James Hauschildt on the Small Changes You Can Make for a Healthier Life

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Trying to live a fuller, healthier life can seem like a daunting task. The first idea that often comes to mind is massive lifestyle changes. Working out every day, never eating carbs again, cutting out sugar completely, etc. While these are good options, they aren’t the only solutions. Instead, several small lifestyle changes can be done which add together to make for a healthier lifestyle. These can be good for someone having trouble staying healthy or anyone looking to change some minor things to improve their overall health, without taking too much of a change to their lifestyle.

James Hauschildt, a former healthcare professional for the United States Air Force, knows that the hardest part of having a healthier life is getting started. We talked with Hauschildt to cover some of the small changes you can make to your daily routine that can have a significant and long-lasting impact.

Big Picture

1. Set attainable goals

Setting goals is a common part of working towards self-improvement – but setting the wrong goals can be detrimental to your success. Luckily, ensuring that doesn’t happen is an easy process. Make sure that you choose goals that are attainable… Goals that you want to accomplish (instead of those you feel you should accomplish) and set several small goals rather than one big one. For example, James Hauschildt says that if you want to get into running, don’t set the goal of “running a marathon”, but start by setting the goal of running a mile, and slowly build your way up. In no time at all you will be surprised by the progress you are making.

2. Do things as a group

When you decide to make a change, especially one that might be more difficult to stick to, tell those close to you about your plans. Having other people know about your new plans will help you to stay accountable and committed. James Hauschildt recommends finding a partner to go through these goals and changes. Having someone with you who is also attempting to make changes to their life will make both of you more likely to follow through on your goals and it will make the process more enjoyable.

3. Plan around obstacles

When starting anything new, take a small amount of time and think about potential obstacles that you may run into. Then, once you have identified a few, plan out some simple ways to get around them. For example, if you’re interested in meditation but finding the time is an issue, you could try scheduling a regular five-minute block every morning. Even if you cannot think of any obstacles at the time, they will inevitably occur, and planning can mitigate the challenges they pose later.

4. Get the right amount of sleep

Getting the correct seven to nine hours of sleep a night is more important than it seems. Lack of sleep (or oversleep) can cause major health problems, so make sure you get those extra couple hours. If you have trouble falling asleep, avoiding the blue light emitted from electronics in the last hour before you go to sleep, as that has been proven to help decompress.

5. Stay social

Recent studies have shown the importance of social relationships on a person’s overall health. The results show that people with close friends and family are often healthier and live longer than those who do not. James Hauschildt highlights that your friend group does not need to be large but having people that you can trust and rely on to spend some time with is critical to maintaining good mental health.

Fitness

1. Take a short walk after every hour of sitting

Sitting for long periods of time is one of those simple things that doesn’t seem unhealthy but can be very detrimental to your overall health in the long term – causing problems with muscle tension, joint pain, and overall posture. A simple fix to this that can tremendously improve your health and quality of life in the long term is to simply take a short walk. Every hour or so of sitting, take a brisk five-minute walk. James Hauschildt explains that not only does this help to break up the monotony of a long day in the office, but the physical exercise and the break from your chair will ensure that you don’t run into the health-related issues caused by long stretches of sitting.

2. Choose exercises you enjoy

Getting the motivation to go out and exercise can be difficult enough as it is, and it’s made even worse by choosing exercises that you feel you should do instead of those you want to do. If you find an exercise that you enjoy doing, do that instead of going for a run. Finding an exercise that you like, even if it burns fewer calories, it means that you’ll be more motivated to continue past the first two weeks. Regular exercise that you enjoy is far better than intermittent bouts of exercise that you dislike.

3. Set out specific time to exercise

Finding time to exercise can often be the biggest obstacle when trying to lead a healthier lifestyle. It can help to set out the same time to exercise and stick to it. For example, going to the gym every Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM before work is much easier to stick to than trying to fit your exercise in wherever you find the time.

4. Add exercise into your daily routine

If finding the time to dedicate to exercise is difficult, adding some simple exercise into your daily routine can help make a big difference. Take the stairs up when you get to the office, go for a walk during lunch, get off the bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way. 150 minutes of moderate activity is recommended for people to complete per week and adding some of that to your daily routine can make a noticeable difference.

5. Stretching after waking up

Doing some quick stretches in the morning after rolling out of bed can be a great addition to your help at the cost of just a few minutes a day. This helps to get your circulation going, raise your heart rate (which will help wake you up), and loosen up those stiff muscles and joints. James Hauschildt notes that you’ve just been lying in one place for eight hours, your body could use some stretching!

Food

1. Put your food away after serving

Overeating is one of the big hazards of living a healthier life. One simple solution is to put the remaining food away once you’ve portioned out your plate. It’s far easier to overeat when the food is staring you in the face, so getting it out of eyesight can reduce the likelihood that you do eat more than you intend to.

2. Drink a glass of water before eating

Hydration is important. However, it can often be hard to get enough water in a day. Drinking a glass of water before you eat a meal will not only ensure that you are getting a steady amount of water every day but will also help to keep you from overeating at a meal. By drinking water before eating, James Hauschildt notes that you will feel full after a healthier amount of food consumed.

3. Eat more good fats

Avocado, olive oil, and fish are just some examples of foods that are filled with good fats that have loads of benefits — lower cholesterol, feeling fuller (with less food), and losing weight. Integrating just a little more of these good fats into your meals can provide many benefits over the long run.

4. Eat a wide variety of foods

Eating a wide variety of different foods is an easy way to improve your overall health. Your body needs over 40 different nutrients, and you can’t get all of them eating the same thing. Changing it up here and there can be a great way of ensuring you get all the various nutrients your body needs.

5. Focus on whole grains

Carbs are an important part of a well-balanced diet. But eating too much processed carbohydrates can be detrimental. James Hauschildt recommends making a switch to multigrain or whole wheat as a simple way to get some extra nutrients and more fib

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