Bad health habits can creep back into your life quicker than you think. You sleep a little weird one night, miss your morning yoga session, and now you’re feeling more anxious than usual. You grab a donut from the break room to battle workday stress and say yes to the office happy hour you’d normally skip. Everything spirals, and three months later, you can’t remember the last time you went to the gym. You’re lethargic and unfocused, with this random pain in your hip.
It can be overwhelming getting your health back on track. You know you need to eat better and get more exercise, but you can’t get it together enough to decide where to start. Every time you think you’ve landed on the perfect plan, you quit a few days in, from lack of motivation. The good news is, while you’ve been struggling to get off the couch, health experts have still been hard at work. Here are six new health hacks that prove well-being doesn’t have to be tricky.
1. Eat Protein to Improve Your Focus
You probably already know that a high-protein diet is great for building muscle and boosting fat loss and metabolism. You may also know that it can prevent osteoporosis and speed up recovery time after injury or exercise. But protein intake could also improve other major symptoms, like your mental acuity, especially if you have ADHD. While more research is needed, significant anecdotal evidence suggests protein increases concentration and reduces certain ADHD medication side effects, especially when eaten at breakfast.
2. Chew On Some Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is believed to be beneficial for a host of health symptoms. Regular users report it helps them with everything from eczema to heartburn. Some research also shows it may lower blood sugar and cholesterol, improve gut health, and help with fat loss. But some folks really can’t stomach the taste, and drinking it can erode your teeth over time. If gulping vinegar straight from the bottle isn’t for you, ACV gummies might be a better bet.
3. Drink Mindful Mocktails
It might seem a little obvious, but — surprise, surprise — not drinking is great for your health. While sobriety has been an option for years, health conscious individuals, bars, and beverage-makers are starting to make it more appealing. Enter mindful mocktails: non-alcoholic drinks with ingredients that actually boost health and well-being, like antioxidant superfruits, kombucha, and turmeric. Make one at home, try one in a can, or sip one in a large city where sober-bars abound.
4. Sweat It Out in an Infrared Sauna
The Finns have been reaping the health benefits of saunas for the last several thousand years. And now more people know just a few short sauna sessions a week can have incredible health benefits. Sauna-bathing has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of stroke, and combat headaches.
But some people can’t stand the heat, which is where infrared saunas come in. Operating at much lower temperatures than traditional saunas, infrared saunas heat just you, instead of all the air around you. They have many of the same health benefits, with less of the discomfort.
5. Listen Your Troubles Away
Music is an incredible de-stressor and mood booster. Science and common sense confirm it. But recent research suggests that sound and music can have more targeted effects. Binaural beats have been shown to alter brain waves in ways that improve mood, decrease anxiety, and boost creativity. Brown and pink noise are thought to improve sleep and focus, especially in people with ADHD.
6. Sync with Your Cycle
Many integrative nutritionists and influencers now suggest aligning diet and exercise habits with the phases of your menstrual cycle. Solid research shows that hormone fluctuations affect appetite, energy levels, mood, and sleep. It’s also true that exercise performance can suffer during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle.
And while the research isn’t in yet on specific cycle-syncing diets, junk food and sugar can aggravate premenstrual syndrome. Try out a reasonable plan that emphasizes healthy foods and movement. There’s almost no risk, and you could feel a whole lot better.
7. Exercise in the In-Between
It can be tough to get all spandex-ed up and drag yourself to the gym. But you may not need to in order to reap the benefits of regular exercise. No rule says you have to get all your cardio or weight training in during a specific hour of the day. Instead, try “incidental exercise,” or peppering your schedule with little moments of movement when you can. Walking pads are a popular choice, but you can also dance or lift weights between meetings or Netflix episodes.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking good health has to be a massive undertaking. But small, incremental changes are scientifically proven to be the most effective way to improve your long-term health. To reap the most benefit from any new health and fitness plan, adopt one tiny change at a time, and stick to it until it becomes an automatic habit. The ideas above are perfect, manageable places to start. Supplement them with the obvious: fruits, vegetables, and a full night of sleep whenever possible.
With renewed cultural interest in self-care and well-being, more health innovations are introduced each day. Tons of new products, technologies, and trends exist to make feeling good even easier. Sure, you can’t follow every social media fitness fad, but it’s nice to know you have so many great options. And it’s even better to feel like the whole world is with you on this journey.