Making a healthy change in your life doesn't have to be a big deal -- even small things make a difference in your overall well-being. Try these suggestions for manageable updates with big rewards.
1. Add a 10-minute walk to your daily routine
Studies show that even moderate amounts of exercise help stave off conditions like heart disease and cancer. And even if you're strapped for time -- or out of shape -- a 10-minute walk should be doable. Whether it's first thing in the morning, in place of your afternoon coffee break or right after dinner, a quick, brisk walk will help you stay healthy and burn off extra calories. (For more tips, read about 10 ways to sneak exercise into your day.)
2. Eat more seeds
If you're anything like the average North American, chances are good that you eat too many bad fats and not enough of the good ones. Try balancing the scales a bit by adding a tablespoon of heart-healthy flaxseeds or hemp seeds to your breakfast. Remember to grind the flaxseeds first (try using a blender or coffee grinder) -- your body can't digest them otherwise. (Read about 9 ways to add healthy fat to your diet.)
3. Take the family apple-picking
While an apple a day may not keep the doctor away entirely, it does offer a host of nutrients and tons of fibre -- and at this time of year, apples are at their freshest and most delicious. Get them at their best by visiting an orchard and picking them yourself -- you can't beat the combination of fresh fall air, exercise and just-picked fruit.
4. Go for greener cleaners
As the weather gets cooler and you keep the windows shut more often, your indoor air will have less of a chance to circulate. Keep it healthy by clearing out your chemical-laden cleaning products and replacing them with more natural solutions. Read about some of your options at www.styleathome.com and www.care2.com.
5. Find a new way to stay fit
There's no surer way to lose fitness motivation than to be bored. Shake things up this fall by signing up for a new class. Whether it's ballet, ballroom dancing or body sculpt, trying something different will ensure that you stay interested.
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6. Check your water bottle
While the jury's still out on the health risks of drinking from certain types of plastics, it's better to be safe than sorry. So replace your hard plastic bottle with one made from stainless steel or aluminum -- one popular brand is Sigg, whose stylish aluminum bottles are lined with a taste-neutral inner coating.
7. Try a new vegetable
Variety's key when it comes to nutrition. From artichokes to zucchini, each veggie offers a unique range of vitamins and minerals -- so to boost your health, it's important to change things up. Why not buy something you've never tried before? Then when you come home from the store or market, search online to find out how to prepare it -- a culinary adventure awaits! (Try check out ouf food section for inspiration and ideas.)
8. Cut back on driving
It's estimated that air pollution is responsible for 16,000 premature deaths in Canada every year -- and vehicle use is a significant contributor to our poor air quality. You don't have to make a major change to make a difference (imagine how much cleaner the air would be if we all drove 10 minutes less every day!). Look at the small things you can do, from keeping your car well-tuned to not idling to cutting back on how long you let it "warm up" in the morning. (Check out these 7 easy ways to fight smog.)
9. Get more sleep
Come on, be honest. Do you get as much sleep as you'd like? If you're like most Canadians, the answer is probably no. It isn't just a matter of snoozing enough to get by -- sufficient sleep is essential for your health. Up your rest time by even 20 minutes a night and you'll feel the difference.
10. Change your makeup
If you can't remember when you bought your current tube of mascara, then it's time to replace it -- not to mention the other probably bacteria-laden items in your cosmetics bag. Think of it as an excuse to go shopping for new fall colours. For tips on what to buy, read our article on makeup application tips and fall makeup trends.
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