10 Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Want to get healthier, more fit, look and feel better?
Even though DNA has a lot to do with our body types, it more likely that those fit bodies you admire are more because of everyday healthy habits rather than good ol’ genetics. On the contrary, it’s the healthy habits we choose to do every day that add up and get us closer to our goals or back us further away from them.
Though many of us live stressful, demanding lives, with just a little tweaking here and there, we can develop habits that will help us live healthier and more productive lives. And it doesn’t have to be hard, either! A few small tweaks to your daily routine is all you need to help kick your butt into gear and to keep it moving.
Your daily routine influences your quality of rest. Your sleep schedule and bedtime habits affect your mental sharpness, performance, emotional well-being and energy level. It’s best if you can maintain a consistent time for waking and going to bed. Better health is a result of just a little extra planning.
If you’ve been leading an unhealthy lifestyle, it may be unrealistic to attempt to switch to better habits overnight. One option is to focus on adopting just 1 habit first and that may lead to you adopting more, or perhaps even all, of them. For example, if you quit smoking, you may find you have more stamina to exercise.
- Drink more water – Hydrating first thing in the morning is one of the best healthy habits to adopt. It can do so many good things for you. Staying hydrated is at the top of the list, but it may also help you lose weight. Sugary drinks are linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes. If you are not a fan of plain water, add flavor with slices of orange, lemon, lime, watermelon, or cucumber.
- Eat Breakfast – Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, helping you burn calories throughout the day. It also gives you the energy you need to get things done and helps you focus at work or at school. Those are just a few reasons why it’s the most important meal of the day.
Many studies have linked eating breakfast to good health, including better memory and concentration, lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and lower chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, and being overweight.
- Eat whole foods – Make it your goal to have most of your nourishment come from unprocessed, real foods that are as close to the source as possible. Whole foods fill your body with more vitamins and minerals, the nutrition we need to stay healthy on the inside.
- Plan your meals – Never assume that there will be a healthy option when you eat away from home. Always be prepared. Check out the restaurant menu ahead of time, pack healthy snacks, bring a lunch, bring a healthy dish to share, or eat something small before so you aren’t starving. You are in control of your health. It’s not anyone else’s responsibility to make sure there is something nutritious for you to nosh on.
- Exercise more – Strength training helps your body trade fat for muscle mass. That means you’ll burn more calories even when you’re being a couch potato. But these workouts can also help you slim down, strengthen your heart, and build up your bones. Do strength-training exercises — like push-ups, lunges, and weight lifting — at least 3 times a week.
- Go offline – Most people spend (waste) countless hours every day staring into their phone screens looking at pictures or videos. Set a time to log off and put the phone down. When you cut back on screen time, it frees you to do other things. Read a book, go for a walk or spend quality time with your friends and family. Live interactions are seemingly rare now days.
- Sleep well – There are almost too many benefits to list. A good night’s sleep keeps you in a better mood, sharpens memory and focus, and helps you learn new things. In the long term, it lowers your risk of heart disease and helps you keep trim. Aim to get 7 to 9 hours a night. For the best rest, do it on schedule — turning in and waking up at about the same times every day.
- Spend more time outdoors – A few minutes in the sunshine raises vitamin D levels, and that’s good for your bones, your heart, and your mood. Plus, being outside means you’re more likely to move your body instead of parking it in front of the TV or computer. Choose nature over city streets if you can.
- Learn something new – New skills help keep your brain healthy. Sign up for a dance class or a creative writing workshop. Better yet, master a new language. The mental work it takes can slow the signs of aging and may even delay the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Manage Stress – Stress is an inevitable—even healthy— part of life. A little bit of short-term stress has actually been shown to sharpen our cognitive skills and strengthen our immune system; long-term, chronic stress, however, can really take a toll on our health, compromising our sleep, immune system, physical health, and emotional well-being.