle changes will find it's easier to succeed," says Dr. Margot Savoy, a practicing family physician in Wilmington, Delaware. "It's about all the small victories that add up to winning the war. If you want to feel your best and make changes that will last, think small for big results."
Healthy habits take mere minutes a day to complete, but over time can overhaul your health and wellness. What's more, she notes that when you do these easy activities for two or three months, they become automatic.
Dr. Savoy suggests five simple steps for healthier living in 2017 that take 10 minutes or less to complete.
Stomach pains? Sore knees? Not sure if it's the cold or the flu? Being healthy means staying informed. When you need more information about your health, visit a reputable website such as familydoctor.org to learn more with a few clicks of the mouse.
Developed by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the website features easy-to-understand information geared toward the patient. Plus, all information is reviewed by a panel of board certified family physicians, so you can trust the content is updated and accurate.
Eating well is all about balance, and while many Americans are striving to eat healthier at mealtime, it's snacks that are sabotaging their diets. When hunger pangs strike, instead of junk, reach for nutrient-rich foods instead.
One of the best ways to do this is to select one drawer in the refrigerator and dedicate it to foods for healthy snacking. Stock it with fruit, veggies, whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese and nuts. Spend 10 minutes each Sunday cutting vegetables and portioning out nuts and other snacks, and all week long you and your family can easily reach for healthier munchies.
Move and groove
You don't need a fancy gym membership to get fit. Just block off 10-minute increments each day to work out and you'll start to feel the difference. Try walking, biking or doing sets of squats, crunches and jumping jacks. Within minutes you'll raise your heart rate and work those muscles.
If you have kids, join in the fun with them and you'll be surprised just how quickly you get in a quick workout. A game of tag, for example, is a great running exercise. Plus it's a wonderful way to bond with your family. Bonus: Your kids are learning to exercise through play. Not sure how to get started? Familydoctor.org has you covered.
Everyone knows soda is unhealthy, but for other drinks it's not so obvious. Many fruit juices and sports drinks are packed with sugar and calories. Hydration is important, so drink as much water as possible to boost your health.
Staying properly hydrated is essential to healthy living, and because the body is approximately half made of water, there's no better drink than good old H2O. If that is too bland, add some healthy flavor with cut fruit, such as oranges, apples, kiwi or strawberries.
The sun gives off rays of light that are helpful and harmful. Some sun exposure is good because it helps the body create vitamin D, which absorbs calcium. Too much sun exposure, though, can lead to skin changes, a lowered immune system and cancer.
It takes just a minute to slather on sunscreen to block harmful rays even in the winter months. Focus on the face which is exposed all year long, and during warm months or while vacationing, make sure to use sunscreen on the entire body, reapplying regularly. What's more, teach children to do the same to create healthy habits that will last a lifetime.