Small Changes That Can Have a Big Impact on Your Health

Getting healthy can feel like an overwhelming task. Maintaining good health can be especially hard if you’ve picked up bad habits during the pandemic, such as frequent take-out runs or sitting in front of the TV for extended periods of time. The key to making essential changes that actually stick is to start small.

While it’s perfectly okay to set big goals, you’ll also want to meet smaller milestones along the way. Your changes should be realistic and manageable to prevent becoming discouraged and giving up. You may also need to make minor tweaks to your goals along the way based on your age, fitness level, lifestyle, and similar factors.

Making small but influential changes can have a big impact on your health in the long term. Follow these baby steps to get your health progressing in the right direction.

Small Fitness Changes 

  • Take a Walk After Dinner. Most people slump on the sofa after a big meal. According to a study published in the International Journal of General Medicine, walking just after a meal is more effective for weight loss compared to walking one hour after a meal. Walking was also found to suppress a person’s blood sugar after a meal. Keeping your blood sugar levels at an optimal level can help delay or prevent long-term, serious health problems, such as kidney disease, vision loss, and heart disease.
  • Park Your Vehicle in the Back of the Parking Lot. Whether you’re going to work, the grocery store, a restaurant, or another establishment, you’ll likely have the opportunity to choose where you want to park. Instead of parking closest to the door, park in the far back. This minor change forces you to make a longer trek to the building’s entrance. Once inside, make even more better choices for a positive impact on your health, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator to burn more calories and work out your leg muscles.
  • Perform At Home Workouts. Not everyone has enough time to go to the gym, or enough money for a gym membership. At home workouts are a great way to stay in shape, even with a busy schedule. With just ten minutes a day, you could do your body a favor with an at home workout. Focus on your glutes with glute bands, practice yoga with your roommate, or do a quick easy ab routine from YouTube. At home workouts are convenient and attainable for all lifestyles, incomes, and physical abilities.
  • Seek Out an Accountability Partner. When it comes to physical activity, many people find it challenging to stay focused. One of the best ways to maintain motivation to work out is to find a training partner who will hold you accountable and provide ongoing support. An accountability partner provides encouragement during your fitness journey and adds excitement to your workouts. They can also make you feel less intimidated when exercising outside or at the gym. Engaging in regular exercise alongside an accountability partner can make a big difference in your fitness and state of mind.
  • Keep an Exercise Journal to Track Your Workouts. While having an accountability partner can lead to many positive lifestyle changes, a healthier life must ultimately come from your own efforts. Consider keeping an exercise journal as a form of self-motivation. Jot down the type of workout and how long you worked out each day. Increase the amount of time that you work out as you improve your endurance and build your strength.

Small Diet Changes 

  • Start the Morning with a Fiber-Rich Breakfast. You’ve probably heard time and time again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, not all breakfasts are made equal. Starting the morning with a breakfast high in fiber is key for all-day energy and a boost of essential nutrients. The health benefits of fiber don’t stop there. A high-fiber diet also helps maintain bowel health, lowers cholesterol levels, and aids in weight loss. Some tasty options include whole grain toast with peanut butter, a healthy protein parfait, or an easy breakfast wrap with black beans and veggies.
  • Add Natural Flavors to Your Water. Drinking plain water can get boring, causing many people to choose sugary beverage options like fruit juice and soda. According to the CDC, sugary beverages are a leading source of added sugar in the average diet in the United States. Frequently drinking sugary beverages can contribute to weight gain, tooth decay, non-alcoholic liver disease, and type 2 diabetes. One simple change you can make involves drinking flavored water instead of sugary beverages. Satisfy your taste buds by adding calorie-free flavors like lemons, limes, and cucumbers to your water.
  • Make At Least One Vegetarian Dish Each Week. While a healthy diet can include protein from meats, such as chicken, beef, pork, and lamb, too much meat can raise your risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers. Incorporating vegetarian food choices can boost your heart health, help manage your weight, and keep your brain sharp. This small change can even have an environmental impact by reducing your carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions which are partly responsible for climate change around the world.
  • Choose Health Alternatives in Your Baked Goods. Everyone likes the occasional baked good, from cakes and cookies to muffins and bars. However, baked goods are notorious for having large amounts of sugar and oils. When baking at home, consider swapping out some of the unhealthier ingredients with nutritious alternatives. For example, you can replace butter or oil in baking recipes with the equivalent amount of unsweetened applesauce or another pureed fruit.
  • Meal Prepping. It's so tempting to order every meal from wherever is convenient. Yes, McDonalds is delicious! You may think eating out saves time and can be cheaper, but it is damaging to your wallet and your health. Instead, try out meal prepping where you can save time and money while developing healthy eating. This little change can help you attain a healthier lifestyle. With just a few hours every week and simple, inexpensive ingredients, you can make healthy and delicious meals that fit your busy lifestyle. Keep your pre-made meals in the refrigerator and easily bring your food on the go. Your meal preps can be as extravagant as Mexican casseroles with low-fat cheese, chicken, and black beans or as simple as overnight oats with bananas and cinnamon. You can choose what feels best for your body, and your body will thank you for all the natural, healthy ingredients you are eating.

Small Changes for Mental Health

  • Set Aside Time to Enjoy Silence. In this day and age, it’s hard to remove yourself from the many distractions of life and just enjoy the small things. Schedule at least 10 minutes a day to enjoy the silence, meaning no TV, emails, cell phones, or other distractions. According to health care provider Amy Sullivan, PsyD, ABPP, silence offers the opportunity to daydream and self-reflect, activities that activate different parts of the brain.
  • Add Meditation to Your Daily Routine. The benefits of mediation have been long boasted. Meditation can help improve concentration and focus, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and lower levels of stress and anxiety. Some research suggests that meditation may help manage symptoms of certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, asthma, depression, chronic pain, tension headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and heart disease. Try to set aside 10 to 30 minutes each day to meditate in a quiet place free of distractions.
  • Clean and Declutter Your Space. Clutter can make you feel anxious, stressed, and even depressed. According to research published in the Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, were higher in moms who had cluttered home environments. Take the extra time each week to dedicate to a cleaner, decluttered space. Develop new skills for managing clutter and aim to fit cleaning into your daily routine. Cleaning and decluttering do not mean you need to make big changes all at once. Instead, start small with simple changes, such as making your bed each morning.
  • Practice the Art of Forgiveness. When you’re angry at someone, holding a grudge may seem like the most practical option. However, this is rarely a healthy choice. Holding a grudge prevents you from replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. It can also contribute to other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and certain mood disorders. Forgiving a person for wrongdoing means letting go of bad feelings which may affect you more than you realize. Accept people for who they are and do not allow your own expectations of another person to affect your state of mind.
  • Find Something to Be Grateful for Every Day. Everyone has something to be grateful for. This could be your family, your job, your hobbies, or your good health. According to a recent study conducted by the USC Marshall School of Business, gratitude has associations with many health benefits, such as better sleep, less depression, more generosity, and general well-being. UCS experts also view building connections with others through gratitude to be a crucial component of thriving.

Boost Your Health & Confidence with Buffbunny

Created by Heidi Somers in San Antonio, Texas in 2016, Buffbunny is a fitness apparel brand made by women for women. Heidi combined her passion for fitness with her love of fashion to develop high-quality, functional, and stylish pieces for every body type. The Buffbunny Collection is not just about clothing but how certain clothing makes the women who wear them feel. Buffbunny is committed to helping women of all walks of life and diverse backgrounds feel confident, comfortable, and healthy in their own skin.