Everyone has different ideas of what makes someone “healthy,” however, these 12 habits have been shown to be present in the lives of those that are considered healthy individuals for their age. Implementing some of these into your daily routine can improve your overall physical and mental health over time.
It starts with breakfast. You hear it often but it’s important for many reasons. Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism and prevents you from overeating later in the day. Studies also show that adults who have a healthy breakfast perform better at work, and kids who eat a morning meal score higher on tests. If a big meal first thing in the morning doesn’t appeal to you, keep it light with a whole oats granola bar or a bowl of fruit. Just don’t skip it.
The second habit found among the super-healthy is meal prepping. You may have heard of this strategy before. Buying groceries for the week and pre-preparing meals can help you save time and money. By sitting down at the start of the week to consider your goals and needs while you make a well thought out grocery list and meal plan, you can stay focused on your goals and assist yourself in having self control when it comes to deviating from your diet. Do you want to lose weight? Cut back on sugar, fat, or carbs? Add protein or vitamins? Meal prep keeps you in control. You know what you’re eating and when.
Drink water. Lots of it. It can do so many good things for you. Staying hydrated is the main reason this third habit is important but it may also help you lose weight. Another reason to go for H2O? Sugary drinks are linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes. If you aren’t a fan of plain water, you can add flavor with slices of orange, lemon, lime, watermelon, or cucumber. Sparkling water is also low in calories and sugar content.
Take an exercise break. Feeling low on energy? Don’t just grab another cup of coffee — get up and move. Do some deep lunges or stretches at your desk or take a walk outside during lunch. Moving throughout the day is extremely beneficial for you, both physically and mentally. Just 30 minutes of walking five times a week has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
Minimize screen time. If you find that you are constantly checking your phone, set a time to log off and put the phone down. When you cut back on screen time, it allows you to do other things. Take a walk, read a book, or prepare your next meal thoughtfully. Call a friend or family member and catch up. Taking mental breaks from social media and emails can benefit you in the long run.
Learn something new. Acquiring new skills can help keep your brain healthy. By keeping the mind active, you prevent long-term memory loss, cognitive decline with aging and more. 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.
You’ve heard it before but don’t smoke. If you do smoke, cut back and try to quit. Stopping smoking can help you make great strides toward better health. Your body fixes itself naturally. As soon as 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Why wait? Kick the habit, today. Your doctor will be happy to help you get started. Along with decreasing your risk for heart and lung disease, you are increasing blood flow, naturally boosting your mood and can have less headaches, irritability and stress when you stop smoking.
Get to bed at a decent hour and wake up around the same time daily if possible. By creating this habit, you can enhance the quality of your sleep greatly. When your body gets into the routine of “bed time” and waking up at a certain time, your melatonin production naturally begins to kick in. There are almost too many benefits of getting a good night’s sleep 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 maintain weight. Adults should try to get 7 to 9 hours a night.
Train your muscles. Strength training helps your body build muscle and burn fat. Once you strength train, you’ll continue to burn more calories even when you’re resting. Strength workouts can help you lose weight, strengthen your heart, and make your bones stronger. Super-healthy people do strength-training exercises — like weight lifting — at least twice a week.
Go outside. Being outside in the sun raises vitamin D levels, which are 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. One study found that people who strolled in urban green spaces were calmer than people who walked in cities. Finding a way to get outside, even if it’s only a few minutes a day, can boost your over all health and well-being.
Keep your balance. If you’re young and active, maintaining good balance will help you avoid injuries. If you’re older, it will help you stay mobile longer and can lower the chances that you’ll fall and injure yourself. No matter your age, good balance means better muscle tone, a healthier heart, and greater confidence. Yoga and tai chi are great ways to work on it, but just about anything that keeps you moving, even walking, can help.
Be mindful. By meditating or simply sitting in peace for a few minutes a day, you can lower your blood pressure. However you do it, studies show mindfulness reduces stress and can even relieve physical pain. One study found that 8 weeks (2 months) of regular meditation can alter the areas of your brain related to emotions, learning, and memory.
These 12 habits are linked to a healthy lifestyle and can help you become the best version of yourself. Great health is a life-long journey and it starts with you taking time for yourself!
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