By Alexa Santory
Improving your health is so much more than just eating your veggies and going to the gym a few times a week. It’s constantly checking in with yourself and trying to figure out what you need, as in your mind, your body, and your soul. It’s listening to your body. There are lots of little ways to improve your health that have a big impact on your well being, and none of them involve joining a gym! While we do recommend you try to be active as much as possible, for all you couch potatoes out there, here’s to not working out and still being healthy!
No Gym? No Problem!
How obvious is it that I don’t go to the gym?? I will never knock anyone for being active and getting healthy how they see fit. There’s a method to everyone’s madness, after all. What are some of the other ways we can get our health back on track? What are some of the little things we can change around, add, and fix that’ll make a huge difference for us in the long run?
Declutter your space.
You probably read that and said “girl, what?!” But hear me out! Decluttering your space, whether it’s your entire home or just your bedroom, can be really good for reducing stress. An organized, tidy environment does wonders for the mind and helps lessen the possibility of being distracted. Decluttering your space helps you pare down things you no longer need and focus on what’s really important -- a lesson that carries over even after the tidying is finished. Take the KonMari method, for example. Marie Kondo invented a method of decluttering that encourages you to cherish what brings joy to your life. The goal of her method is for it to become a lifestyle choice as much as it is a spatial one.
We all know stress can be a major mood killer; cluttered spaces only add to that stress. Try to adopt at least some of the KonMari method into your life, or start a little smaller and finally get rid of all the junk in your junk drawer. I know you have one. You’ll feel better having done it, and you probably won’t be as stressed as you were before. In all honesty, is there anything more valuable than peace of mind? That’s the real goal here, folks!
Put down the burger and get ya omega-3s up!
Tough, I know! I love red meat as much as the next girl but man is it bad for us! Consuming lots of red meat has been linked to issues like heart disease, high cholesterol, digestive issues, and colon cancer. Yikes. This happens because of the high amount of saturated fat in red meat. You know, the bad fat. Yes, there are benefits to eating red meat, too: it’s high in protein and iron, two things our body needs. The problem begins when there’s no balance, you know the saying “you can never have too much of a good thing.” Consuming anything in excess is gonna be bad for you no matter what. So, strike a balance. Start consuming omega-3s like your life depends on it!
Foods like avocados, nuts, and salmon are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are going to keep your heart strong and healthy. Omega-3s are good, monounsaturated fats that help balance out blood lipids and prevent issues like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Omega-3s have also been found to significantly reduce inflammation inside the body. Getting a daily dose of omega-3s can lessen the chances of developing chronic illnesses like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and some cancers. Omega-3s have even been found to treat depression. Long story short, they’re very good for you. Red meat can be good for you, too, but cutting back on it can make a huge difference.
Stand up straight.
My grandma still yells this at me every time she sees me. I gotta start listening to her cause my shoulders?? Tight and sore. All the time. Bad posture messes up the body’s natural alignment, resulting in annoying aches and pains. Realigning your body and improving your posture takes unnecessary stress off your joints, especially your spine, which is what keeps it all together! Since better posture takes pressure off your joints and eases pain, you’re gonna have higher energy levels, too. Plus, it helps you breathe a little easier. So next time you feel yourself slouching, think of my tiny Cuban grandmother yelling at you to stand up straight. She means well, I promise.
Check out this video on how to improve your posture and why it's so important.
Fermented foods are good for you.
Consuming more fermented foods will do wonders to your body, specifically your gut, which is at the center of making your body function properly. Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha, introduce good bacteria into the body. There are 1 million bacteria for every cell in your body, and most of those bacteria are in our tummies because it has to break down our food. The more bad bacteria there are, the higher the risk of infection or sickness. You can’t have too much of a good thing either, though. It’s all about balance and introducing a healthy amount of fermented food and drink into your diet will help strike that balance. A balanced gut will lead to better digestion and help you become more regular. You’ll feel less bloated after every meal, too! Plus, a healthy gut has been linked to clearer skin. Sounds like winning all around!
Take up new language.
A healthy body is nothing without a healthy brain. Learning a new language has been shown to strengthen cognition and improve our memory. It’s a great way to flex the most important organ in our bodies. Plus, it’ll give you a chance to explore a new culture and immerse yourself in something new. Picking up a new skill in general is a great way to improve brain function; sharpening everyday skills we usually take for granted. So download Duolingo, pick up an instrument you like, or take those karate classes you’ve always wanted to try Any new skill is gonna keep your brain sharp and ready for a new challenge!
Get some more vitamin D.
Yet another thing my grandma has yelled at me about and I’m starting to realize she may be on to something. Vitamin D is very important for our health and has an influence on 3,000 of our 25,000 genes, meaning it plays a major role in keeping our immune system healthy. Vitamin D allows our immune system to create antimicrobial peptides that can fight off some pretty intense infections and diseases.
Ready to hear some of the issues caused by vitamin D deficiency? Okay...they include: anemia, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, bipolar disorder, colds, Crohn’s disease, depression, diabetes, eczema, fibromyalgia, hypertension, insomnia, lupus, MS, polycystic ovary disease, infertility, and Seasonal Affective Disorder, to name a few. Increasing your vitamin D intake, whether it’s through supplements or just taking a walk in the sunshine (the sun gives off radiation that turns into vitamin D in our bodies), will always have positive effects on the body and mind.
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