Although maintaining a healthy diet and moderate exercise is always recommended, not every effort to improve your health needs to involve a new gym membership or nutrition overhaul. Sometimes, improvements to our health take a back seat because the changes seem daunting and we give up before starting.
The words “lifestyle change” can apply to a myriad of actions and don’t always involve someone who is just starting to exercise suddenly climbing up a mountain. This is good news because even simple changes to your daily routine can make a big impact on long-term health goals.
PGOMG understands that of course we all want to improve our health, but we’re not always looking to do a complete 180. Our providers have offered seven things women can do to improve their health starting today.
- Set goals for hydration – Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to keep your body performing at its best and prevent muscle pain. Set goals for drinking a certain amount of water by designating times throughout the day to drink water. It’s a simple way to ensure that you won’t forget to drink water or consistently substitute it with another beverage like coffee or soda.
- Aim for (at least) one additional hour of sleep – We understand that everyone’s schedules and daily responsibilities differ, so while one person can easily obtain eight hours of sleep, that same eight hours can seem unobtainable to someone else. Six hours or less of sleep per night can weaken your immune system, negatively impact concentration and work performance, and damage long-term health.
- Switch out one unhealthy snack for a vegetable or fruit – A total diet overhaul can be too unrealistic for some, so switching out one snack per day with a piece or fruit or vegetable is a small step that can drastically reduce the amount of sugar, processed foods, fat and salt you eat. The benefit of this step is that one piece or fruit or a vegetable per day is very easy to implement into a lunch or afternoon snack routine.
- Get some fresh air – Even a 20 to 30-minute walk during your lunch break or after dinner can loosen your muscles, improve circulation and burn some calories. You’re always welcome to alternate between a light jog and walk, but sticking with a walk for as long as you’re able is still better than another half hour spent at your desk or on the couch.
- End screen time 30 minutes before bedtime – Phones, tablets and televisions get us engaged and our minds running at a time when we’re supposed to be mentally and physically winding down. Watching television or scrolling through different newsfeeds keeps your mind active, whereas activities like reading or listening to music or a podcast can ease the transition between an active mind and one that is ready to peacefully fall asleep.
- Take a day and schedule your medical appointments – One of the more difficult parts about checking in with your physical and mental health is taking time away from school or work responsibilities. Sometimes, the quickest way to manage these outstanding appointments is to pick one day a few weeks away and see if you can schedule physicals, annual well-woman exams, dental appointments and other important check-ups in one or two days.
- Organize and update your medical information – One of the easier ways to make sick days less stressful is to prep while you’re healthy. Being too sick to attend work or school, but needing to find a doctor in your area that accepts your insurance can be difficult and take time. Sorting out your insurance and medical needs while you feel fine is a great way to ensure that times of illness are as easy as they can be so you can focus on recovery.