Sun | Apr 23, 2017

Take small steps to better health

Published:Wednesday | March 11, 2015 | 3:02 AM

Staying healthy doesn't have to mean a total overhaul of your lifestyle or drastically changing the way you do things. Sometimes small changes can have big impacts. It is always best to start gradually, small steps at a time, and work those changes into a lifestyle habit.

If you make drastic, uncomfortable changes towards a more healthy lifestyle, then you're only making it harder for yourself to maintain it. Starting one step at a time will allow you to comfortably work these changes into an everyday, normal way of life.

As celebrity fitness trainer, Latreal 'La' Mitchell, puts it, "Everyone can reach their health and fitness goals. It's all about setting attainable goals and staying motivated to see results."

To look, feel and live better, Mitchell is offering tips for small lifestyle changes you can make that can inspire you to make others in the future.

 

GET MOVING

 

If exercise is not a part of your life now, don't worry. "In a short time, you can be doing quality exercises," said Mitchell. "The key is to start small."

Walking is the first and easier step in the goal to lead a more active lifestyle. It doesn't take any great effort to work some walking into your regular routine. Start by walking to and from places you have to go that are nearby. Add some recreational walking in your neighbourhood for 20 minutes to half-an-hour a few days a week until you gradually work your way to doing more.

Try short sets of push-ups, planks, squats, and lunges, and work your way up. Ten minutes can make a real difference.

Remember, little things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator will keep you feeling great all day.

These simple steps will go a long way to improve circulation, strengthen the heart, lungs and overall muscles and bone structure.

Just be sure to make exercise non-negotiable. Life is busy and it's easy to find any number of reasons to skip a workout.

Make yourself a fitness schedule and stick to it, at whatever time of day suits you best - and then don't let anyone or anything stop you from staying on track.

 

EAT RIGHT

 

The small goal of adding more fibre to your diet can lead you to better nutrition choices. Aim to get 25 to 38 grams of fibre every day.

In addition to upping your fruit and vegetable intake and swapping out processed white bread and pasta for the whole wheat variety, fibre supplements can help you meet your fibre goals. But choose wisely, as some options have additional benefits beyond supporting digestive health.

 

decrease your intake

 

Gradually decrease your intake of salt, sugar and fat, until your taste buds adjust to the taste. Eventually, you will find you need less and less of these substances, and one day you will find you have practically eliminated them altogether. And watch out for foods that have high amounts in their ingredients.

For many people, snacking can be a downfall, especially during a busy workday. Try substituting your usual temptations with healthier options. For example, almonds and light popcorn are a good substitute for chips, and are more satisfying.

If you have a sweet tooth, ditch the afternoon pastry that's high in calories but won't actually help you feel full. Instead, look for a delicious, easy-to-pack snack that helps satisfy hunger as a healthful snack.

Fruits are also a great snack to satisfy your sweet craving.

Last, stay hydrated. Skip sugary sodas and sports drinks and opt for water throughout the day.

Water. Water. Water. Nothing beats quenching your thirst throughout the day with pure water. Get yourself a decanter and keep it full with you to keep hydrated all day.

If you need a boost of flavour, add a lemon wedge, cucumber slice or some fresh herbs. Water helps you feel full, process fibre and flushes your system, while helping to keep you hydrated.

Bad habits are hard to break, but by making small changes one at a time, you can overcome your hurdles for a healthier lifestyle.

Pretty soon you will be leading such a healthy life, you won't even realise when it happened.

yourhealth@gleanerjm.com