Spring Ahead to a Healthier You!

Make these small changes for big results

Older Caucasian Woman

Ready for a fresh start? During the winter months, many of us tend to add a few pounds or be less active. Try this: add one healthy habit every week. You might be surprised at how much better you’ll feel.

1. Catch up on screenings
Start your improvement plan by making sure you’re up to date on important screenings, like blood pressure and cholesterol. If you’re not, set up an appointment.

2. Wake up earlier
Give yourself time to eat breakfast, exercise, or just enjoy some peace and quiet. Research says that people who get up early are more productive, feel more optimistic, and sleep better. Ease into it. Tomorrow, try getting up 10 minutes earlier.

3. Eat breakfast
It will help you get past that mid-morning slump. Plus, it can help you maintain a healthy weight. Go for good carbs, protein, and fiber. An egg-white omelet with veggies is great if you have time, but oatmeal with almonds or low-fat yogurt with fruit will also do the trick.

4. Walk outside
Celebrate warmer weather, and kick off your plan to get in better shape. Walking is the easiest way to burn calories, and walking outdoors has been linked to lower blood pressure and less stress. Go for at least 20 minutes a day. Set a goal to increase your steps and speed each week.

5. Try a new fruit or vegetable
Bored with apples or don’t like Brussels sprouts? No problem. There are plenty of other choices. Pick a fruit or vegetable you’ve never had or one you didn’t like when you were younger. Aim to fill half your plate with a variety of produce for a good mix of nutrients. You can choose from fresh, frozen, or canned. If choosing frozen or canned, look for options without added salt or sugar.

6. Make a smart trade
Think about the least healthy thing you eat or drink. Now, swap it out for something that’s healthier. Love pizza? Replace half the pepperoni with mushrooms for fewer calories and less fat.

7. Stretch more
Doing a few simple stretches can get your blood flowing and improve flexibility. Take a few minutes each day to loosen up. Warm up by walking in place for 5 minutes, then try this: stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your right knee, gently grasp your right shin with both hands, and bring your knee toward your chest. Release your shin, and lower your foot. Repeat on left side. To make this move easier, try it lying on your back.

8. Set a bedtime
It’s not just good for kids. Going to bed at a set time allows you to get the 7 to 8 hours of sleep you need. Plus, sticking to a schedule helps your body “remember” to wind down. Do a quiet, relaxing activity 30 minutes before bed.