Being healthy refers to being in a state of physical, mental and social well-being. Although, achieving an optimum level of comfort in all three aspects is a challenging thing to do. Most people believe staying physically fit and avoiding diseases as much as possible will make them healthy. However, having a physically fit body but struggling from stress or social anxiety will still mean that you are unhealthy.
Your health generally depends on your daily habits. What you eat throughout the day, the people with whom you are involved, the work you do and other habits determine whether you’re healthy or not. Even though we all desire to be healthy and live a quality life, unfortunately, in our pursuit of good health, we end up taking shortcuts and develop some ill habits. The result is obvious – we end up suffering from various physical or mental ailments and invite multiple diseases to our doorstep.
Before you start feeling bad about it, we must tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way. We do not have to suffer from being unhealthy. Yes, our daily lives can still be daunting and stressful, but by making a few tweaks, we can surely develop healthy habits and progress on the path of achieving long term and durable health.
What are these tweaks and changes that you should make? If you set about looking for information, you will be left dazed by the sea of advice and suggestions that you will find. It will be difficult to analyze where to start from and what actually does matter for you as an individual.
Here we will be suggesting some of the best habits that can help you improve your overall health besides explaining how you can easily include them in your lifestyle.
Increase your Physical Activity & Get Regular Exercise
Exercising has multiple benefits for the body, both physically and mentally. Exercising regularly is the best way to come close to achieving optimum health. According to the Center for Disease Control, exercising enables you to control your body weight, strengthen your bones and muscles, reduces the risk of chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and some forms of cancer as well as increasing your chances of having a longer life.
As reported by the WHO, not getting enough exercise regularly is one of the major factors behind the increasing global mortality rates. It states that insufficiently active people tend to have up to 20% to 30% more risk in mortality rates in comparison to those who exercise regularly. It claims that at all ages, exercising regularly has many more benefits that outweigh any potential harm, like accidents.
Even if you have an extremely busy life and do not get much time for exercising, you should keep in mind that doing some exercise is better than none, and try to do it whenever possible instead of completely ignoring it. Additionally, you can try and get more physically active throughout the day in relatively simple ways. You can try to walk to work, take the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or do your household work yourself to increase your activity and reach the recommended levels.
If you have the time to properly exercise, then you can try and workout for 30 to 45 minutes for 5 to 6 days a week, giving your body a day or two off to rest and recover. You don’t necessarily have to indulge in gut-wrenching and extreme levels of exercising. Even a brisk walk, lifting light weights or doing light cardio sessions should be enough. The point is to make exercising a fun activity instead of taking it as something tough and challenging.
Eat a Healthy Balanced Diet
Our eating habits are generally inclined more towards taste and less towards the nutritional value and the health benefits that we can derive from our meals. As a result, we generally tend to eat more processed, packaged and junk food. This can be very harmful if done consistently over long periods of time.
If you want to stay healthy, then you need to change your eating habits and turn towards eating natural food. You should include as many vegetables and fruits into your diet as you can. These include nutrients, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that have amazing benefits for your body. Moreover, you should avoid having sugary drinks or unhealthy snacks. You can eat nuts and seeds as snacks as they fill you up quickly and provide a lot of nutritional value. (Don’t over do them as they have large amounts of calories too!)
Besides what you eat, you should also look after how much you eat. You should include larger portions of vegetables as they are low in calories and have a good amount of fiber that fill you up quickly and keep your gut healthy by improving your bowel movements. In addition to this, you should eat smaller portions of foods that have high-calorie content and do not offer much nutritional value.
Another good eating habit that you can easily develop is to chew your food well. Often we eat our food in a hurry and don’t chew it enough. Nutritionists recommend to chew each mouthful at least 20 to 30 times before swallowing. Studies claim that it can reduce your calorie intake by about 10% and make it easier to digest.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Getting the required level of water every day is very important, as all our cells, tissues and organs need it to function at optimum capacity. We lose a lot of water through sweat, urine and even breathing, making it more important to refill our tanks regularly. Also, water helps us in removing toxins, it regulates our body temperature, lubricates our joints, maintains regular and balanced blood flow and protects sensitive tissues.
Traditionally it has been recommended that we should drink 8 glasses of water every day. Although this statement is not backed by any medical research. Officially, The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that men should drink about 3.7 liters and women should drink around 2.7 liters of water each day, however, it can depend from person to person.
There are many internal and external factors such as your location, environment, age, diet, physical activeness and health that need to be assessed to understand the required level of water for an individual. One good way of assessing if you are drinking enough water or not is to check your urine. If it is clear and doesn’t smell bad, it means you are well hydrated, whereas a pale and dark yellow color or a foul smell might indicate low levels of water and the need to drink more of it.
To develop the habit of regularly drinking water, you can start by setting up reminders and tracking your water consumption. You can use various apps to help you with this. Similarly, you can try Alkaline Water. It has a pH level above 7 and has a crispier taste that is very addictive. It contains multiple health benefits, especially for your gut. Alkaline Water gets easily absorbed into the body cells and keeps you hydrated for longer periods compared to regular water.
You can try the DYLN Bottle which comes in multiple sizes and color options and has a VitaBead Diffuser that can turn your regular water into Alkaline Water filled with antioxidants within minutes. Since it is easily carryable, it helps in developing a regular water drinking habit, as you can carry it alongside you wherever you go and sip refreshing water.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep holds extreme importance for our body and is crucial for our well being. Sleeping allows the body and brain to recharge, restore nerve networks and be refreshed and ready for the next day. Allowing you to function at your best. Furthermore, sleeping well allows you to stay mentally fit, avoid various diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, stroke and depression amongst others while helping you to maintain your body weight.
Various factors such as age, gender, diet, work and location amongst others play a significant role in determining how much sleep you need in a day. However, it has been recommended by experts that on average, adults should sleep for at least 7 to 9 hours whereas children should get 8 to 10 hours of sleep. Babies should sleep even more, 9 to 11 hours to get their bodies completely rested.
With our busy schedules and addiction to substances such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, most of us do not get enough sleep. Even the addiction to social media that keeps us staring at our phone screens for hours is a bad habit amongst most people today. Due to all of these, most people sleep very late at night, and with work commitments the next morning, fail to get the required number of resting hours.
This leads to issues such as fatigue, lack of focus, various chronic diseases, mental stress, anxiety and depression, lack of focus, forgetfulness and even being unable to perform at maximum capacity throughout the day. When irregular sleep patterns, lack of quality sleep and reduced number of sleeping hours become consistent, then it can permanently damage brain cells and can even be a cause of Alzheimer's in the long run.
It is therefore of paramount value that we get enough sleep in regular patterns. It is a difficult habit to develop, but you can try various ways to encourage good sleeping habits. Methods such as doing regular exercise and making yourself tired, avoiding screens and the blue light they emit, saying no to addictions such as tobacco, alcohol and caffeine at night, maintaining a silent and comforting atmosphere in your room and indulging in peaceful activities such as meditation and massages to de-stress your brain can easily help you to sleep better and develop a pattern that will help you to improve your sleep quality and keep you healthy and active.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet we end up neglecting it most times. Irregular daily routines, not waking early, busy schedules and carelessness are the most common reasons behind people skipping their breakfast. Starting your day without replenishing your body is a very wrong start, and often leaves you with low energy levels to get through the day.
As the name suggests, after the fasting period overnight, it is important to eat well in the morning to break the fast, recharge your glucose supply and boost your energy levels. Research and studies have suggested that people who never skip their breakfast generally have better health, maintain their weight better, have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and have improved ability to stay concentrated and alert.
To develop a habit of eating breakfast daily, firstly you should sleep early so that you can get up the earliest in the morning. Secondly, you need to manage your schedules and make time for eating breakfast. Breakfast diets should be rich in fiber content, proteins, minerals and vitamins, and many dishes can fulfill that criteria and satisfy your taste buds as well.
Including food such as whole-grain cereals and bread, low-fat milk, fruits, yogurt, oats, nuts, smoothies and juices amongst others can make you full, recharge your energy levels, provide you enough nutrients to promote good health and satisfy your taste buds. Which can even make you want to get up and eat your breakfast.
Bad habits are easier to develop whereas good habits are hard to adopt. This is true in every sense of the word. If you want to live a healthy and long life, you need to care about your health and well-being. Giving up bad habits and developing the good habits mentioned above may seem challenging at first.
But by adopting various simple methods, having a strong will and self-consciousness, you can surely make the required changes and move on to the path of good health and quality living. Remember to hold on, keep trying, and push yourself beyond the line towards greener pastures by taking the initiative.