Taking it Slow: 3 Gradual Steps to Healthier Living

Making the best choices isn’t always easy. In the short run, it’s often easier to avoid exercise, overeat or sit on the couch binge watching instead of doing the healthy thing. The problem is that while these may seem like simple one-time choices, they add up over time, and before you know it, you’re always avoiding exercise, overeating and sitting on the couch. These tips may help you shift into healthier habits.

Ease into Exercise

People often fail at introducing exercise into their lives because they try to do too much at once. A much better approach is to ease in and find something that you genuinely enjoy and would do even if it weren’t beneficial. For example, have you considered getting an e-bike? You can get one that comes with a powerful motor to use when you are going uphill or just too tired to pedal, but you can also pedal it yourself if you prefer. 

An e-bike can mean that you get more exercise than you would with a regular bike since you may feel more comfortable taking it longer distances than you otherwise would. Other good ways to ease into exercise include walking, joining a recreational league to play a sport that you enjoy or taking a class. From rock climbing to tai chi, salsa dancing to karate and more, there are fitness, sports, and recreational classes in most communities to suit almost anyone.

Be Mindful

An all-too-often overlooked component of health is your mental and emotional wellbeing. Mindfulness is a popular buzzword these days, but it’s also a concept worth paying attention to. Mindfulness is about living in the moment, not the past or the future but the present that you are experiencing right now. It is about paying attention to what is happening, noticing both the world around you and what your thoughts are doing.

You can’t be 100% mindful all the time, and that would not even necessarily be a desirable state, but you can use these techniques both to become more fully immersed in your day to day to life when it is appropriate and to step back and get perspective when it is needed. It is not uncommon to pair the use of meditation with practicing mindfulness since both strategies involve slowing down the mind and body and being present. As with anything a major key here is, and always will be, finding balance.

Kick a Bad Habit

It’s best to start slow when you want to make positive changes in your habits and routines. Too many changes too quickly can be difficult to sustain. Therefore, to start with, choose just one bad habit to kick. If it’s a big one, like smoking, you’ll probably have your hands full for a while, but you can also start small, like not eating cookies late at night or drinking sodas with your lunch. 

You could also go for a gradual reduction strategy, like smoking fewer cigarettes each day or having just one cookie instead of three. Stick with the new habit for a month or even longer before you try to kick another one or add a healthy one. You’re not in a race against anyone, but if you were, slow and steady would still be more likely to win.