While we all want to improve our quality of life, sometimes attacking a new exercise regime or implementing a healthy diet seem overwhelming. But the little things you do each day can go a long way to improving your overall health.
For example, what you would do in each of these scenarios?
1) It's late afternoon and you need a little pick me up. You can choose between almonds or M&Ms. Which will it be?
2) You pull up in the parking lot of your local shopping center. There are plenty of open spaces away from the door. Do you take one of those and walk a few extra steps or wait for a space at the front of the store to open up?
3) It's a hectic day and work is piling up. Do you forge ahead and plow through the paperwork, thereby worsening that grumpy mood or take a ten-minute walk around the block?
As you consider improving your health, the answers should be clear. Each choice we make can potentially improve how we feel. Yet, in this age of convenience, we tend to spend more time sitting and "stressing" than moving.
"Maybe you've heard that sitting is the new smoking," suggests Nurse Practitioner Julie Roberts from Intermountain LiVe Well Center. "People who are not physically active increase their risk for a lot of medical complications [such as] high blood pressure, diabetes, overweight."
And as we start neglecting our needs, the more difficult maintaining good health becomes.
Roberts says, "A healthy lifestyle is like sitting on a step stool with four legs. We kind of are kind of are sawing off all these legs of the healthy lifestyle step stool and you can find yourself like a beetle, stuck on your back."
So if you're ready to start looking out for your own well-being, here are some little things you might try:
1. Aim to stroll 2 minutes for every 58 minutes you sit. Get up for a drink of water, say hello a friend, or take a walk.
It's recommended we get 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week. And a little walk will get you well on your way. Roberts adds, "Going for a 10-minute stress reducing walk on your lunch break at work is a great way to multi-task."
2. When it comes to a healthy diet, picture what your typical dinner plate looks like.
Roberts says, "I like to keep it simple and say try to eat the colors of the rainbow every day. Plant-based foods, your body breaks them down and it gives your body the building blocks for health. Make sure half of your plate is filled with fruits and vegetables and just have mindfulness on portion sizes and for sure nutrition is key."
3. Cut out diet soda. Studies link the chemicals in diet soda to liver disease.
4. Drink milk. Experts say a glass of milk can slow down the progression of arthritis.
5. And consider almonds as the perfect snack food. They are packed with Vitamin E, copper, magnesium and protein.
6. Protect your mental health. To de-stresssqueeze a ball. It also makes your hand stronger and helps boosts your memory.
7. Take a few minutes to meditate now and then.Comment on this story
Roberts says, "Even if it's just taking five minutes a day to have some meditation or a moment where you're not just rushing and having chaos it can be a great way to just start your day off with that mindfulness that creates a pattern for the rest of the day."
It's the small choices we make each day that can build up those legs on our stepping stool and improve our vitality, energy, and enthusiasm.
Click here for more information on appointments for an individual health assessment or on classes at the Intermountain LiVe Well Center's "Move Well" Studio.
Read more from the Utah League of Cities and Towns on DeseretNews.com or visit their website at ulct.org.