31 Days of Health Hacks to Live Your Best Life
by Mallory Creveling on 1/1/2018
When you think about doing a healthy lifestyle overhaul – simultaneously cleaning up your diet, exercising more and stressing less – it’s enough to send you running …right back to bed. That’s why it’s always best to start with small, manageable changes that can easily fit into your day. And we’re here to provide exactly that: 31 health hacks from experts in nutrition, fitness and mental health that offer a bite-size way to live smarter – without sacrifice. (Your time is precious, after all!)
But that doesn’t mean these little tips won’t lead to big changes. Try incorporating one every day this month, then carry your favorites with you for a fitter-than-ever 2018.
1. Do a kitchen clean-out.
Take just 10 to 20 minutes to rearrange your pantry, fridge and countertop today, suggests Melina Jampolis, MD, author of Spice Up, Slim Down. Place chips or cookies in opaque containers in the back of your cabinets, and put cut veggies in clear storage bins and bags on top shelves. Leave out a bowl of fruit, too, so you can grab when you’re in the mood for something sweet.
2. Schedule a walking meeting.
If you do one thing to move more this month, make it sitting less. Studies link staying in your seat to a higher risk of premature death (even if you exercise on the regular), explains Dr. Jampolis. So start by taking one of your calls outside and around the block or catching up with a co-worker as you stroll to grab a cup of joe.
3. Add flavor, without calories.
Lots of spices (think turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, ginger and rosemary) can enhance the flavor of your food, while also providing anti-inflammatory benefits and antioxidants, says Dr. Jampolis. So add a little kick to your smoothie, stir fry, eggs or salad dressings. These zero-calorie palate pleasers might even help you cut back on sugar and salt.
4. Soak in natural sunlight.
A natural mood-booster is waiting just outside the door. We’re talking about sunlight and greenery. “Get bright, natural light exposure, preferably in the morning, which helps to anchor your body’s circadian rhythm,” says Max Lugavere, author of Genius Foods. Take a mini stroll before your commute or go the long way to get your late morning coffee.
5. Eat a “fatty salad.”
Think leafy greens, topped with extra-virgin olive oil, says Lugavere. “The fat helps you absorb brain-boosting carotenoids in the salad and the greens help you check off many of your nutritional boxes by providing micronutrients and fiber,” he says.
6. Adopt a dog for the day.
Time to find that furry friend you always wanted. Studies show that dog owners walk 22 more minutes a day than those who don’t own a four-legged pal, and tend to take nearly 3,000 more daily steps. Ask to watch your friend’s pet for the day (or just take him or her out for a stroll) or sign up to be a sitter on dogvacay.com. “I actually write prescriptions to get a dog for my patients and those that do, always thank me,” says Steven R. Gundry, MD, cardiac surgeon and founder of Gundry MD. If nothing else, a fluffy friend should bring a few laughs your way.
To read the full list of tips, click here.