If you could do one thing: A game-changing technique to improve your health
If you could do one thing: A game-changing technique to improve your health
One thing, just one small thing. Michael Mosley’s doing it in his podcast One Small Thing which allows us bite-size offerings that we can try to make a difference to our health each day. Nibble some nuts to help your heart, or do a strength workout to increase muscle mass and stave off the ageing process. James Clear is doing it with his book Atomic Habits which recommends us to concentrate our efforts on making 1% micro changes to our lifestyle which will bring about a compound result for an improved future self.
We become demotivated when we diet for one day and don’t notice any immediate effects. What we don’t realise, is that one day of eating a little less is a small but valuable investment and has already contributed to our overall future health.
Taking control of our health can feel like an overwhelming task. It’s common for us to feel like we need to overhaul our entire lifestyle in one go. But all too often this approach leads to burnout and disappointment.
We make plans, especially in the New Year, to embed healthy habits and every time we make them, we have every intention of sticking to them. We know that when we feel better, we look better. We want to succeed. We can visualize the positive impact — and we like it!
So, just what happens to that initial excitement when we feel certain that we’ll be able to channel this motivation into tangible action? How come we end up falling back into our usual routine?
In this article we’re going to explore a better way to get the healthy lifestyle you want. A way that actually works and is way simpler than you probably think — and a lot less stressful. And we’ll tell you about the science behind even the smallest of steps and how the slightest change to your usual routine can truly energize you!
Setting goals for a healthier future you
We look to make changes so we can enjoy freedom of movement, enjoy more activities, enjoy playing with the children or grandchildren, and ultimately enjoy a long, fulfilled life. Plus, healthy skin and a glowing complexion that comes about naturally when we’re in good health makes us feel on top of the world and makes for a better photo too. Imagine no more relying on filters before you share that pic!
Whatever your reason for wanting to make a difference, don’t be tempted to fully immerse yourself into a major life changing routine. It’s important to approach these goals in a sustainable way.
Don’t be overly ambitious
When goals are too big, they can quickly become overwhelming for these reasons:
· If a task ahead of us is too big we may not know where to start. This can make it difficult for us to focus on what needs to be done leading to procrastination.
· When we don’t see progress quickly, we feel demotivated. This can cause us to give up on our goals altogether.
· We forget the reason for starting. Have a clear picture in your head of what you want to be doing, and looking like, in a year’s time, five years’ time and when you’re in the middle of retirement. Without these reminders, it can be difficult to stay committed.
· Maybe we’ve started out with unrealistic expectations and when we can’t meet them, we become discouraged. This can make it harder to stay committed to our goals.
· Pursuing big aspirations requires a lot of time and effort. We may simply run out of energy and not feel able to continue working towards our goals.
Just one thing
Forget about ‘go big or go home’! That’s not the answer — the strategy outlined below can help you achieve your health goals without ever feeling like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.
Pick one thing to start doing today, and once that habit is embedded introduce another. Keep going until they become second nature. Start now and your future self will thank you for it!
What will your one thing be, what will be your second, what will be your third? Whatever you decide, over time these changes that you make one step at a time will pack a mighty punch in terms of aging better, longevity, feeling good and looking great.
Why not consider one of these to get you started:
· Drink an extra glass of water every day
· Take a short walk or just move 10 minutes after a meal
· Get an extra hour of sleep every night
· Practice better breathing techniques
· Head outside for a 20-minute walk
· Take a night off from alcohol
Water is life!
Yes, we know that you’ll have been told to drink more water before, but do you know why? Drinking water can stave off hunger and increase our metabolic rate so it really does have the power to help us eat less and lose weight.
Not only that, but drinking more water every day can improve our physical performance, boost our brain function, prevent headaches, and relieve constipation. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t take full advantage of nature’s superpowers.
Get active for just 10 minutes after eating
Within an hour of eating, spend 10 minutes moving around. This could be a quick walk, an energetic tidy up of the kitchen to your favourite tune, or you could do a household chore such as putting away the laundry. If you’re clever you can exercise AND get that job done that you tend to put off!
As you’ll already know, glucose is a form of energy and feeds our muscles. As we exercise, we contract our muscles, and this uses up the glucose that we’ve just consumed and stops it from building up in our bloodstream.
When we remain inactive after eating, we could potentially end up with high blood sugar levels which could lead to chronic inflammation.
We hope we’ve convinced you to introduce this technique into your routine. But if you still need convincing, then take a look at these awesome statistics: it’s been reported that you can reduce your blood sugar levels by as much as 50% by getting active for just 10 minutes, and even the simple act of tapping or jigging your knee around after a meal can help reduce blood sugar levels by 30%.
Start this today and you’ll soon notice a big impact on how you feel!
Go to bed 1 hour earlier
If you’re routinely not getting in the recommended eight hours of sleep every night, find ways to change your routine. Maybe turn off the television an hour earlier and head to your bedroom instead. Foster a relaxing routine which could include a bath and reading a good book. Avoid stimulation before bedtime by turning off bright lights and your mobile phone.
With just one extra hour of sleep your concentration will improve, you’ll feel less anxious, your immune system will receive a boost, you’ll be able to train harder and for longer, and your body can heal and repair itself better. In fact, it enhances every aspect of your life in a positive way.
Breathe with intention
If you don’t follow Wim Hof on social media, we recommend that you do. You may know him as the Iceman. He takes a simple, natural approach to achieving great physical health and mental strength. We love his circular breathing technique proven to help you relax.
Or if you’re really short on time, try the 4–4–8 method. Get comfy, preferably in a sitting position. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four and really try to fill your stomach with air. Hold this breath for a count of four. Release your breath through your mouth while making a whooshing sound for a count of eight. Without breaking this routine, repeat the exercise four times.
It may take a little practice, but when you introduce this into your life, you’ll experience clarity of mind and be more focused on achieving your aspirations for the future.
Sneak in that 20 minute walk
Do you find that you can easily spend at least half an hour simply scrolling through your phone? It’s so easy to do — we’ve all been guilty of it. What about stepping away from your phone for 20 minutes and using this time to do something great for yourself?
A 20 minute brisk walk every day could be enough to add years to your life and take inches off your waistline. A reliable study reported that adding this activity into your daily routine could reduce the risk of early death by as much as 30%. Now, that’s got to be worth switching your phone off for, right?
Go alcohol free one day more a week/month
We’re not saying stop alcohol altogether, but even cutting down a small amount will make a big difference is an investment in your future bank!
Maybe consider just drinking at the weekend and cut out that mid-week glass of wine? There are some really good alternatives on the market now — we love Sentia with a mixer, not too sweet and its unique herbal recipe will genuinely have a relaxing effect.
Reducing your alcohol intake, even by a small amount, can help you to reduce high blood pressure, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, the risk of liver disease and weight gain.
The bank of your future self
We hope that this article has inspired you to change one thing in your daily routine. Be proud if you only do one thing — because this is already an investment into your future health.