5 Healthy Lifestyle Habits and 5 Steps To Do It
It's never too late to live a healthier lifestyle. Don't push it off, or you'll never start!
You'll say: "I'll start exercising next week." Or "I'll buy healthier groceries next time." Or "I won't indulge in alcohol so much next weekend." But that next time comes and goes, and your health takes the blows again and again. "Keep your vitality. A life without health is like a river without water." - Maxime Lagacé.
We listed 5 Healthy Lifestyle Habits that you might want to consider making part of your life:
1. Staying active
Just 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day is good for maintaining your current health. Not only does being active give you a mood and energy boost, but it also increases the amount of stress-reducing norepinephrine in your body. Schedule a simple workout routine in the mornings or take a brisk walk to a store instead of driving. Some workouts that require little to no equipment include jumping rope, squats, yoga, climbing stairs, and jogging in place. More strenuous household chores such as mopping the floors and yard work also make your blood pump and keep your heart healthy.
2. Healthy eating
Every time you go to the grocery store, you might be wondering which food is the healthiest and still tasty? Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean beef loaded with protein and iron, and whole-grain products are probably already on your shopping list. Ask yourself: "Did it grow in the ground, and did it have a mom?" to steer you on the healthy path. But what should you keep away? Salt and sugar, for one thing. Reducing your sodium and sugar intake will reduce the chances of developing heart diseases, Type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. According to scientists, the American diet typically contains several times the recommended amount of sodium and sugar, which attributes to Americas' high rate of heart diseases and obesity.
3. Drinking more water
We're made up of 70% water, so staying hydrated is pretty important. Our body uses water to maintain essential functions such as regulating temperature and hormones, protecting joints and sensitive tissues, and getting rid of wastes. 8 glasses of water a day is never enough. Health experts determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women. You can easily buy a gallon water bottle and make finishing that bottle throughout your day a goal. Keeping hydrated can also help improve your sleep quality, mental focus, memory, and energy level.
4. Good Hygiene
With life in a pandemic as our status quo, the importance of hygiene takes to new heights. You should already be washing your hands the correct way. Cell phones often carry 7 times more bacteria than your toilet seat, so you might want to wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe from time to time before placing it near your pillow. Avoid touching your face with your hands – our hands get in contact with 3,200 different germs on an average day, some of which can be harmful or infectious. Wear a mask when you're sick to avoid spreading germs into the air. Even when it's just the regular flu and not Covid-19, no one likes falling ill, and you don't want to spread it to people you know.
5. Break bad habits: Alcohol & Smoking
We should always exercise moderation in our lives. Over-consumption of alcohol over a long period heavily reduces your body's natural immune system and can hinder mental functions. On the other hand, moderate alcohol consumption may provide some health benefits, such as reducing the risk of ischemic stroke. Recent studies showed a consistent 25-40% reduction in risk of cardiovascular diseases associated with moderate alcohol consumption. The latest consensus places the point of moderate drinking at no more than 1-2 drinks a day for men and no more than 1 drink a day for women. In the USA, 1 drink is usually considered to be 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits. As for smoking – well, there's simply no healthy amount of smoking. There are many resources and smoking-cessation support groups that help people become nicotine-free.
Now that you decided to build healthy habits, you face the big question. How? Here are 5 rules of turning habits into lifestyles:
1. Refer to the 21/90 rule.
How long does it take you to build a habit? 21 days. And if you keep performing the activity for 90 days, it will become a lifestyle. So if you're aiming to make a healthy habit part of your lifestyle, keep in mind that it won't feel completely natural until you pass the 90-day mark.
2. Arm yourself with alternatives.
If you're a serial snacker, stock your shelves with healthy whole-grain crackers and fruits. Don't feel like running today? Cycle instead. Instead of thinking, "I can't do this.", think "I'll do that instead." Recognize the triggers of a behavior or pattern you're trying to change, and adjust accordingly. Set alarms, download apps, ask your spouse or a friend to check in with you.
3. Break the final goal down into smaller stepping stones.
You can't leap over a wide river, but you sure can hop across the steppingstones. Lifestyle changes don't happen overnight. Sometimes it's not even a linear process. Where running the marathon feels impossible, clear your mind to only think about the next step. Tell yourself: "Just one more. And one more." Celebrating the small victories lets you build up the confidence to tackle bigger challenges.
4. Never "cheat" twice in a row.
It's easy to lose sight of your habit-building when you schedule something new into your busy day or when temptations abound. If you're making regular exercise part of your lifestyle, it may be unrealistic to work out for 21 days straight. You might need to take a break for one day as you attend to other matters. The issue is holding yourself accountable. It's advised that you plan ahead and never let yourself "cheat" two days in a row, or it could be the start of a slippery slope.
5. Keep your limits in mind.
Perfection is an ideal, not a state of being. We're only humans, not robots. So be patient with yourself and accept that we can't always come at things at full throttle. You might experience unease, doubt, and frustration, but it's just part of living life. Success won't be far away as long as you set a sustainable pace and keep your limits in mind.