(BPT) - The last year and a half has been a strong reminder of the importance of good health. Statistics show that 73% of Americans consider their health and wellness a priority and are reevaluating their own lifestyle habits. In a recent survey of 13,000 people, (including 2,000 Americans), commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition and The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), 89% of respondents globally reported they are taking steps to improve their health.
As a result of the changes people have made, more than half of those surveyed said they are now able to exercise longer without feeling winded, and 48% have gone down a size or notch in their belt.
Many are now choosing to take their health into their own hands with healthy lifestyle changes - and no matter what changes individuals make, the journey to better health habits almost always begins with small steps.
Wondering what you can do to make a lasting change in your overall wellness? Here are five ways you can start improving your health habits today, with insight from Dr. Kent Bradley, chief health and nutrition officer at Herbalife Nutrition:
1. Eat with nutrition in mind
Improving health habits often starts in the kitchen, but maybe you need a few ideas to inspire you. Learning new recipes is easier than ever, with options just a keyword search away. There are hundreds of websites and instructional videos that offer great tutorials, and you can find recipes for virtually any ingredient to suit any taste or diet, whether it's paleo, vegetarian or vegan, taking the work out of discovering delicious and healthy new dishes.
2. Skip the junk food
Along with eating healthy foods, it's also important to cut down on, or remove, junk food from your diet. It's easy to reach for that bag of chips or find yourself in line at the drive-through when you haven't planned a healthy, delicious and filling meal at home. Successful meal prepping begins by making a list before you go shopping. This allows you to be thoughtful and intentional about what you purchase at the grocery store. Take a few minutes to plan out at least a few meals for the week ahead, perhaps referencing some of the ideas you saw in your search. Not only will you be more likely to eat healthier throughout the week, but you'll save money by avoiding takeout.
3. Take vitamins or supplements
Taking a daily supplement can help ensure your nutrient intake is complete. Supplements can help fill nutritional gaps year-round and some support your immunity. Supplements can also support other areas of wellbeing, whether you're looking for a pre-workout boost to help you reach for that next personal record, interested in getting enough protein to repair your muscles after a session of heavy lifting or just looking to maintain overall wellness. And according to the survey results, many respondents plan to incorporate more vitamins and supplements into their diet and 69% said they feel knowledgeable about the health benefits those can offer. However, 77% reported they would like to know more about the health benefits of different vitamins and supplements to incorporate into their health regimen.
4. Exercise more
Starting a new fitness routine can be a little daunting, but there are apps that can support you no matter your current fitness level. Free streaming sites like HerbalifeNutritionFitness.com can provide workouts and tips to help keep your training fun and safe so you can avoid injuries and stay consistent. Consider joining a local, outdoor running or walking group. Not only will you meet new people but working out with friends or like-minded people will help keep you accountable and on track to meet your goals. Whatever you do, choose an activity you enjoy and you'll be more likely to stick to it.
5. Prioritize sleep
Your sleep schedule plays a big role in weight maintenance and mental alertness. A lack of sleep can lead to an increase in appetite, which can quickly derail your wellness goals. On the flip side, getting the proper amount of sleep, which experts define as between 7-9 hours a night, can increase your metabolism, helping to burn off those extra calories throughout the day.
No matter where you are on your health and wellness journey, know that making improvements starts with small steps. Whether you've decided to make changes to your diet, exercise or meal planning routine, supplementation can benefit you by helping you meet your nutritional requirements. If you're looking for more information on how vitamins and supplements can help you, visit www.crnusa.org.