When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, the process doesn’t have to be difficult. Most of us think that in order to be healthy, we will have to sacrifice all of our favorite foods, and spend hours at the gym each week. Well, at least that was what I thought in the beginning. The truth is, by making a few small changes to your daily lifestyle, you can begin seeing results in no time.
Healthy eating habits, along with other lifestyle changes will help you to achieve your desired weight, gain mental clarity, and increase your longevity. Below, I have listed ten simple changes that you can make in order to get on track to becoming a healthier you.
Have a drink
By drink, I am referring to water. The majority of us do not take in the recommended daily amount of water. Did you know that your body is 57-60% water? Therefore, water makes up more than half of your body weight. We lose water each day when going to the bathroom, sweating, and even during breathing. Our bodies lose water even faster when the weather is hot when we are physically active, or if we have a fever. If we don’t replace the water we lose, we can become dehydrated.
Move a little
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), exercise can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Exercise also helps to lower stress levels, and improve sleep quality as well as reduce your risk of depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Regular exercise will help to strengthen your bones and muscles and also improve your mental health as well as your mood.
You don’t have to join a gym in order to exercise. Go for a walk in your neighborhood or exercise from the comfort of your own home. There are several workout videos that are available, and you can even find some great workouts on YouTube for free.
Stick to a healthy diet
Add more fruits and vegetables to your daily meals. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help reduce your cancer risk. That is one reason the American Cancer Society recommends eating at least 2½ cups of these foods every day. By choosing brightly colored produce, you get a better mix of vitamins and antioxidants.
Kick that habit to the curb
Tobacco smoke contains many chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. Smoking has been found to harm nearly every bodily organ and organ system in the body and can diminish your overall health. Some of the benefits of quitting smoking include normalized heart and blood pressure rates, improved circulation, less coughing/wheezing, improved sense of smell and taste and a lowered risk of cancer and heart disease. That should motivate anyone to quit – can someone please tell my husband this.
Reduce your sugar intake
Added sugars (like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup) contain a lot of calories without any essential nutrients, which is why they are referred to as empty calories. Excess sugar consumption can lead to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, increased levels of bad cholesterol and increased fat accumulation in the liver, and abdominal cavity, and it can have an adverse effect on your metabolism.
Avoid processed foods
Processed foods are typically loaded with added sugars, and we know that sugar in excess can be harmful to us. Processed foods also contain several artificial ingredients that include preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial flavorings. Not to mention, they are also very high in simple carbohydrates while containing very few nutrients.
Laugh a little
Laughter causes physiological responses that protect your body from disease and helps your vital organs repair themselves. A study by the John Hopkins University Medical School showed that humor and laughter can also improve memory and mental performance. Enjoy a few jokes with your family or friends. Or why not chill out on the couch and watch your favorite sitcom to get a few laughs in.
Shut down those electronics
This is one I struggle with from time to time. Electronics have become a normal part of life in the 21st century, which means that we are exposed to the light that our devices emit. The light exposure from our electronic devices promotes alertness. You should “unplug” your devices at least two hours before bed (this includes going to bed with the television on a timer). This gives your brain a chance to unwind and get ready for sleep.
Regular prayer and meditation have been shown in numerous scientific studies to be an important factor in living longer and staying healthy. According to a Huffington Post article, “individuals who prayed daily were shown to be 40 percent less likely to have high blood pressure than those without a regular prayer practice.” Prayer has also been known to boost the immune system and lower stress levels.
Maintain meaningful relationships
Eat dinner together. Participate in activities as a family. Have a family night each week (encourage your kiddos to choose activities). Attend weekly worship services together. Develop holiday traditions with your family. One of our favorites is to wear pajamas all day on Christmas Eve and watch our favorite Christmas movies.
If necessary, start off with one or two small changes. No matter what you do, do something. Any step you take towards a healthier lifestyle will only help add to your overall health and well-being.
And don’t forget to reward yourself. Hard work with no payoff can be discouraging. By treating yourself every now and then, it will help you to stay motivated as you work towards your goal.