By the Wild Women On Top Team | Experts in hiking adventures for women
If you followed all the health advice you read on the internet, you’d never leave the house. Exercise daily. Make gut-healing bone broth every week. Learn to meditate. Become a vegan. Overhaul your toxic skincare. Buy paraben free shampoo. Try intermittent fasting... or how about time restricted feeding? Quit coffee. Try oil pulling.
But when we’re bombarded with health tips that feel unachievable, expensive and totally over the top, we can get overwhelmed. No matter how great they might be, if we can’t follow them, they’re useless.
But there are some great, easy, free and fun ways to improve your health today – if you know where to look. Choose one (or all) of these and do them today.
1. Go outside and immerse yourself in nature
Put your phone away and spend five minutes in the park, by the coast, in a forest or just staring at the sky. Research shows nature helps to improve memory, relieve stress, restore mental energy, reduce inflammation, improve concentration, improve vision, improve creativity, make you smarter, improve your immune system and can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. And you don’t even have to do anything – just sit.
2. Deep belly breathing
When you breathe slowly and deeply into your belly, it signals to your body that you’re safe. Deep belly breathing calms anxiety, dulls pain, relieves stress, improves blood flow, increases energy and improves overall health. And it’s so easy to do.
3. Give someone a long hug
Hugging is fun and feels good, but it’s also great for your health! Hugging is scientifically proven to strengthen the immune system, elevate mood, reduce loneliness, boost self-esteem, reduce tension, relax muscles, balance the nervous system and strengthen relationships.
4. Chat to a friend
Humans thrive on connection – our relationships are key to our health and happiness. So, spend a few minutes building yours. Tell a funny story to a workmate, meet a friend for coffee or call your mum. It will give you both a boost.
5. Drink a glass of water
Drinking water is a fantastic way to ensure you’re feeling (and looking!) your best. Being hydrated will immediately improve digestion, improve mood, prevent headaches, energise you, improve kidney function and keep you alert. It also keeps your skin clear and supple. Aim for 8-12 glasses (2-3 litres) today.
6. Go for a gentle walk
A gentle walk or hike is a fantastic way to improve your health today. It doesn’t need to be hard or arduous, just getting your legs moving in the fresh air is an immediate health-booster. Walking lifts your mood, improves creativity and increases mental acuity – and it’s fun! Grab a friend, plug in a podcast or just walk with your thoughts – and enjoy the health and happiness benefits.
7. Pay it forward
Doing something for somebody makes you happier but it doesn’t have to be fancy. Simple things like inviting a friend to join your walk, saving the last mouthful of a treat for your partner, washing a work mate’s coffee cup, smiling at a stranger or just remembering somebody’s name are all ways to get a boost of happiness.
8. Take a nap
The Mediterraneans have it right - a little siesta might be just what you need. Just ten minutes of napping is scientifically proven to rejuvenate you, improving your overall health and wellbeing.
9. Speak positively to yourself and others
Give yourself and one other person a genuine compliment. It doesn't need to be complicated, but it's better if it's not looks based. For example, you might say to yourself: "I made an excellent, delicious, nourishing lunch - go me!" Or "I loved the way you expressed that idea" to a colleague after a meeting. If all else fails, I love "You look so happy!" There’s a whole industry devoted to helping us learn to speak positively to ourselves and others, so start by having one happy thought that you share with somebody else.
10. Fill half your plate with green veggies
The more goodness we add into our diet, the more health and vitality we have to give! It can be as simple as a handful of spinach or as fancy as steamed beans with flaked almonds, lemon and olive oil. If all else fails, just add some peas and a dollop of butter - yum!
Health doesn't have to hard, and it doesn't have to wait until tomorrow, next week or next year. You can boost your wellbeing and feel great TODAY, right now, with these easy, small habits. What are you waiting for?