Setting new health goals is easy. Knowing how to achieve them, well, that’s another story. Changes to your diet, exercise routine and daily habits may not come naturally, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and defeated before you’ve had a chance to make any real progress. Luckily, your journey toward better health doesn’t have to begin with a drastic lifestyle overhaul. Check out these simple lifestyle changes that can have a big impact on your health:
Use regular soap instead of antibacterial soap
Antibacterial soap sounds like the best option for killing germs and bacteria, but FDA research shows no benefit from using antibacterial soap over regular soap and water. What studies did show is that triclosan, an active ingredient found in 75 percent of liquid antibiotic soaps, could promote drug-resistant bacteria and possibly lead to other serious health issues like allergies, cancer and liver fibrosis (Source: Salon).
Monitor calorie intake
It doesn’t matter whether you eat three square meals a day, six small meals a day, or any number in between. The bottom line is overall calorie intake. USDA recommendations for daily caloric intake are 2,000 calories for a moderately active 35 year old female and 2,600 for a moderately active 35 year old male. (View the complete chart here). To calculate your calorie intake, try using a food journal, nutrition app or calorie counter website.
Speaking of counting calories, meal prepping is one of the best ways to control your eating throughout the week. Set aside a day to plan your menu, shop for groceries and prepare your meals in advance. You can even divide meals into individual serving containers so they are ready to pop in the oven or microwave at a moment’s notice. Having a nutritious, homemade meal available in your refrigerator will discourage you from making last-minute unhealthy food choices.
Stand more, sit less
Between desk jobs, long commutes, TV shows and smartphones, it’s no wonder we spend too much time sitting. Global estimates show that the average individual sits for 7.7 hours per day, with some estimates as high as 15 hours per day. This excess sitting carries serious health risks including heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. Find ways to work more standing time into your schedule. Purchase an adjustable height computer desk, stand up during commercial breaks on TV, and start taking daily walks after every meal.
Wear a pedometer
Pedometers are inexpensive, easy to use, and they can encourage you to stay active throughout the day. A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that participants who used a pedometer and logged their steps increased their physical activity by 27 percent, lost weight, and even lowered their blood pressure enough to decrease their risk for stroke and heart disease.