• To feel a big change in how you feel every day, all it takes is a few small changes. (Flickr)Source: Flickr
When it comes to being healthy, all it takes are a few small steps for huge results.
By
Jody Phan

10 Jun 2016 - 3:48 PM  UPDATED 10 Jun 2016 - 3:49 PM

Becoming a healthier version of yourself doesn’t need to be a daunting overhaul. All it takes is the introduction of small but effective changes that turn into daily habits.

Whether you’ve never been a “health nut” and think it’s time to change, or you’ve found yourself falling off the wagon thanks to life’s distractions, these simple changes to your daily repertoire will make a big difference to the way you feel.

Keep a water bottle by your bed
After waking up in the morning, your body hasn’t had water for eight or more hours and is dehydrated. It’s so easy to start the day, perhaps with exercise or a coffee, and forget about drinking water until mid-morning. Keeping water by the bed will remind you to take a big drink as soon as you wake. Throughout the day, drink a glass of water before you have your morning coffee, and before every meal. This not only makes meeting your quota of two to three litres per day much easier, but you’ll also feel a little fuller to avoid overeating.

Gentle stretching is also said to increase blood flow to all parts of the body, including the brain.

Start the day with a stretch
Incorporating a five-minute stretching routine that also focuses on breathing will not only introduce a little zen into the rest of your day, but also ease those aches and pains that occur after long periods of rest. Gentle stretching is also said to increase blood flow to all parts of the body, including the brain. It's a calming way to boost concentration and productivity for the rest of the day.

Prepare your own breakfast
Breakfast time can be tricky when you’re trying to stay healthy. The quickest options at cafes, such as pre-made yoghurts, toast, or pastries, offer almost no nutrition value and guarantee a sugar crash immediately after. Instead, invest in some mason jars and make your own healthy and portable breakfasts. They’re perfect for storing homemade muesli, oats or chia puddings with fresh fruit, which can all be prepared the night before.

Going for a short stroll after work is a great opportunity to get some fresh air and clear your mind.

Go for a walk after work
You don’t even have to change into activewear or break a sweat. Going for a short stroll either to the supermarket or around the neighbourhood after work is a great opportunity to get some fresh air and clear your mind, especially if you’ve been desk-bound all day. Use the time to call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and catch up, but avoid making calls that will lead to stressful conversations - it’s about winding down, not getting wound up.

Cook your own meals during the week
It’s much easier to eat fresh if you cook meals for yourself. The average restaurant meal contains 4,737 kilojoules - more than half the recommended daily intake. Not only that, chefs aren’t afraid to use lots of salt, oil, butter and sugar to make foods extra tasty. Having dinner at home, at least through the working week, will also mean you can have leftovers for lunch at work.

Related reading
A meditation expert's tips for beating your screen addiction
If you constantly feel stressed or burnt out, it might be time to disconnect from your devices and reconnect with the present.
Power over pain with mindfulness - better than a pill?
Mindfulness is the state of being aware of the present moment. Besides improving breathing and sleep, mindfulness meditation has now been shown to be an effective form of pain-relief. With this in mind, here are some handy apps that could help you become more mindful.
The 19 best apps to boost your health and wellbeing
Get running faster while zombies chase you; meditate to rain on a tin roof; scan barcodes to see the sugar hidden in food - all with your smartphone.