Improving health doesn’t always have to mean huge upheaval. Instead, small changes can accumulate into huge benefits, boost your confidence and put you back in the driving seat of your own health.
It’s not even about changing lots of small things at once. It could start with introducing one new habit which makes sense to you and seems doable.
Just one thing can lead to many benefits. In this 4-min video, I explain how a 20-minute walk can improve sleep, stress levels, cardiovascular health, mood, creativity and thinking skills. While in this video, I share simple ideas for how to improve sleep, stress levels and reduce your sugar intake.
This is a really useful, evidence-based approach. The British Society of Lifestyle Medicine’s #1Change intiative is all about changing one thing; and Dr Michael Mosley’s series Just one thing is now in its second series on BBC Radio 4. There’s also an approach called Tiny Habits based on the same principles.
To fit it into your daily life you could try attaching the new behaviour to an existing habit like brushing your teeth or boiling the kettle. The existing habit becomes the trigger to do the new behaviour so it’s more likely to become a regular habit. Keeping the new habit small means you’re more likely to succeed which gives you a motivational boost to continue. Within days you can be into an empowering virtuous circle!
Some of these new things take effect over time (eg learning a new skill or practising gratitude) while others help instantly (taking some deep breaths). Most do both. Some of them take less than a minute (standing on one leg, taking a cold shower) and many need no equipment (eg doing some squats) and can be done anywhere at any time of day.
Here are some of the topics Michael Mosley covers in his 15-minute Radio 4 programmes. Why not use them like a menu to identify something which appeals to you? Have a listen and see where it takes you. You never know… what have you got to lose?
- Take an early morning walk
- Eat some bacteria (in fermented food)
- Take a cold shower
- Learn a new skill
- Intelligent exercises (doing some squats of press ups)
- Get into green spaces
- Stand on one leg
- Take a breath
- Have a hot bath
- Count your blessings.
Lou Walker is a health coach focusing on weight loss without hunger. Find out more at www.louwalker.com.