There have been many times when we had good intentions and decided to make major lifestyle changes. Lose 20 pounds. Start exercising each day by joining a gym.

Although we should strive for these kinds of health goals, it doesn’t mean that we have to make huge strides on the path to better health.

You can also take smaller steps that will improve your quality of life and overall health. They are easy to incorporate into your daily routine, and they will last for the long term. Even if you only have a few minutes, you can still improve your overall health and well-being.

These strategies and activities can be incorporated into your daily life. These simple steps can have a huge positive impact on your overall health.

1. Enjoy de-stressing.

Experts recommend regular exercise and meditation to reduce stress. Relaxing can be as easy as listening to soothing music, reading, or soaking in a hot bath with your pet.

This is wise advice to remember because stress can lead to or exacerbate many health problems, such as heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, and depression, as well as ulcers, irritable stool syndrome, migraines, obesity, and heart disease.

Are you short on time? Shouldn’t stress you. Even short periods of relaxation can be as beneficial as exercise.

Even if you only have 10 minutes to spend doing something that you love, it can make a big difference in your ability to beat the stressors of daily life. You will feel calmer, refreshed, and energized if you just read a chapter or take your dog for a walk around the block.

You don’t have to take a complete break from what you are doing. Take a few deep, slow breaths and enjoy the moment. It helps to slow down your breathing and relax. This relaxation response releases chemicals in the body that reduce stress and improve immunity.

Deep breathing can help lower your resting heartbeat. People with lower resting heart rates are more likely to be in good physical condition than people with higher rates.

2. Get rid of the salt.

Saltshakers placed on the dining room table can make it easy to eat too much salt. This can cause high blood pressure. Keep the saltshaker in a cupboard or pantry, and only use it when you are cooking.

It is a good idea also to taste your food before salting it. It may not need as much salt.

Also, you can spice up your food by adding lemon juice, garlic, red bell pepper flakes, herbs, or a salt-free seasoning mix. You can stock your pantry and fridge with fresh and dried herbs to enhance the flavor of your food.

3. Sleep earlier

Many of us don’t get the seven hours or more of sleep that adults need.

A lack of sleep can increase your chances of suffering a stroke or heart attack over time. This is true regardless of your age, your weight, or your exercise habits.

You can get more sleep if you go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night if you are consistently tired. You should also establish a sleep-and-wake routine and follow it, even on the days when you aren’t there.

4. Enjoy a glass of red wine

Research has shown that red wine’s powerful antioxidants can protect against anxiety, depression, heart disease, and colon cancer. If you don’t have a medical reason to avoid drinking, you can enjoy a glass of Merlot with your evening meal. You can also toast your good health.

Be careful to drink moderately. A small number of red wines can have health benefits. However, excessive alcohol, even red wine, can lead to a host of health problems, including liver disease, kidney disease, and cancer.

Particularly women need to be cautious about their alcohol consumption. Women are at greater risk for liver problems than men and are, therefore, more likely to have liver problems when they consume less alcohol.

A healthy man should not consume more than one drink per day. Women, however, should have only one daily alcoholic beverage.

5. Your posture and ergonomics should be checked.

Take a moment to reevaluate your posture next time you are at work or on the phone. Next, straighten your back and tuck your stomach. Then place your feet flat on a hard surface. It will make you feel more relaxed immediately.

This is a quick way to avoid back pain, which is a major cause of disability and one of the most common problems in America.

If you work at a computer or at a desk, consider the ergonomics of your workspace — how you move and fit in your environment — to prevent back strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, and other occupational injuries.

You can make simple adjustments to your workspace, such as moving the monitor to the right position, changing to a more supportive chair, and taking frequent breaks throughout the day for stretching exercises. This will help you create a more healthy and more comfortable environment.

6. Do a crossword puzzle.

Researchers from RUSH discovered that mental challenges such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and Sudoku could have a protective effect on the brain.

Research shows that engaging your mind regularly may reduce your chance of developing dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Are you not a fan of puzzles and games? You don’t have to give up on puzzles or games. There are other ways you can maintain your brain health. You can eat with the non-dominant hand. Take a different route to work. Connect with others — being socially active may help prevent dementia.

7. You can weigh in.

A healthy weight can reduce your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and other types of cancer. Women should not gain weight. It will reduce the likelihood of developing future pelvic floor problems.

Women who deliver babies via the vaginal route are at greater risk of developing pelvic floor disorder. A recent study has shown that even those who have not had a vaginal delivery are more likely to experience urinary stress incontinence after becoming overweight or obese.

8. You can make a few substitutions in your diet.

  • For healthier whole grains, you can swap white bread, pasta, crackers, and rice for healthier versions.
  • Instead of using skin-on chicken or turkey, use skinless turkey and chicken in your recipes. Also, choose leaner cuts of meat, such as beef and pork.
  • One sugary beverage (soda or juice, etc.) can be replaced with a tall glass of water. Each day, drink a tall glass of water.
  • You can snack on almonds, cashews, whole fruits, carrot sticks, or hummus if you feel hungry in between meals. This is a healthier option than reaching for potato chips or candy bars.

You can also add non-starchy vegetables to your daily diet.

Do you want a snack? You can snack on a carrot instead of a cookie. Making dinner for your family? Instead of mashed potatoes, serve broccoli or spinach as side dishes. Green peas can be added to brown rice, or you can add slices of yellow or red pepper to your sandwich.

Vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, are great for you. There’s another reason to include more vegetables in your diet. They are high in fiber, rich in water, and will leave you satisfied without adding calories or fat.

You can find many great recipes online and in books, including the content hub of RUSH, for delicious yet healthy vegetable dishes.

9. Go up the stairs.

If you need to go up to a higher level, don’t use the elevator. Instead, climb the stairs. This will get your blood pumping and your lower body muscles working.

This is a great way of adding physical activity to your day without needing to make time for exercise. Stepping up to 10,000 steps per day is a good goal.

These small steps can make a big difference in your health.

10. It’s possible to stretch it.

Regular stretching of your muscles can help you prevent injuries, keep your body limber, and allow you to move freely with age.

Stretch out for a few moments before and after your exercise. Take a few breaks if you don’t feel like working out. You can find a quiet place in your office where you won’t be disturbed. Are you always on the move? You can find natural ways to stretch in your daily life, such as getting out of your car or reaching for something high at the store.

Stretching before you go to bed can help relieve tension and get you to sleep.

Balance exercises, such as Tai Chi, can dramatically lower your chance of falling.

Looking ahead

It’s never too late or too early to start healthy habits.

You can start a foundation for a lifetime in good health when you are young. Healthy habits are a way to prevent future diseases and keep you from getting them.