Most of us are on a quest for better health. By making a few tiny tweaks to your daily routine you can get closer to your health goals this year. I recommend setting your intention to start working on one tiny tweak at a time. Work on that one little change until it becomes a habit. Once you settle into your new routine add in another tiny tweak. See my eight suggestions for simple tweaks you can make to your daily routine.
1. Stretch for 2-5 minutes when you get out of bed in the morning.
Stretching lengthens and relaxes muscles, keeping you limber and improving flexibility. Stretching increases blood flow and energy, which is a great way to start the day. Pay special attention to stretching the muscles in your neck and feet; as they work very hard for you every day.
2. Start the day with something hydrating, instead of something caffeinated.
Try warm lemon water on an empty stomach; this has become a habit of mine, and now I don’t feel like myself when I skip it. Warm lemon water stimulates liver cleansing, rehydrates, lubricates joints, regulates bowel movements, alkalizes the pH of blood plus it’s loaded with vitamin C which boosts immunity. If lemon water isn’t your thing try herbal tea or just plain room temperature water is good too.
3. Aim for 10 minutes of light exercise in the morning.
Light exercise gets the blood moving, endorphins going and it helps to energize you. It doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for a good cardio session later in the day, but it does start the morning off right. I like this 7-minute yoga video, Yoga to get Your Morning Moving, from Tara Stiles. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more energetic, try the famous Scientific 7-Minute Morning Workout which you can also download as an app. Dog walking counts too!
4. Eat breakfast every morning.
I recommend something light like a smoothie, a small bowl of oatmeal or eggs with veggies.
5. Start your day off with 1 serving of vegetables and 1 serving of fruit.
This sets a healthy intention for the rest of the day and you’ll be well on your way to the recommended 5-10 servings of produce a day.
• If you’re having a smoothie add in a handful of spinach and a handful of berries.
• If you’re having eggs have wilted kale on the side and serve with an orange.
• If you prefer oatmeal add pumpkin puree and apple chunks to the bowl.
6. Measure your carb portions.
Most of us are overeating foods like rice, pasta and cereals. Start measuring out your portions for these types of foods. Keep a ½ cup (125ml) measure handy and use this to portion cooked grains, pastas and cereals onto your plate. Then compensate for the grains you feel you might be missing by adding as many vegetables as you want to your plate.
7. Drink More Water.
Drink less prepared juices, sodas and coffee. If you don’t love drinking plain water, flavor it with sliced citrus or chopped strawberries. For a warming, winter flavored water try a sliced apple and a cinnamon stick.
8. Watch less TV, read more books.
First of all, it’s harder to snack when you’re holding a book! Second of all, its reported that the average North American adult watches an average of 5 hours of television a day! Think of what projects you could accomplish, relationships you could nurture or things you could learn with an extra 5 hours a day.
Andrea Beazley Fubler, Registered Holistic Nutritionist