FEELING GOOD: Don't complicate simple ways to keep fit
Have you ever wondered what the best, simplest thing for getting healthy would be? Look no further, you'll know about it once you've read this article.
A lot of patients we see are always on the look out for new ways to feel great, and live a healthier lifestyle – especially after experiencing something like an ankle injury that puts them out from walking for a while, or a bad back that’s kept them resting in bed for days.
But when it comes to health, most of us start to overcomplicate things. We think about what foods we should fill our shopping trolleys with, what exercise routines we should do, what the best green super food juice is, but in my opinion, that’s the hard approach.
I know as humans we want results fast (myself included!), but that’s often the primary reason why we give up on our new habits after a matter of weeks. When it comes to your health, as with everything else in your life, the key is to be consistent.
Let me give you an example - You’ve probably read how around 92% of new years resolutions get dropped within the first few weeks of a new year – there’s no point in having a new year’s resolution and start a rigorous exercise and diet plan, only to stop doing it a few weeks later.
Slow and steady progress will make you healthy (and happier) – wanting the quick route only makes it harder. So let’s take a look at how to get healthy the easy, and most sustainable way.
The easy approach is much different – you take a habit, or a behaviour you want to put into action, and make is so small you can’t give it up. A popular example is eating less processed sugar – a lot of people want to incorporate this habit into their daily life but brush it to the side after a week or two.
Why? Simply because it’s tough, and they make the habit too big. They throw out all of the sugar in the house, and banish it completely. But a ‘better’ approach that works for most people is to begin slow, by cutting certain processed foods out one at a time, so that the habit is so tiny you simply can’t give it up.
From there you increase the habit, and instead of not just eating jelly sweets anymore, you also don’t drink fizzy drinks, then you keep going and you don’t add sugar to your tea, and before you know it, you’ve cut your sugar intake dramatically!
Although it won’t work for everybody, because we’re all different at building habits – it’s a great tactic that works for many people.
Anyway, this article isn’t about sugar and reducing your intake. It’s actually about another really easy (but also highly effective) habit. It’s one thing that has multiple positive effects attached to it.
Can you take a guess at what it is? I already said it isn’t cutting out sugar. Maybe it’s exercise? Or, eating more vegetables? Nope, these are too hard for the beginning. It’s something really, really easy. Something you’re probably already doing on most days, but you just don’t do ‘enough’ of it.
It’s walking. Let me explain – getting healthy is all about the small things you do everyday. The small things that don’t require much work, but add up over time, and walking can be a huge contributor to that – walking is like exercise, it just doesn’t feel like it.
Here’s the definition of ‘walking’: ‘to advance to travel on foot at a moderated speed or pace.’
That doesn’t sound too hard does it”? Moderate is always good, right? The best part of walking is that you are already doing it. Probably every day! You walk to your car, you walk at home, you walk around your work place – walking is already a habit, you just need to increase the amount of it you do – slowly.
Before I fill you in on how to make this more actionable, I want to give you some of the benefits of walking, short and simple.
Walking Gets You Moving – and everybody knows how important this is. We spend an average of 9.3 hours a day sitting which isn’t good for our bodies! When you are walking you are not sitting, which is a good thing for getting healthy.
Your Muscles Get Used – Using your muscles will keep your body moving – if you live a sedentary lifestyle, chances are, you’re increasing your risk of suffering from something like a bad back, and a weak body – which lets face it, if you can avoid that you will!
It Helps You Feel Relaxed - Getting fresh air will make you feel more relaxed and less stressed, while getting into the sun will increase your vitamin D production which improves your sleep – helping you to feel fresh each day.
Walking has many, many, many positive effects, but you’ll have to find out the rest yourself.
Anyway, since I want you to begin this habit as soon as possible, here are a few ideas to get you started …
Start Slow – Don’t think a five-minute walk is a waste of time, it’s not! Begin with 5 minutes and if you enjoy it, increase it next time to 10!
Use Your Legs More – If you drive to work, park your car further away and walk the rest. Even better, if your workplace is close, ditch the car altogether.
At The Weekend – Take a long walk on the weekend. Take your family or a good friend and just walk. Meet up and walk to a café or park close by. Update each other on what’s new. This combines walking and your social life as well. Isn’t walking just great?
When Abroad – When you’re on holiday, don’t take a taxi or the public transport all the time. Walk through the city and talk to locals. This way you’ll discover more places you wouldn’t have seen otherwise and make the most of it.
There’s just a few ways you can start to incorporate walking more into your daily life. I personally love to walk. And I walk each day for at least 20 minutes, whether alone, with friends, or my family. I’ve discovered so many places during my walks, came up with tons of ideas and always feel great afterwards
Walking is really easy. Finding an excuse for jogging is rather simple (not a lot of us like jogging), but finding an excuse for taking a short walk is almost impossible.
Take a five-minute walk every day for a week and see how you feel afterwards. Increase it five minutes each week.
It’s a great way to start getting healthy.
For more tips on Healthy Habits, check out my book ‘The Healthy Habit’ on leading a healthy lifestyle, to help you keep active, mobile and free from painkillers www.thehealthyhabitbook.com