Starting Healthy Habits

A new year feels like a fresh start for many, a clean slate to begin writing your next chapter. It often includes goals to eat better, exercise more, and improve overall health. However, if making 2022 your healthiest year yet, it can seem overwhelming to overhaul your entire lifestyle to make your goals a reality. 
Instead, it would be best if you made small, sustainable changes to your daily lifestyle. Before you know it, these adjustments will become second nature and can significantly impact your overall health and happiness.  
With better health, you and your family can greatly decrease the chances of developing chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and hypertension,  
Here are five simple ways to start building up your healthy habits for 2022 and beyond!  
Add some light exercise to your morning routine.  
Including some movement in your AM routine can be highly beneficial. It will help get your heart rate up, encourage blood flow, and jumpstart your metabolism! 
Some examples include: 
- Full-body stretching and circulation exercises when you wake up 
- Calf raises while brushing your teeth 
- Choosing stairs over the elevator on your way to work  
- A few rounds of squats while you're waiting for the coffee to brew 
- Shoulder and neck rolls while checking your emails  

Go to bed 2 minutes earlier each night.  
It may seem like 2 minutes won't do much to improve your health, but you'd be surprised! By tucking in just 2 minutes earlier per night, you'll effortlessly earn an extra hour of sleep in just one month! 
There are a lot of studies that support the notion that adequate sleep decreases the risk of obesity, Alzheimer's, heart problems, attention disorders, and diabetes. It can also boost the immune system and aid in muscle recovery.  
Rethink your snack choices  
Snacking is very nourishing - if the right choices are made. Between meals, your body can benefit from balanced snacking options to maintain energy levels and minimize cravings. But, that doesn't mean you should reach for the nearest bag of chips every time a craving arises. Instead, opt for more wholesome and protein-packed options.  
Here are some fan-favorite healthy snacks that can help you get more vitamins, minerals, and body-loving nutrients into your daily rotation!  
- Crunchy veggies and hummus 
- Yogurt with berries, granola, and raw honey  
- Fruit smoothie blended with a handful of leafy greens 
- Hard-boiled eggs 
- Air-popped popcorn  
- Apple slices and nut butter 
- Fruit and cheese plate with raw nuts  
Swap out your salt 
Too much sodium consumption can raise blood pressure and put individuals at risk for heart disease and stroke. With the daily recommended dose being 2,300 mg (~1 teaspoon) of salt per day, many of us get incredibly more than we need.  
A great way to cut down on daily sodium intake is to replace a majority of the salt in your cooking with fresh or dried herbs and spices! Get creative by experimenting with different blends of seasonings you already have in your spice rack, or look for "salt-free" combinations in the seasoning aisle of your local grocery store.  
Other swaps to cut down on salt intake: 
- Use fresh, thin-sliced chicken, turkey, and ham instead of cold cuts 
- Look for low-sodium broth for soups and other recipes  
- Choose whole-grain tortillas for burritos, tacos, and wraps  
- Select salt-free nut, cracker, and popcorn whenever possible  
Take regular movement breaks.   
For years, medical professionals have warned about the dangers of regularly sitting for prolonged periods of time. It's thought that those who live a sedentary lifestyle could be suppressing the essential enzymes needed to regulate the metabolism of fats and could be affecting cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels.  
Experts recommend getting up and moving around for at least 2 minutes every 20 - 30 minutes.  
Is radiant, glowing skin on your 2022 goal list, too? If so, check out our blog all about foods you should eat for clear skin!  

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