Most people want to live a healthy and happy life, but what is a healthy lifestyle, exactly? What specific habits should you adopt to be your best self? Television, magazines, and the internet are practically bursting at the seams with healthy lifestyle facts. It can all feel so overwhelming. Not to mention the fact that while being healthy, you’ve also somehow got to fit the rest of your life into the mix. Here’s some good news. The steps to a healthy lifestyle aren’t rocket science, and you don’t have to dedicate hours a day to keep your body, mind, and soul in good shape. Instead, turning a few simple actions into lifestyle habits can go a long way toward dramatically improving your quality of life.
Below are 10 tips for a healthy lifestyle. None of these habits should be surprising. You’ve no doubt seen them before, but if you have yet to embrace each suggestion and incorporate it into your life fully, now is the time.
Tip 1 – Move
The human body is made to move. In fact, it needs to move for you to stay healthy and happy. If there was ever a “magic bullet” for physical health, exercise would be it. Regular cardio exercise has been shown to:
- Improve your heart health
- Boost your mood
- Prevent high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes
- Improve your sleep
- Burn calories and prevent weight gain
It doesn’t take much movement to improve your health. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) suggests that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. Exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, or using an elliptical trainer can all do the trick. You can also use these tips to live a more active life.
Tip 2 – Lift
One of the best ways to preserve your strength and mobility as you age and to prevent age-related injuries is to add resistance training (also sometimes called strength training or weightlifting) into your weekly routine. This doesn’t mean you need to start squatting with huge barbells on your back. You can perform resistance training using bodyweight movements, resistance bands, or free weights, like kettlebells or dumbbells.
The DHHS recommends that adults perform resistance training on all major muscle groups twice a week. The next time you are at the gym, add resistance training after your cardio routine. Not sure how to begin a resistance training workout? Try signing up for a strength-building group exercise class at your gym.
Tip 3 – Stretch
Prepare your body for a workout by performing dynamic (moving) warmup stretches. This can include a slow jog around a track, high-knees, butt-kickers, arm circles, and more. Warming up will increase your heart rate gradually and warm your muscles so that you will be ready to work.
When you finish your workout, help your body return to normal with a series of cooldown stretches. Slow, easy movements and static stretches come into play here. This is also a wonderful time for a short yoga session, which will also help you improve flexibility, coordination, and body awareness.
Tip 4 – Eat Healthy
If you are struggling with your weight or are at risk of a lifestyle disease, one of the best ways to improve your health is to reform your eating habits. (Hint: crash diets don’t work!)
Instead, focus on switching out the unhealthy foods you eat for healthier foods. First, stay away from processed foods that are high in sugar and sodium, as well as, most things that come out of fast-food restaurants. Next, start making more meals at home. Focus on eating lean proteins, leafy vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain carbs.
Eat mindfully, stopping when you’re full. Adding healthy snacks to your day, like a handful of nuts or veggies with peanut butter, will stave off hunger. Plus, this step will help you not overeat at mealtime. Take a look at these cheat meals that are actually good for you.
Tip 5 – Drink More Water
One of the sneaky ways people tend to consume far more calories than they realize is through what they drink. Sugary soft drinks and high-calorie juices are packed with calories that will spike your blood sugar without making you feel full. Even that morning latte that gets you going could be adding hundreds of calories to your daily count.
Drink more water. The Mayo Clinic suggests that women try to sip 11.5 cups of water a day, while men should down 15.5 cups. Your body thrives on water, and drinking adequate amounts of water can help you feel refreshed and alert. It will also help you keep your daily calorie count down.
Miss the flavor or fizz of your favorite drinks? Add a no-calorie, no-sugar flavor pack to your water or try sparkling water.
Tip 6 – Sleep More
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, over 10 percent of Americans consistently receive too little sleep, while 70 percent of Americans receive less sleep than desired at least one night a week. Sleep is critical to good health. While you sleep, your body repairs and rejuvenates itself. That includes releasing necessary hormones, saving memories, flushing out waste, and building up your muscles after your resistance training sessions.
No wonder that getting more sleep can help your mind feel sharper, boost your mood, lower your risk of disease, and even improve your athletic performance. Adults should try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.
If you have trouble sleeping, do something relaxing before bed, like meditation or reading a book. Turn off your devices and try to go to bed at the same time each night.
Tip 7 – Socialize
“We are social animals by nature, so we tend to function better when we’re in a community and being around others,” noted Dr. Craig Sawchuk in an article for the Mayo Clinic. To protect your emotional health, building and maintaining strong relationships is key. That goes for introverts, too. Dr. Sawchuk suggests that those who isolate themselves are at a higher risk of depression, while those who socialize with friends and family tend to have an increased sense of happiness and well-being.
Of course, that comes with a caveat. The people in your life should be supportive and lift you up instead of tearing you down. Now is the time to introduce yourself to your neighbors, say hello to the new person at work, and give your old friends a call. Why not ask your best friend to be your gym buddy and socialize while you exercise?
Tip 8 – Be Grateful
Even when the world feels uncertain, you always have the power to change your perspective. A great way to improve your mental health is to focus on adding more gratitude in your life. Everyone can opt to be grateful for something, whether that is a wonderful partner, a loving friend, or even the smile of a cashier at the grocery store.
A great way to focus on the positive is to start a gratitude journal. Spend five or 10 minutes a day writing a list of things, occurrences, or people you feel grateful for each day. Even this simple practice can shift your perspective and boost your mood. Write letters of gratitude to your friends and family members to take it to the next level.
According to Psychology Today, more gratitude will improve your:
- Physical health
- Psychological health
- Mental strength
Tip 9 – Reduce Stress
According to a 2010 American Psychological Association report, 44 percent of Americans reported an increase in feelings of stress. This, notably, was before all the upheaval of the year 2020. Now, more than ever, Americans have reasons to feel stressed, but stress can also be a self-fulfilling destiny.
The Mayo Clinic notes that stress causes:
- Digestive problems
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- And more
All of these symptoms can cause even more stress, creating a vicious cycle. You can’t control everything that’s happening in the world, but you can control many factors in your life, including how you react to them. Consider the main stressors in your life and how you can manage or eliminate them.
Are you still friends with a toxic person who always causes drama? It might be time to ease them out of your life. Does the news bring you down? Then lower your news diet. Is your work commute soul-crushing? Why not search for a job closer to home or even consider moving? It’s a big step, but your health and happiness are priceless.
Finally, find ways to care for yourself throughout the day. Carve out time for yourself to take a bubble bath, meditate, or read. You can even grab five minutes on your lunch break to practice mindful breathing.
Tip 10 – Cheat
These 10 tips for a healthy lifestyle can certainly turn your life around, but that doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. As Oscar Wilde is purported to have said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” Follow healthy lifestyle habits most of the time.
Give yourself permission to enjoy your life, as long as you stick with your healthy lifestyle habits for the majority of the time. Now it’s time to stop reading and start incorporating these steps to a healthy lifestyle to your days. EōS Fitness can help. Find a gym near you today.