Changing a habit can be difficult, especially one that’s been around for years or decades. As we grow older it’s often easy to tell ourselves it’s too late to change our ways. But the truth is, it’s never too late to make new choices to benefit your health! Even small changes can have big impact on your health and well-being. Though challenging at times, lifestyle changes are not impossible, especially if they are small and manageable. Read on for ideas on how to start living a healthier life, no matter your age.
Maybe it’s been a while since you got some exercise, or maybe you’ve never exercised a day in your life. In any case, adding some extra movement to your daily routine can have a host of benefits, from reducing stiffness, increasing strength, and helping maintain independence. Consider starting with a short walk a few times a week. Tai chi, a gentle form of exercise, is ideal for starting a new routine, and is known to reduce stress, blood pressure, and bone loss. Strength exercises, such as simply lifting groceries or doing a few push-ups against a wall, are excellent for maintaining a healthy metabolism and bone density.
However you choose to get moving, it’s important to remember to start light and gradual. Consistency is more important than intensity. And before starting any exercise routine, remember to get your doctor’s approval.
A dreaded word for many! But it doesn’t have to be. Most people have an aversion to “dieting” because there is a focus on what you must go without. Rather than thinking about all the foods you shouldn’t be eating, think instead about what you can add, along with the healthy benefits of that food. For example, when craving sweets, go for your favorite fruit or smoothie instead, and focus on the antioxidant boost you’re giving your body. Choose tea or 100% juice instead of soda, and be reminded that you’re helping cleanse and hydrate your body instead of stressing your system with added sugar. As with exercise, you’ll need to talk with your doctor about any changes you want to make in your diet, especially if you have diabetes, allergies, or any other condition that might necessitate restricting certain foods.
Perhaps the most important aspect of our health is maintaining a positive outlook. This can sometimes be difficult when dealing with life’s challenges, such as illness or a chronic health condition. Through any circumstance, the key to staying positive is gratitude. Experts agree that maintaining an attitude of thankfulness not only increases mental and emotional well-being, but physical well-being as well. Essentially, gratitude improves our lives from the inside out. There is no denying that hard times come, and choosing to be grateful doesn’t mean ignoring the difficulties, but instead proactively looking for the good in the situation to help balance out the bad.
An easy way to start a habit of gratitude is to keep a daily journal. Make it a goal each day to list five to ten things you’re thankful for. Doing this practice with a friend or loved one makes it even more uplifting, and requires no doctor’s approval!
It’s never too late to improve your health. Not only can healthy changes help prevent disease, but even individuals already suffering from chronic conditions, such as heart disease, osteoporosis, or depression, are likely to see improvement or be treated more easily when such changes are made. Remember, changes don’t have to be drastic to cause positive effects. Start small, increase gradually, and soon enough you’ll reap the benefits.