The thought of trying to make long-term healthy lifestyle changes can seem overwhelming. But all it takes to get started is one simple change, reports the October 2015 Harvard Health Letter. "There is a lot of power in starting slow and small. The little changes add up," says Dr. Michael Craig Miller, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. In other words, making a change for one week can lead to making another change the next week, and so on.
A good way to start is by walking 10 minutes per day for one week. Walking is one of the easiest and most effective ways to exercise. It can help lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can also strengthen bones and muscles, burn calories, and lift mood.
Another easy change is increasing fruit and vegetable intake. Just double the amount of either fruits or vegetables in the daily diet for one week. Easy ways to get more fruits and vegetables into the diet include having a piece of fruit for an afternoon snack or adding vegetables and legumes to omelets, sandwiches, or wild rice.
Making small changes in nighttime routines for one week can lead to better sleep. It may just be a matter of keeping a regular sleep-and-wake schedule, which can improve circadian rhythms, or shutting off electronic gadgets an hour and a half before bedtime.
Read the full-length article: "Improve your health by starting with one simple change"
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.