Transitioning to a healthier lifestyle is really hard. Replacing old, unhealthy habits with new, healthy habits takes a lot of effort. We’re so used to our old ways! Even harder sometimes is to add new habits into an already established routine.
Despite the difficulty however, it’s totally worth it. Adding or changing even just a few habits can have an enormous impact on your health and wellness.
Here are 3 healthy habits I’ve incorporated into my life over the past few years that can greatly impact your health and wellness.
3 Healthy Habits that Make a Big Difference!
Habit 1: Walking
I hate exercise. Absolutely hate it. Once, about 5 years ago, I decided I was going to try running. My husband and I signed up for the New Year’s Eve “Run Into the New Year” 5k and trained all fall and winter leading up to it.
That was the coldest winter I think I ever remember. Every run was awful and I hated every minute of it. The day of the race, I stepped out of the car and promptly fell on a patch of ice in the snow and ice covered parking lot.
I never tried to be a runner after that winter.
However, I know I need to exercise. I have a desk job and this blog is also a desk job. I sit…a lot. But what kind of exercise is good for someone who hates cardio of almost any kind?
Walking can be surprisingly effective as a method of exercise. As long as you keep a relatively brisk pace, make it a regular habit, and walk a for an extended amount of time, walks are great! We try to walk outside as much as possible during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. And I use the treadmill at my work’s fitness center a few times a week during the winter.
A brisk, 30-60 minute walk gets the heart pumping, burns calories, and tones your legs (especially if you’re walking in a hilly area or hiking).
There are so many reasons that walking is my cardio exercise of choice.
First, I can do it anywhere. I can walk in my neighborhood through the local park trail. We can drive to a nearby state park and walk there. If we want to, we can walk on the paths or mix it up and hike the trails for a little extra of a workout. If it’s freezing cold, I can even go walk a mall (though I have not yet resorted to this).
Second, I can do it with my family. My son can walk or take his bike during the summer. It’s also a great activity for my dogs; especially the pork chop that keeps eating everything in sight. We can have conversations while we walk or even stop and play at a park for a few minutes.
Finally, and possibly my favorite reason, is that it doesn’t feel like exercise! I hate feeling exhausted, which I did every time I ran. And I don’t want to be dripping in sweat. It’s so not comfortable. I also don’t need to spend any money for equipment or find space to store exercise gear. I can simply get up and go.
Habit 2: Yoga
Yoga is my second favorite healthy habit. I try to do it a few times a week.
Aside from being great for stretching out aches in the morning, yoga can be good for so many things.
I’ve found yoga to be incredibly relaxing, for one. I feel more calm and focused after even just a 15 minute yoga session. My body is more relaxed as well allowing me to feel more “loose” and lighter in my movements.
As I said previously, I sit a lot. When you sit so much, it really takes a toll on your hips by making your hip flexors tight. This can cause pain and stress without you even realizing what it is causing it! I never realized my hips were so tight until I started doing yoga regularly and felt the difference of them not being tight!
Believe it or not, yoga also helps me physically in a completely unexpected way. I suffer from pretty obnoxious allergies and while various medications and supplements help, sometimes they do get bad. Especially if I’m also fighting off a cold.
When this happens, my neck can feel tight, my ears can feel congested, and I am prone to headaches. But a 15 yoga session stretching out the back, neck, shoulders, and overall body helps a ton!
I’ve actually had times where I start a session with a looming headache and achy neck and by the end it’s virtually gone! I’m not entirely sure how it helps, but it does. There have even been times where I can actually feel a reduction in sinus pressure afterward.
Yoga is great because there are also tons of options for practicing it. You can get a book or a DVD that walks you through poses. Alternatively, and my favorite option, is to search specifically on YouTube the exact thing your looking for.
You can find beginner, morning, pregnancy, back problems, or chair yoga along with tons of others. It really is something everyone can do and benefit from.
Habit 3: Veganism/Plant-based eating
This final one is something that is definitely a more difficult habit to practice. Around 2 years ago, my family adopted a vegan/plant-based diet. We all eat a little differently, but in general, we do not eat any animal products.
My husband will have dairy occasionally in his coffee or on his pizza. He just can’t get with the vegan cheese. But inside our home, we are 100% vegan in diet.
We try to be more plant-based in terms of eating less processed foods, but we’re not always as good about that. However, the changes we have made have had incredible impact on us physically.
Andy’s blood work is far better than it was prior to making this change. Mine is almost perfect. Both of us have lost weight and never feel so full that we have that sick feeling. When we’re full, it’s just full.
Adopting a diet like this doesn’t have to be hard. Contrary to what lots of people will try to convince you, I don’t believe in the all-or-nothing attitude. Changing your eating habits in any way that is healthier is still better than continuing with unhealthy habits.
If that means that you can’t commit to fully being plant-based, but vegan dietary habits sound okay, do that. If that’s still too much, maybe try vegan or plant-based during the week and less so on weekends. Or only one meal a day with animal product instead of all three.
Making any of those changes will greatly reduce the amount of extra fat, cholesterol and calories that you would otherwise intake with no changes at all. Small changes are still changes and they can add up! And you can always scale up and make further changes if you decide to later on.
Adopt a few new healthy habits today for a healthier you!
We all want to be healthy but most of us struggle. By adopting a few powerful, healthy habits into our routine, we can move ourselves much closer to that goal!
I chose to practice yoga, walk more, and transition to a primarily plant-based diet. If some of those sound good to you, give them a try! If not, try to come up with a healthy habit you could use to transform an unhealthy habit. Is there a new habit you think you could adopt?
I hope you’ll find two or three new healthy habits to adopt this year so you can begin moving toward being your healthiest you!