Gym owners love the month of January. This is when they see their memberships go up. Its how retailers feel throughout December. There is nothing wrong with working out in the gym in order to get healthy but that’s not the only way you can achieve some of those health goals. Here are 5 ways to improve your health outside of the gym.

Chew More

Rushing through a meal might help you get back to work but it’s not doing your health any favors. The more we chew, the easier it is for our bodies to absorb and digest what we’re eating. It also allows your brain to catch up with your stomach. By slowing down your chewing, you’ll be able to sense being fuller sooner. How many chews? 20 to 30 per bite is a good goal. Yes, that slow.

Pick Whole Versus Processed Food

Processed food is convenient food. It is in bag, box or can and ready to heat with a little reheating or straight up. It is also food that is loaded with extra sugar and sodium. Processed food also has a lot of “fillers” that aren’t do your body any good. Whole foods are the kinds of things without a of separation from the farm to the table. Fruits, nuts and veggies are all “whole.” Protein items like beans, fish and meat can be considered whole too because you’re taking charge of how you cook them. In other words, when you’re at the stove, you’re not adding what shouldn’t be in the food.

Get More Sleep

Sleep deprivation takes direct aim at our body’s hunger systems. Without the right amount of sleep, we don’t generate leptin. That’s the hormone that regulates our balance with regard to feeling full or starved. What happens when we feel starved? We tend to drift towards the sugary and sweet foods to satisfy the cravings. Less sleep means elevated blood sugar levels and that throws everything off.

Reduce Stress

Stress takes aim at our digestive systems. It throws everything out of whack. Chronic stress can create chronic problems. This is why it is so important to channel your stress in other directions. Meditating, yoga or even walking can help calm things down and make the stress fleeting. Don’t you always feel better after a little exercise and relaxation?

Cut Back Alcohol

Drinking to excess manifests problems in ways you can see immediately and in ways you will notice over time. Immediately, you can be hungover the following day which is going to throw off everything. Over the long time, excessive alcohol consumption can take aim at cognitive function and advance signs of aging because of broken blood vessels. Some alcohol is also very sugary. This doesn’t mean you have to give it up all together. Just stick to the one to two occasional drinks.

Changing up these habits can help give you health quest a boost.