As the world is in the throes of a global pandemic, there has never been a perfect time to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Understandably, sometimes this is easier said than done, but there are several things you can do right now to get fit. A healthy lifestyle means several different things for different people. Most generally, however, it incorporates healthy habits like exercise, eating the right food, and taking the right vitamins. Here are ten keys to a healthier lifestyle.
1. Identify Areas that Need Improvement
We all have areas of our life that need some work. Most of us also already know ways in which we can be healthier. While we know what “being healthy” entails, very few of us (only 3%!) meet all of the robust living criteria.
The first key to a healthier lifestyle is identifying where our lives are not healthy. Here are the four main things we can evaluate:
- Maintaining a healthy body weight (BMI 18-25)
- Not smoking
- Eating our fruits and veggies (at least five servings every day)
- Exercising 30 minutes or more, most days of the week (at least five)
2. Disrupt Unhealthy Habits
So, now that you know what areas of your lifestyle could use a little TLC, you can start to make those changes. It’s better to start small. If you end up not meeting your goals and feeling discouraged, there’s a chance you could revert to your old ways, or worse.
If you look at what you do daily, it can be easier to pinpoint certain activities or practices that can be avoided. Say, for instance, that you always pack a soda and a candy bar after your lunch break. If you’re aware of this, you can start packing an apple and a bottle of water instead. You might crave that sugar for the first couple of days, but eventually, your new habit will take over, and you’ll start craving that apple instead.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is a fundamental component of a healthy lifestyle. You know the saying you are what you eat? Well, this is undoubtedly the case. Do you want to be a bag of potato chips every day?
A poor diet can lead to a range of health problems, some of which can become fatal. Health complications like heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes are all on the rise. They can be avoided with a nutritious diet.
A healthy diet doesn’t mean that you’ll only be able to eat quinoa and kale salads for the rest of your life. Combined with regular exercise, you can still find balance and occasionally enjoy the sweet and savory treats you love.
4. Find an Exercise Routine that Works
Speaking of exercise, this is another way you can adopt a healthier lifestyle. Training is crucial for health, but it’s typically overlooked. The good news here is that even if you’ve never done a day of exercise in your life, it’s never too late to start!
That being said, you can also start where you’re at—no one’s expecting you to run a marathon anytime soon. The important thing is to find a routine that works with you and your schedule. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy doing and choose something that you can do regularly. Better yet, find an exercise buddy! Everything is always better with other people.
Here are a few exercise ideas:
- Moderate: Brisk walking
- Vigorous: Walking uphill or running
- Water: Treading water
- Moderate: Low-impact aerobic dancing
- Vigorous: Jumping rope
- Water: Swimming laps
- Moderate: Weight-lifting
- Vigorous: Stationary bicycling
- Water: Kayaking or canoeing
5. Supplement Your Diet with Vitamins
For decades, people have supplemented their diets with vitamins. This is an excellent way for those who might be deficient in specific vitamins and minerals to fulfill their needs, and it’s also a right way for even those who are healthy to maintain optimal nutrition.
Especially right now, vitamins have never been more critical. There has been significant evidence linking the use of vitamin D with benefits that might help someone fight COVID-19. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system and has been considered as one of the best ways to fight off viruses like SARS2COV.
6. Get Enough Quality Sleep
When your mom told you to go to sleep as a child, she was definitely on to something. Adequate sleep is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. We may always have something to do or that Netflix series to catch up on, but at least eight hours of sleep a night is more important.
Think about some of your habits after a lousy night of sleep—an extra cup of coffee, a donut for a sugar buzz to keep you up in the afternoon, and a fast food dinner because you’re too tired to cook. We’re never our best selves after a rough night of sleep. How you think, learn, and socialize with others is all impacted. Not only will you notice sleep deprivation in your daily life, but it can also lead to chronic health problems.
7. Find Ways to Manage Your Stress Levels
Most of us live in fast-paced and stressful environments. Many of us rarely take the time to evaluate and correct our stress levels, from hectic deadlines to constant stimulation. It becomes too easy to get caught up in trying to control everything (even those things that are out of our control), and over time, this takes a severe toll on our lives.
You can manage your stress by only focusing on things that are in your power to change. Take note of how you react to situations at work or words other people say, if they aren’t your problem, try to remember that. If you can’t change them, don’t worry about trying. If you need some support in tackling your stress levels, you can try meditation and breathing exercises.
8. Slow Down
Slowing down goes with managing your stress levels, but it’s so important that it deserves its section. How often do you slow down and simply enjoy the present moment? How often do you get outside or put your phone away while spending time with loved ones? How often do you feel the sun on your face or simply notice the stars at night?
Sometimes, the key to a healthier lifestyle isn’t about eating a particular food or buying a specific product, and it’s about simply being. Make time to enjoy your life, and your body will thank you for it.
9. Stay Hydrated.
Drink water. Around 60-70% of the human body is water. If that doesn’t tell you that staying hydrated is essential, we don’t know what will. Humans need water to survive. We need it to help regulate our body temperatures, metabolize our food, rid our bodies of waste, and keep our joints lubricated. Simply put, we need it for everything! Make sure you drink at least eight glasses of water every day.
10. Minimize Alcohol Consumption
On average, each American drinks about 2.3 gallons of alcohol every single year. This figure is on the rise, while moderate alcohol consumption may be an excellent way to celebrate or wind down, which harms our health.
Most alcohol only provides empty calories, which can lead to weight gain. Also, drinking, especially when excess can lead to side effects like high blood pressure, stroke, liver cancer, and heart disease. It can even lead to violence or automobile accidents. If you’re going to drink alcohol, do it safely and in moderation.