Making changes to improve your health doesn't have to (and shouldn't) mean taking on an expensive gym membership, complete diet overhaul & restriction and no social engagements to stop you 'falling off' the wagon.
Making small, simple changes that are sustainable are what really matters in the long term - no matter what your goals are.
1. Water Intake
The easiest change anyone can make is to increase their water consumption. Most of us do not fully hydrate our body on a regular basis which can contribute to all kinds of problems.
Your body requires water to complete almost all internal processes including fat loss and muscle gain, so getting those litres in is very important.
Although you need water, try to have consumed your requirement no later than 2 hours before you head to sleep to reduce the chance of having to get up in the night and disrupt sleep.
TIP: Carry a 1 litre bottle around with you and aim to empty it a minimum of two times during the day.
2. Increase General Movement (NEAT)
Another very simple and free thing you can do today to start improving your health is to simply increase your general movement throughout the day - this is known as your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis).
Any kind of movement of the body requires energy to perform it, so moving more during the day will increase your energy output.
Ideas to increase NEAT:
- Take the stairs over using an elevator or escalator
- Carry the grocery shopping in to your kitchen yourself
- Clean the house
- Play with dogs or children more
- Go for a walk on your lunch break or after work
- Instead of catching up with friends over a coffee in Starbucks get the coffee to-go and head on for a walk
- Fidget - moving your legs around whilst seated burns calories!
TIP: Set a movement alert on fit watches or start tracking your steps on your phone to encourage you to hit little goals
3. Include 2 Different Colours a Day
Making small adjustments gradually to your diet will add up to big changes over time - and making them gradually means you're more likely to stick with them!
Different colour fruit and veg gives you different micronutrients which are helpful in different ways to the body. For example, red fruits and veggies such as tomatoes and strawberries are linked to heart health and reducing the chance of high cholesterol, while orange & yellow foods such as sweet potatoes, apricots and mangos are linked to protecting your nervous system, immune system and eye health.
Ideally you want to be including around 5 different colours of fruit and veg per day to ensure you are getting a wide variety of nutrients, however starting with just 2 is an easy habit to get into and can be built upon over time.
TIP: In general, you can measure one serving of a fruit or veg as being 1/2 to 1 cup depending on what it is - a quick google will tell you!
Starting with these 3 basic tips you can make great steps towards improving your overall health and reaching any goals you have set no matter what your current situation is.
Once you have the basics mastered it's much easier to keep progressing with further small changes.