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Small Changes, Big Results: 10 Powerful Health Habits

With all the fast-fix health fads available, it’s hard to cut through the clutter and navigate what can realistically improve your well-being. One thing that's effective? Making small changes that can be implemented daily to create lasting habits that pay off. We reached out to local experts for ideas you can tackle today for big results you’ll see, and feel, instantly.

“Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Create boundaries in your personal and professional life to make sure—at least one hour prior to sleep—all family [obligations] and work is done for the day and dinner has been eaten. Consider taking magnesium glycinate, turning off all light-emitting devices, and ensuring your bedroom is dark, cool, and comfy.” —Aly V. Johnston, FNP-BC, Well by AM Nursing,

Ensure your bedroom is dark, cool, and comfy.


“Think of your mental and physical health as if it was an appointment you couldn’t miss. You wouldn’t dare miss a dentist appointment or work meeting, so why would you skip out on your health? By simply putting it on your calendar (and getting a friend to join you), you’re more likely to lace up those shoes and go on that afternoon walk. Whether you use an old-fashioned planner or your smartphone, pick a time of day where you can sneak in even just 20 minutes of fitness. Your physical and mental health will both improve drastically.” —Heather Crivellone, Personal Trainer, Roseville Health & Wellness Center,

“The positive effects of deep, conscious breathing on your brain—typically involving an out-breath (through your mouth) that is longer than an in-breath (through your nose)—are well known and can provide an immediate calming effect on your central nervous system, making you less reactive [to stressful situations].” —Pamela Connor, Functional Nutritionist, Connor Wellness Clinic,

There are positive effects of deep, conscious breathing on your brain


“Observe your digital health by avoiding screens within three hours of bedtime to support the body’s natural rhythms, including sleep and appetite.” —Devon L. Gaston, DC, MC, DACNB, Passport 2 Health,

“Exercise—technically any activity that gets your heart rate up—has a positive impact on both mental and physical health and allows you to better handle stressful situations. It can be hard to get started, but even going for a walk will help you reap the benefits.” —Melissa Lao, MD, Dignity Health Mercy Medical Group,

“When you’re constantly striving for perfection, you miss out on all the little moments that can potentially bring joy. Practice staying in the moment by observing and describing it with your five senses: watch, touch, listen, smell, and taste.” —Holly Spotts, PsyD, Full Cup Wellness,

“Intentional exercise is great, but it's the little things that make the biggest difference—parking a little farther away at the grocery store, taking the stairs, and getting up from your desk for a lap around the office or your neighborhood. Aim for 7,500-8,000 steps per day. These things add up big time!” —Anna Schoener, Head Performance Coach, ISI Elite Training,

“Movement should be mindful. Yoga is an opportunity to connect the breath—easily and effortlessly—to the mind, body, and spirit. It means letting go of the daily grind of all outside experiences and journeying inward to your own true self. When the body moves without engagement of the brain, only muscles are nourished. When the body moves with the mind, injury is prevented, due to the proper posture and skeletal alignment, while coordination and skills are increased. When breath, mind, body, and spirit all work together synergistically, you’ll feel more connected, stronger, and exude more joy.” —Tammie Fairchild, Founder & CEO, Serenity Spa | Soul Yoga,

“Whether you want to lose weight, reduce your blood sugar levels, sleep better, or simply have more energy, planning and prepping meals [has myriad benefits], including less overeating, since meals are portion-controlled; eliminating headaches and blood sugar drops from not meal skipping or waiting too long between meals; and weight loss from not grabbing unhealthy food when hunger hits.” —Paula Hendricks Padla, Nutrition Consultant, Hendricks for Health,

"Oral health is linked to overall health and well-being. Taking care of your mouth [brushing and flossing] generally leads to the entire body being [taken care of] in a healthy, disease-free manner. Scheduling two dental visits per year could end up lowering your risk of several general health-related illnesses, so make sure to stay on top of your teeth.” —Amar Pawar, DDS, Pawar Dental Corporation, 

Oral health is linked to overall health and well-being.


by Melissa Strand
Top photo © Galyna Chyzh - Bottom photo © -