5 Healthy Lifestyle Changes

When it comes to your health, your lifestyle choices are much more dominant than your genes. It’s always a good time to adopt new habits to improve your well-being. Here are 5 healthy lifestyle changes that could have the most significant impact on your health, along with a few tips for making them successful:

1. Move More

How often you’re physically active is just as important as how much you exercise. So don’t follow your morning workout with hours sitting at your desk, in your car, or on the couch.[1]

Moving more can help improve everything from your circulation to your stress levels and sense of well-being.[2] Add more movement into your life by breaking-up sedentary activities with physical activity. Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:

  • Swap-up your coffee break for a power walk; after all, walking is the best exercise
  • Set your alarm 10 minutes early to do morning stretches
  • Wait for your lunch to reheat in the plank position or see how many squats you can fit in before your coffee is done brewing
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
  • Use the jungle gym for pull ups, dips, lunges, and push ups while your children play

2. Nourish Yourself

There’s a big difference between being well-fed and well-nourished. By ditching the processed convenience foods and nourishing yourself with a balanced diet of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins, and healthy polyunsaturated fats, you can improve your health and overall quality of life.[3]

Get started by:

  • Eating with the season and stocking up on fresh-picked fruits and vegetables while their flavors and nutrient levels are at their peak. Aim for 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to help meet your body’s demands for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.
  • Including omega-3 rich foods in your diet, including fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, ground flax, seaweed, and chia seeds. For a more concentrated source, look for a quality omega-3 supplement, such as:
  • Choosing lean, high-quality proteins. Great sources include:
  • Eating pre- and probiotic-rich foods every day to replenish and nourish your intestinal microflora. Fantastic sources include:
    • Natural yogurt
    • Kefir
    • Kombucha tea
    • Cultured vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi
    • Ultimate Probiotic 12/12 Formula with 12 billion live probiotic cultures
    • Prebiotic fibrer from foods such as garlic, onions, artichokes, whole grains, and peas
  • Supporting your bone health with Vitamin D3 & K2 formulated with bioactive and highly bioavailable D3 (cholecalciferol) and menaquinone-7 (MK-7) from natto bean.

3. Manage Your Stress

More than one in every four Canadian workers report finding even a regular day “quite a bit” or “extremely” stressful.[4] Stress causes an increase in cortisol levels. When it becomes excessive or ongoing, this can have a negative impact on your health. [5] Everybody has some form of stress in their lives, but it’s how you deal with it that counts. Healthy ways to cope with stress include:

    • Getting 7–9 hours of sleep per night. Remember, sleep shouldn’t stress you out!
    • Keeping active and eating a nourishing diet, as covered in points #1 and #2.
    • Taking time to relax and switch gears after work.
    • Scheduling “free time” to completely checkout with fewer responsibilities.
    • Unplugging yourself from electronics. Yes, this means putting away your cell phone, tablet, and laptop.
    • Communicating your feelings and needs to family and friends.
    • Managing your time effectively with the Pomodoro Technique

    For a well-rounded approach towards calmer days and restful nights, add one of our Stress-Relax® line of products to your stress management routine:

     

    For more tips on how to manage stress, check out our 8 Effortless Tips to Manage Family and Work Stress

4. Make Sleep a Priority

40% of women and 30% of men have trouble with insomnia.[6] When you don’t get the recommended 7–9 hours per night, it can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health, not to mention work performance and social life.[7]

If you have trouble falling asleep, have restless sleeps, or are losing sleep due to stress, shift work, or waking children, it is time to make sleep a priority with these healthy sleep tips:[8]

    • Make time to sleep. If you have to, set the bedtime alarm on your phone.
    • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. All of these can disrupt your sleep.[9]
    • Unplug from your computer, tablet, cell phone, or e-reader before bedtime. Instead, unwind before bedtime with a bath or some light reading.
    • Use a natural sleep aid to help improve sleep quality Stress-Relax Tranquil Sleep is the ideal choice for anyone dealing with an altered sleep schedule due to jet lag or shift work. It helps reset the body’s sleep-wake cycle and temporarily promote relaxation.

5. Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

While moderate alcohol consumption is considered safe for some people, there are many alcohol-related health risks that aren’t apparent until later in life.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans10 recommends that you drink up to:[10]

  • 1 drink per day for women
  • 2 drinks per day for men

Alcohol is high in calories and dehydrating, and cutting back has benefits. Keep your alcohol intake down by:

  • Setting a drink limit for yourself
  • Drinking slowly
  • Matching every alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink
  • Eating before and while you are consuming alcohol
  • Not drinking for health benefits
  • Enjoying some non-drinking days every week to prevent alcohol from becoming a habit

Be aware of factors that make alcohol consumption unsafe, including when you are pregnant, driving, and taking certain medications.[11]

Healthy Changes for Life

It can take time to develop new habits. Be patient with yourself and remember that making healthy lifestyle changes is a long-term commitment to support your health and quality of life.

 

References:

[1] De Rezende LF, Rey-Lopez JP, Matsudo VK, et al. Sedentary behavior and health outcomes among older adults: A systematic review.” BMC Public Health. 2014;14:333.

[2] Government of Canada. Physical Activity Tips for Adults. 2018. Web. 13 December 2018.

[3] Davidson K, Gondare L, & Kaplan B. Food insecurity, poor diet quality, and suboptimal intakes of folate and iron are independently associated with perceived mental health in Canadian adults. Nutrients. 2017; 9(3):274.

[4] Crompton S. What’s stressing the stressed? Main sources of stress among workers. Statistics Canada, 2015. Web. 14 December 2018.

[5] Bergland C. Cortisol: why the “stress hormone” is public enemy No. 1. Psychology Today. 2013 Web. 14 December 2018.

[6] National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Brain basics: understanding sleep. NIH, 2018. Web. 14 December 2018.

[7] Wong ML, Lau EY, Wan JH, et al. The interplay between sleep and mood in predicting academic functioning, physical health and psychological health: a longitudinal study. J Psychosom Res. 2013;74(4): 271-7.

[8] Hirshkowitz M, Whiton K, Albert SM, et al. National Sleep Foundation’s updated sleep duration recommendations: Final report. Sleep Health. 2015; 1:233-43.

[9] National Sleep Foundation. Healthy Sleep Tips. National Sleep Foundation, 2015. Web. 14 December 2018.

[10] Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Web. health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/