A healthy lifestyle isn’t all about how much salt, sugar, and alcohol you ingest. You don’t have to quit on everything that helps you get over awful days. And you can enjoy the things that make you happy, and still get to live a long life in a healthy body.
A few changes in the way you organize your work, more attention on what you eat, and some exercise can help you take care of your health without all the stress of counting calories and saying No to everything.
Here are ten small changes that can help you to improve your lifestyle and keep you healthy. How many of them are you already implementing in your everyday life?
Respect Sleeping Hours
Not enough sleep can cause a series of health issues, including chronic fatigue and exhaustion. Even if you think you’re doing great with sleeping five hours a night, in the long run, you’re damaging your body and your brain, by not resting enough.
Sleep deprivation (or low quality sleep) impacts your mood and has negative consequences for learning. You become less productive, as focusing on your tasks becomes more and more difficult.
As a guideline, an adult needs to sleep between seven and nine hours a night for overall health and well-being. A night out now and then, yes! Working until midnight five days a week to finish your projects? Not suitable for your health.
Wash Your Hands Frequently
Hand washing can prevent diarrhea-related sickness by 30 percent and respiratory infections by 20 percent. When you keep your hands clean, you don’t just take care of your health, but protect people around you, as well.
Wash your palms, back of hands, wrists, fingers, and nails with water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with plenty of water. Do it as often as you feel during the day. Always wash your hands before preparing food and eating, after using the toilet, cleaning, and handling garbage.
Read Food Nutrition Labels
Many of us put an equal between a healthy lifestyle and eating a specific diet with a name hard to pronounce. The fact is you don’t need to be a nutritionist to make better eating decisions.
You have to start reading food labels. Once you take a few minutes to check the ingredients in your sandwich, you’ll gain more control over your food intake. Here are some elements to avoid:
- fructose corn syrup (HFCS);
- artificial sweeteners, like saccharin, sucralose, or aspartame;
- preservatives like potassium benzoate, sodium benzoate, or BHA;
- monosodium glutamate;
- caramel color;
- partially hydrogenated oil.
Try to reduce or eliminate foods that contain these ingredients. And your body will thank you for that.
Cook Your Meals
Cooking your meals helps you control your food intake, concerning both quantity and quality. As you get to eat at home, you decide the size of your portions and the ingredients you use to prepare your meals.
Healthy eating habits help you lose weight and protect you from obesity and all the health issues that come with it, including diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, or stroke.
Plus, cooking dinner several times a week can help you spend less. When you’re struggling to pay bills, cover your credit card debt, and build a good credit score, fewer expenses with food can refresh your budget more than you think.
Drink More Water and Less Soda
Water improves cognitive function and your athletic performance. Drinking plenty of water helps you improve digestion and kidney function, and has positive effects on your skin and hair.
There’s no such thing as the right quantity of water a person should drink to stay healthy. As a guideline, the Food and Nutrition Board recommends a daily water intake of 2.7 liters for women and 3.7 liters for men. These quantities include the water we take from foods and beverages.
When you feel hungry, replace the salty, unhealthy snacks with fruit. Apples, pears, peaches, grapes, berries, bananas, or any other fruit you like. They contain nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that can keep you healthy and give you more energy for the rest of the day.
Plus, fruits are full of fiber and antioxidants with few calories.
Exercise at least Twice a Week
Everybody knows training is good for health. But we also know how hard it is to go to the gym on a regular basis. If you already have too much on your plate with work, kids, and running errands, adding more items to your To-do list won’t make your days easier or your lifestyle healthier.
Try walking or riding a bike to work instead of taking the bus, or do light physical activity while cooking dinner, for example. Small things a couple of times a week can help you to improve your mood and stay fit with little effort. If you experience leg swelling and pain, make a doctor appointment and see if there’s an exercise that you can introduce to your routine to feel better.
Read a Book
Reading comes with a considerable number of benefits: changes your mood, makes you smarter, improves your memory, and cuts stress. Every time you read a book, you reduce your chances of having a heart attack and developing Alzheimer’s later in your life.
Plus, reading can help you to counter depression and increase self-esteem. You disconnect your brain from daily problems, re-energize and become more positive — all these have an excellent effect on your well-being.
Discover the Power of Meditation
Meditation can help you find a balance in your body’s systems. It helps you focus, reduces stress and makes you happier, among other benefits. Furthermore, meditation can release pain and lower blood pressure, helping you to achieve your goal of having a healthier life.
Meditation is a good method to prevent and cure loneliness, anxiety, depression, as it increases your optimism and emotional intelligence. It can also increase your energy levels and boost your immune system.
Turn off Your Smartphone
Your smartphone stresses you out and drains you. Once in a while, turn it off! Being connected 24/7 adds up tons of stress and pressure on your shoulders. Free yourself from your working tasks and personal duties by quitting on your phone for a couple of hours a month. It’s an excellent opportunity to analyze your lifestyle and make better decisions to improve quality of life.
Every small change on this list can help you improve your habits and make you a healthier person. Choose those that stay in line with your lifestyle and your values. If cooking or quitting soda adds more stress to your life, then doing it won’t bring you the results you’re looking for.
Start with small steps and make one change at a time. Your body and your brain will thrive, and you’ll still be happy with your choices.