It’s February, which means your New Year’s resolutions to get healthier may already be tanking. It’s not that you don’t care about getting healthy or else you wouldn’t have made your resolutions in the first place. But making drastic changes to improve your health can make those changes hard to maintain.
The good news is that there are plenty of small changes you can make periodically throughout the year so you can achieve your goals of getting healthier without riding the struggle bus. Here are 10 ways you can improve your health, and your family’s health, in 2020.
- Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary. One of the best things you can do for your health is to consistently prioritize getting more quality sleep. But it’s hard to get quality sleep when you’re using your bedroom for other things like sending work emails and scrolling through your Twitter feed. Make sure your bedroom is clean, as well! Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary by keeping all electronics in a different room to charge and not doing work in bed.
- Add more fruit to your lunch. You can do a lot for your health just by packing one extra piece of fruit into your lunch every day. Fruits not only taste great but they provide your body with the vitamins and nutrients it needs to maintain your blood pressure. Fruits that contain the antioxidant flavonol have also been found to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, which impacts 5.7 million Americans.
- Avoid the cleanses. Some of the biggest trends on social media include juice cleanses and fasts. While medicine has certainly come along way in the last 70 years since John Gibbon’s innovations for heart health, juice cleanses won’t actually do anything for you. In fact, according to medical professionals, these cleanses are nothing but snake oil. Your body does its own detoxing just fine. “From the liver and skin to our intestines, we are metabolically wired to naturally excrete waste that builds from both natural metabolism and from our environment,” said Rachel Fine, a registered dietitian with To The Pointe Nutrition. “Cleanses place havoc on your metabolism with the constant cycle of under-eating and over-eating.”
- Put weight loss on the back burner. If you’re focused on losing weight instead of improving your health, you can actually end up hurting your body rather than helping it. Focus instead on moving more, cooking more frequently at home, eating more fruits and vegetables, and getting better sleep. Each of these factors helps to contribute to weight loss without having it be the main goal.
- Add one social activity per month. Regular socialization has been found to help you live longer, improve your physical health, and improve your mental health. Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression, which impacts 350 million people around the world. Consider taking a class, joining a book club, or having a get-together with friends at least once a month to socialize more and engage with others.
- Drink more water. One of the easiest ways you can improve your health this year is by drinking more water. By drinking 80 ounces of water a day (roughly five tall glasses) you can improve your kidney function, support a healthy brain, and avoid muscle stiffness. If the reason you don’t hydrate enough is that you’re paranoid about your local tap water (which is completely valid, some water storage tanks still in use are over 100 years old), try using a water purifier that attaches to your faucet or keep your water in a filtering pitcher in your fridge.
- Start flossing regularly. If you’ve ever lied through your teeth to your dentist that you floss regularly, now might be the time to turn that fib into a fact. Flossing helps to prevent gum disease, which can increase your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes later on in life. According to the CDC, 50% of Americans aged 30 or older have gum disease and an estimated 69% of Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 have at least one missing tooth. Floss your teeth at least once a day after dinner before you brush your teeth to remove any food particles that could promote bacterial growth.
- Move around more often. Sitting for long periods of time has been proven to cause a wide range of negative health effects from abnormal cholesterol levels to pressure ulcers. If you sit all day at work, make sure to get up and move around at least once every 30 minutes. Set a reminder for yourself to take breaks. Consider walking on the treadmill while streaming your shows at home or even walking for 20 minutes after dinner. The more you move, the more blood you circulate in your body and the healthier your heart will be.
Living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be a terrifying adventure. By making just a few simple changes here and there throughout your day, you can improve your health in 2020 one step at a time.