3 ways to make health habits work for you

June 2, 2019

3 Ways To Make Health Habits Work For You

Guest blog post by: Jennifer McGregor, mcgregor_jennifer@publichealthlibrary.org, PublicHealthLibrary.org





We are constantly bombarded with health advice, so it can be hard to figure out which habits we truly need to implement into our lives. One useful method is to keep things simple. Instead of a huge list of specific habits you need to start doing, take a broader look at your attitude toward your diet and exercise habits to see what small adjustments you can make. Below are a few examples that can go a long way toward boosting your health.

Outdoor Activities

Staying active is crucial for a healthy mind and body. Regular exercise comes with countless health benefits, from reducing the risk of chronic disease to feeling happier, having more energy, and helping with relaxation. One easy way to boost these effects is to take your exercise outdoors. It has been scientifically proven that spending time in nature is good for both our physical and mental health. Working out in a gym is great, but doing physical activity in a natural, open space should also be part of your routine.

There are plenty of ways to do this, and it’s not all jogging in the park. Think outside the box. You could, for example, purchase and refurbish an old boat. By sourcing and installing individual parts like boat seats and boat tops, you can use the process of customizing a boat as an active outdoor hobby in itself before you ever even set sail.

You can also take advantage of the wonderful nature this country has to offer. Are there any incredible swimming holes close to you? Do you have a nearby forest or national park you can explore? If you live in a city, are there any parks or green spaces that you haven’t checked out yet?

Ditching Fad Diets

Although it’s not exactly news that fad diets don’t work, they still seem to hold as much appeal as they ever did. According to the American Council on Science and Health, an estimated 50% of diets are fad diets. It’s easy to see why. Fad diets promise fast and effective results, and the most popular ones have huge followings touting their benefits to anyone who will listen. It’s difficult to know what to believe, and it’s normal to want to believe that there is a simple solution.

The truth is that certain diets do work for certain people. Keto may help someone lose a lot of weight and keep it off, but it won’t work for everyone. This research by Medicare Advantage is useful in showing just how much the effectiveness of a given diet can vary from person to person.

If you feel you need a defined diet, the first person you should speak to is your doctor. They will be able to guide you toward a diet that is right for you. Alternatively, try to change your eating habits through smaller incremental changes, which are more sustainable and achievable.

Develop Your Mind-Body Connection

Your mental and physical health are not just interlinked, they are interdependent. Mental health can directly impact physical well-being, while the way we eat, move, sleep, and spend our time hugely shapes our mental state. Mind-body therapies are activities that help you develop an awareness of this connection, which in turn helps you make better decisions for your overall health. The easiest ones to try include yoga and meditation, especially with the wealth of free online resources available.

What the three suggestions above have in common is that they are about switching up your perspective rather than focusing on a narrow set of rules. Exercise can be made more fun and exciting by using the outdoors, diets don’t have to be instruments of torture if you make them work for you, and the journey to better health should be seen as a holistic process. Thinking like this allows you to take a step back and see how your health journey can be designed to suit the specific needs of your mind and body.

Thanks Jennifer McGregor for asking us to post this helpful information to our blog.

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