Healthy Lifestyle Changes for 2021
The start of a new year often comes with a lot of ideas about how we can improve our lives in so many different ways. Some of us think about what we could do better with organization (Helloooo The Home Edit), time management, success at work, and of course the health and fitness goals. It seems to me that turning the year on our calendar sets off these resolutions not only because it’s a new year and a clean slate but also because we may have overindulged during the holiday season.
To avoid getting overwhelmed on where to start, I’m going to highlight some simple tips to help get you on track and moving in a positive direction - one step at a time!
As a physical therapist we often set short and long-term goals. In fact they are often required for us to demonstrate progress with our patients and clients. Let’s take that approach with our health and fitness goals too!
I believe strongly in doing one simple change at a time. This helps you feel success and is often more manageable than trying to make too many changes at once.
Start with something very simple!
Looking at your hydration, determine where you are each day in your water intake. Then decide how much you can improve over the next week and then in the next month. Start by deciding you can add 16 ounces to your water intake each day this week and increase it each week until you are at your ideal amount. Make it fun by buying a new water bottle or adding a new fruit or veggie to your water!
This can sometimes be a touchy subject. Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep but there is no denying the science behind sleep and our health. The better and more consistent you sleep the better your health will be. Making that first one small change could mean putting away electronic devices at a certain time each night. Maybe it means setting a consistent bedtime. Once you have your bedtime routine improved, look to extend the amount of sleep you get.
It’s no secret how bad added sugar is to our bodies including weight gain, higher bad cholesterol, increased risk of heart disease and the list goes on! Cutting out sugar can start with really small changes. Start with excluding sugar or honey from your morning coffee or tea.
Avoid candy and sweets including pastries, desserts and small treats that you may have not considered a big deal in the past. Then take those small changes and make bigger ones! Eliminate processed foods which have a sneaky amount of sugar too! Small steps lead to BIG changes!
This is our favorite! We want to keep DC active and moving! Haven’t moved as much as you would like? Don’t know where to start? Start small! Park further back in the parking lot. Take the stairs a few floors at a time. Add a 15-20 evening walk to your daily routine. Starting small helps lead to accomplishing your goals by making you feel success and making your goal feel attainable. Don’t tell yourself you will workout 60 minutes a day if you haven't been able to accomplish that lately. Start with 20 minutes, start with every other day and slowly add on. Meeting the short term goals builds a foundation for the bigger long term goals. Celebrate those little wins knowing the end game is in sight!
You Can Do It!