The idea of practicing a healthy lifestyle is certainly not a new concept but has gained considerable traction in recent years. A couple of generations ago kids were often taught about the “four food groups” and encouraged to go outside for fresh air and exercise. This was not bad advice, just somewhat limited in scope when we compare it to the wealth of information we currently enjoy.
Advice for eating right and engaging in physical activity has burgeoned beyond these simple directives to lengthy options and opportunities to create a lifestyle that can include targeted nutrition, cardio, and strength training, as well as social and emotional well-being. We are now motivated to incorporate all of these components into our daily lives.
But still, it’s not always easy. In fact, sometimes what we want and what we actually do can be two very different things. When we make the decision to swap out some bad habits for healthier habits or to improve upon some goals we have been working toward, a supportive environment can be key in helping us along our journey to optimum health.
Find Your Family and Friends
These folks are in your life because they are already your support and inspiration. Take the time to share your health goals and ask them for some encouragement to motivate you while you make positive changes. They can help provide some gentle accountability as you adjust your diet or add more physical activity.
Healthy lifestyle goals can be easier to achieve and maintain when your family and friends join in on the fun- and the process should be fun because if not, then success might be fleeting. There are numerous ways they can cheer you on or directly participate to make changes for themselves.
Mindful eating can include meal planning and shopping for ingredients together. Meal prep as well as cooking and sharing meals not only provides the benefits of eating something delicious made from your own hands but can also provide learning opportunities for those who might have dietary restrictions for issues like food intolerances or allergies.
Sometimes ramping up an exercise plan can feel lonely, but when shared with others a fitness class or a long bicycle ride can feel achievable and a bit less difficult when you have partners enjoying the same benefits. Sharing fitness goals can be as simple as taking a walk in your neighborhood or as exciting as planning to run in a 5K.
Strength in Numbers
Building your circle of interest and support can easily extend beyond your home. Sharing the components of your lifestyle to a broader audience will assist in your own accountability as well as promote the health benefits of proper nutrition and exercise.
The use of social media to engage your community is uniquely efficient in attracting a wide range of people. Some approaches to encourage friends and neighbors to join in healthy lifestyle practices can include:
- Organize neighborhood walks or walking tours around your city.
- Encourage visiting farmers’ markets to buy fresh produce and support local merchants.
- Create a blog discussing strategies to improve eating and exercise habits
- Post about recipes or meal plans you have tried and recommend.
- Ask for advice like what is the best walking shoe, where can I find locally-made honey, or how can I add colorful veggies to my diet. Folks will provide helpful comments!
- Host a baking night where you and your friends get together and swap healthy baking recipes.
Lead by Kind Example
Building a healthy lifestyle community begins and ends with creating and sharing a common purpose for improving overall well-being. These collective goals can have enormous effects on boosting physical and mental health, reducing stress, enhancing a sense of belonging, and forming strong family and social connections. Be cognizant that not everyone is at the same place along this journey therefore practicing kindness and empathy is essential for everyone’s well-being.
Simple changes or extensive long-term goals. It all starts with you and sharing with those around you.
If you're looking for healthy baking recipes, finding an online community can be a great resource for not only ideas but also advice on how to make healthy food taste good.