How do you get healthy when you’re out of shape? By making small changes that add up to big health improvements. These small ways to get healthy make a difference because they work together to create change that lasts.
If you’ve read any of my health and fitness articles, you know that I lost weight and got healthy after getting married. Since most people gain weight after the wedding, this is a big deal!
My husband isn’t a health nut or fitness trainer; he’s just a skinny guy with a healthy relationship to food. I learned how to eat mindfully and listen to my body from him. These tips for getting healthy are easy and even fun – and they’ll take you from wondering how to get healthy to marveling at what a big difference a few small changes make.
12 Small Ways to Get Healthy That Make a Big Difference
1. Avoid coffee, lunch or dinner dates. Instead of meeting a friend for coffee (and sitting on your butt, ingesting calories, and not burning anything besides your money), invite them for a walk. You can do this at work, too – my supervisor and I went for a walk to discuss a few work issues, instead of sitting in our office – and it was way healthier and more interesting than sitting face to face!
2. Challenge your friends to a kick boxing or belly dancing class. Walk through the park, go biking in summer, ice skate or cross country ski in winter, walk the mall, take a yoga or cardio class, or run on a treadmill next to your friend.
3. Ask your friends and family how they stay healthy – and for tips on how you can get healthy. Even your least healthy friends know small ways to get healthy that make a big difference! They may not follow their own health and fitness tips, but they have some gems tucked away. Learn from them. Do as they say, not as they do.
How do you get healthy and lose weight? Read Weight Loss Shortcuts From Dr Oz – From Apples to Gym Bags.
4. Figure out what your obstacles are to getting healthy. Are you married to a guy who is out of shape? Do you work nights, which can stop you from getting healthy? Are you the mom of seven kids, and you don’t have time to exercise? Before these small ways to get healthy can make a big difference in your life, you need to know what’s holding you back.
5. Become aware of your emotional issues. Maybe you stuff your face every night because you’re unhappy. Maybe you hate the way you look, so you don’t even try to walk around the block. Maybe you’re jealous of your coworker or friends, so you’ve given up on getting healthy. the sooner you identify your emotional issues, the quicker you’ll achieve physical health.
6. Move your body before your brain wakes up. I do at least 10 minutes of yoga every morning, before my first cup of coffee. I love love love checking my email and blog statistics, but I don’t let myself indulge in what I really love until I stretch my body. Most mornings, I do a 20 minute strength training or Pilates workout; my “off” days are yoga.
If you want to get healthy, don’t go to the gym. Read 8 Reasons Home Workouts Are Better for Weight Loss Than Gyms.
7. Dance! Do you watch Ellen? She’s on to something there, with the dancing at the top of every show. That’s a small way to get healthy that makes a big difference: make yourself an upbeat iPod play-list or CD and dance around as you straighten up at home. Or, find a hip-hop or African dance class at the gym. Learn to belly dance at an adult education class or at the Y…or plan a girls’ night out dancing!
8. Set fitness goals that are realistic and specific. Remember that the most realistic weight loss or fitness goals are small, achievable, measurable, and FUN! It won’t work to decide to you want to lose 100 pounds by Christmas. Instead, decide you want to lose one pound this week. That’s a small way to get healthy…and it’ll make a big difference because 50 weeks will pass and you’ll have lost 50 pounds!
9. Surround yourself with fit, healthy friends. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose to surround yourself with friends who are happy, healthy, and emotionally fit. Their health will rub off on you – just like my husband’s healthy eating habits rubbed off on me.
10. Think of food as a fuel. This is another thing my husband does, that I now do. I still stuff my face when I’m scared, sad, or lonely – but at least I’m aware of it, and I do it far less than I used to. Food is supposed to support my life – it’s not an emotional crutch. It’s those small changes in the way you think that make a big difference in your health and fitness goals.
12. Weigh yourself every day? I’m tossed on this one – I don’t know if it’s an effective tip for people asking “how do I get healthy?” I tried it, and found it sorta depressing at my normal ups and downs – it’s like checking your stocks every day, to see if they’re up or down! The daily fluctuations don’t matter; it’s the long term that matters. So, you need to ask yourself if weighing yourself every day will make a difference to you. If it does, then have at ‘er!
For more small ways to get healthy, read Beginners Yoga Tips – How to Practice Yoga Without Getting Hurt.
What do you think – what are some small ways to get healthy that make a big difference to you?
Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me! Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.