5 Simple Steps to Jump Start Better Health

Everyone wants to develop new healthy habits. But for most people, changing old habits and creating new ones is hard work. But small changes can make a really big difference. Here are 5 simple steps you can start doing today to improve your health.

  1. Drink one less soda or sweetened drink per day.Just drinking one less soda or sweetened drink each day will allow you to lose 10 pounds in one year. It’s that simple. Most Americans are drinking nearly 60 gallons of soda yearly. Even the diet sodas aren’t ideal. The artificial sugar in those drinks fools your body into secreting more insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas that is designed to transfer sugar from the bloodstream into your cells. Without the sugar to transfer, the extra insulin causes an increase in the amount of fat that is stored in your abdomen.
  2. Add one fruit or vegetable per day to your diet.Both the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association recommend eating at least 5 fruits and or vegetables daily. They help lower the risk of both cancer and heart disease. I know not everyone loves the taste of fruits and vegetables. But here is a trick. Try tasting the new one at least 12 times. Even if you only eat one bite, repeating the tasting allows almost everyone to learn to like a new taste. Try it. You may be surprised that you’ve found a new great dish that you really enjoy and is great for your health. Just adding one fruit or vegetable daily can make a difference. For a change, you can snack on a handful of walnuts. They’re full of omega-3 fatty acids and really good for your heart, joints and brain.
  3. Move more.You don’t have to run a marathon to benefit from exercise. And getting started exercising can be tricky. So here is a trick to jump-start your exercise habit. Just park a little further from the door you plan to enter. Or walk up one flight of stairs or down two instead of taking an elevator. Try walking up the escalator. When you’re on the phone, don’t sit down. Stand and keep moving. At work, make your meetings walking meetings. Ask the other person to go for a walk and you’ll be amazed how pleasant the meeting will seem. Just move. It all ads up. Eventually, you can work your way up to 10,000 steps each day. To see how many steps you already are taking, buy a pedometer. It counts your steps and usually costs between $10 and $25.
  4. Find Quiet Time in your day.Let’s face it. We are all living hectic lives that never seem to slow down. Once or twice a day, find a quiet spot in a pleasant location. Take a slow deep breath through your nose, hold it for 5 seconds, and let it out slowly through your mouth. Doing that for even one minute will begin to relax you. Work your way up to 5 or 10 minutes once or twice daily. You’ll be amazed at how relaxed you feel. If you are a smoker, inhale only air and leave out the cigarette. This is smoke free quiet time.
  5. Improve your sleep.Starting 30 minutes before your bedtime, turn off all electronics. Find a quiet spot and either read a book, listen to relaxing music, or talk with friends or family. It’s a great way to settle down and get ready for bed and it will likely help you drift off to sleep. Sleep not only keeps you rested, it also helps control your weight. While we are sleeping, hormones are produced that curb our appetites and keep us from feeling hungry. Ever think sleep was an important part of your weight control? It is.

These 5 tips are something everyone can do. They’re simple and they will make a great difference in getting your health jump started toward improvement. For a free download of a relaxing bedtime song, go to HealthRock. I’ve made one of my original songs, Sun Ra Lullaby, available for you to help you relax as you drift off to sleep. It’s off my award winning Lullabies for Kids of All Ages CD. It’s not just for kids. Enjoy!