Small Swaps to Help Improve Your Overall Health
When it comes to personal goals, improvements in health rank high for most people. Improvements in your overall health can not just help you look better, but they can help you feel better, too. And who wouldn’t like that?
The problem most people face when looking to improve their health is that they don’t make changes that are sustainable. People tend to make sweeping and dramatic lifestyle changes and then struggle to maintain them. That’s why the fad diet industry is so enormous; if fad diets worked long-term, most people would be done after their first, instead of trying a new one each year.
If you want to make improvements to your health that stick, you’ve got to think small. Read on for 3 small and sustainable swaps to help improve your overall health.
1. Swaps to Improve Your Diet
Let’s start with the big one: improvements to your diet. For centuries, the diet industry has villainized one food group in favor of another. While this certainly can lead to dramatic and immediate results, they don’t last. Ask yourself, is it really realistic to cut out bread for the rest of your life?
Furthermore, when you exclude an entire food group from your diet, you eliminate the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients provided by that food group. It can be highly detrimental to your health. Rather than forbidding yourself from indulging in certain foods, opt to swap them out for healthier choices. Here are some of our favorite food swaps.
Swap Out White Rice for Brown
Here’s something you may not know: all rice begins as brown rice. Brown rice is a rice grain in its natural and whole state. In addition to the inner grain of white rice, brown rice contains a husk, bran, and germ. In order to create white rice, the rice is milled to remove all three elements. It’s then polished and sold as white rice.
Here’s why that’s bad: the bran and germ contain essentially all of the rice’s nutrients, including fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The process of removing them also removes all of the rice’s nutrients. The white rice that remains is basically void of essential nutrients. Instead, it’s just a big bowl of carbohydrates.
Next time you’re ordering rice, opt for brown over white.
Swap Out White Bread for Whole Wheat Bread
The wheat grains that make bread are just like rice grains. Whole wheat grains are nutrient dense, whereas white wheat is lacking in nutrition. Just like white rice, white bread leaves you missing out on healthy and essential nutrients.
Here’s another reason that matters: when you eat a simple carb like white rice or white bread, your body instantly and easily digests the carbohydrates, turning them directly into sugar. When you eat a complex carb like brown rice or whole wheat bread, on the other hand, the fiber in the whole grain is much harder to digest. That means your body digests it more slowly. Not only does this prevent your blood sugar from spiking, but it also keeps you full much longer.
Remember: always opt for whole grains over their white counterparts.
2. Swaps to Improve Your Workout
The wonderful thing about exercise is that it can be done in a myriad of ways. As long as it gets your body moving, it’s good for you! Sometimes, however, exercise is just the last thing you want to do. If you’re looking to speed up your workout without sacrificing quality, use these swaps.
Swap Out Long Sets for Short Intervals
Have you heard of circuit training? It’s a workout style that involves cycling through short, fast rounds of different workouts. In a typical circuit training workout, you’ll do 5-10 exercises, each targeting a different set of muscles, for about 1-2 minutes each with little to no rest in between.
Circuit training has so many different benefits that a traditional workout featuring long sets and rest between simply doesn’t offer. For one, the rapid pace provides a great cardio workout in addition to the different muscle groups the exercises target. It also does wonderful things for your endurance. Finally, it’s an extremely versatile workout that can be modified to focus on the areas you’re interested in, without wasting time on those you’re not.
Swap Out Daily Exercise for Rest Days
Believe it or not, when it comes to your workout, rest days are just as important as workout days. Rest days allow your body the time it needs to recover and repair your muscles. By swapping out an exercise day for a rest day, you’ll be able to push past any plateaus you may come across in your training.
3. Swaps to Improve Your Wellness
The wellness industry is a vast world with high price tags. Just like the diet industry, it’s full of fads and trends that can waste away your paycheck in a matter of days. If you want to weed out the worthwhile wellness from the bunk, read on for our favorite swaps.
Swap Out Sleepless Nights for Melatonin
There are so many ways in which sleep is essential to your body’s functioning. It supports your heart health, cognitive functioning, mood, appetite, immune system, and so much more. Unfortunately, sleep can be hard for many to come by. Whether you suffer from stress-induced sleeplessness, insomnia, over caffeination, or anything else, it’s important to get your sleep back on track.
Fortunately, there’s a supplement for that. Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally generates when the sun starts to go down. It indicates to your body that it’s nearly time for sleep. If you’re experiencing sleeplessness, simply introducing a melatonin supplement can get you in a sleepy state of mind.
Swap Out Stress for Therapy
If you find that stress and anxieties are taking over your life, it’s important to take action to help get your happiness back. Fortunately, therapy is more accessible today than ever. You can even do therapy from the comfort of your own home, through companies like BetterHelp. Rather than suffering through, find someone who can help.
When it comes to your overall health, sustainable changes are the best you can make. From incorporating natural, whole foods to reimagining your workout routine, these are just some of the ways you can improve your overall health. Using these simple and easy swaps, you can make lifestyle changes that will stick.