Tips to be healthy

Sometimes big changes start with small shifts. Whether you’re trying to eat better, get more active or ward off germs, a healthier you doesn’t have to mean a total lifestyle makeover. We asked our readers which small change has made the biggest impact on their health.

I gave my refrigerator a total makeover. First I placed fruits and veggies inside clear containers and put them, along with yogurt and salad fixings, on a shelf at eye level. Now when I open the door, those options grab my attention. I also threw out any takeout containers, because they only encouraged me to eat more takeout. As a result of this new system, I unconsciously make healthier choices, and it has helped to lower my blood pressure.

About a year ago, instead of reading during my 15-minute break at work, I started taking brisk walks around my office-building complex. After a couple of months, I was so surprised at how my body shape had changed with that small amount of exercise. My midsection had slimmed down, and my legs were more toned. Now I feel more energetic throughout the day and sleep better at night.

My therapist suggested deep breathing as a tool to manage stress. I teach eighth-grade math, and my stress level is pretty high on some days. I breathe in to a slow count of five, hold for a slow count of five, then slowly release to a count of five. This instantly calms me down and keeps me centered. Think of it as a three-minute break that you can take anytime, anywhere.

There are tons of sweets and fatty snacks within arm’s reach at my office, so I fell into the habit of grabbing a bag of chips or cookies in the late morning and afternoon. Early this year, I began bringing healthy bites (like mandarin oranges, nuts, and granola) to work. Since I’ve cut all those refined sugars and empty calories out of my diet, I no longer experience a late-afternoon slump, because I been following a nutrisystem plans for women which has made a great change in my body.

Weight lifting has improved my flexibility and made the aches and pains in my back, neck, and shoulders subside. I spent most of my life believing that cardio was the key to a lean, healthy body and that lifting would only make me appear bulkier. Yet now, at age 41, I look and feel better than ever.

My family and I order all our groceries online. When shopping in the supermarket, I’m more likely to make impulse purchases. (Who can say no to “buy one, get one free” boxes of cookies? I certainly can’t.) It’s much easier for me to resist temptations online. We eat healthier and spend less money to boot.

I’ve struggled with weight issues my whole life, so a few months ago I adopted my 10-year-old daughter’s daily exercise routine: 40 situps and 20 push-ups. While she does it at night for her gymnastics class, I do it within the first 10 minutes of waking up. Not only do I feel stronger but the activity also puts me in a better mood and encourages me to make good choices throughout the day.