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6 Small and Healthy Lifestyle Changes That Can Make a Big Difference

sneakers being laced up next to a green smoothie
Reaching your health goals doesn't always mean strict diets and rigorous workouts. Simply incorporating a few new habits into your daily routine can really pay off in the long run!

by Autumn Jones

You don't have to overhaul your whole life to transform your health! Sometimes just making small, healthy lifestyle changes can have a huge impact.

In fact, incorporating a few new habits here and there really can pay off in the long run — you could reap benefits like disease prevention, improved brain function, and supercharged immunity, among many others. To get started, try introducing these six simple tweaks to your daily routine.

1. Get in Extra Steps and Take the Stairs

Spending the majority of your day sitting down may seem relaxing, but all that inactivity can take a toll on your health. You've probably heard it before: Sitting is the new smoking! Try getting up and taking a brisk, five-minute walk after every hour you spend sitting, as suggested by SELF magazine. Sticking to this plan means that by the end of an average day, you will have logged at least 40 minutes of activity!

The next time you need to travel between floors in a building, ditch the elevator and find the nearest stairwell. This is among the simplest of healthy lifestyle changes. Taking the stairs can help pump up your heart rate and gives you a little more "bang for your buck" than a short walk, due to the vertical factor, according to The New York Times.

2. Pass on Processed Foods

If you want to eat healthier without a fussy diet or meal plan, passing on processed foods (more often than not) is an easy place to start. To ease into this, start by reaching for fruits, veggies,or nuts — instead of chips, candy, or cookies — when you want to snack. Incorporating more whole foods into your diet means more vitamins and nutrients, which give you energy as well as keep you full longer! That's definitely a win-win.

3. Get More Sleep

When it comes to healthy lifestyle changes, getting more sleep is one of the best moves you can make. As Healthline points out, racking up at least eight hours of shut-eye each night can boost your immunity, stabilize your metabolism, lower your risk of serious health conditions, and even enhance your memory.

4. Drink More Water

Downing more glasses of water each day might sound like a tedious task, but it's one your body will thank you for. Aside from feeling more energized, staying hydrated also rids your body of toxins, reduces junk food cravings, helps keep muscles strong, and powers up your brain function!

5. Eat Your Veggies First

Before heavier or more filling foods have a chance to make you feel too full during your daily meals, chow down on a generous portion of vegetables. To help you remember to start with these nutritious superstars first, try covering half your plate in veggies — and don't nibble on anything else until that side is clean.

6. Stretch Every Day

Be it first thing in the morning or right before bed at night, picking a time to stretch or engage in some mobility movement can provide some long-lasting results. Avoid doing the same stretches every day; it's important to change it up consistently so all of your muscles get the love they need to stay limber and strong. According to Mayo Clinic, stretching can help reduce injury, keep your joints healthy, and improve your range of motion.

Reaching your health goals doesn't always mean strict diets and rigorous workouts. Instead of trying to redesign your whole world, take advantage of the small things that make the biggest difference in your overall well-being, and enjoy a healthier you!

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.