Good health isn’t something you achieve overnight. It requires consistent effort and time to develop positive habits. But the time and effort you spend making beneficial lifestyle changes now will yield worthwhile results down the road. Healthy people tend to get sick less frequently. They are also much less likely to develop obesity and other diseases.
The body and mind are integrally connected. According to Harvard Medical School, poor physical health can lead to poor mental health, and vice versa. If you want to enjoy the highest quality of life, start by exercising and properly fueling your body. Here are five habits you can develop now to ensure a healthier tomorrow.
You wouldn’t fuel a brand-new Chevy Corvette with regular unleaded gasoline. Similarly, you shouldn’t fuel your amazing body with junk food. If you do, your overall performance will suffer. A diet heavy in processed, sugary, or fatty foods will eventually cause you to feel sluggish and unwell. You’ll also probably gain an extra spare tire around your middle over time. If you want to look and feel your best, give your body the fuel it requires to function well.
Examples of desirable fuels include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, good fats, and protein. Whenever possible, swap out nutrient-poor foods for better versions. For example, instead of eating a salty fast-food burger, choose more natural sources of protein. When you’re tempted to hydrate with a soda, opt to hydrate with water or greens drinks instead. The more frequently you make such dietary swaps, the more likely you are to develop the habit of healthy eating.
It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. It can help you keep your body lean and limber. It can also boost your immune function so you have an easier time fighting off infections. Finally, regular physical activity can improve your mental state so you’re less likely to feel depressed or anxious.
There are many different ways to stay physically active. Some people love walking, jogging, or running. Others prefer swimming, cycling, and other activities that are gentle on their joints. Some people might hate traditional exercise but love to bring their heart rate up by playing competitive sports. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do for physical activity. The important thing is that you enjoy it enough to stick with it for the long term.
By some estimates, up to 75% of American adults are chronically dehydrated. Whether this number is inflated or not, there’s no question that many people don’t drink enough water. Water is essential for optimal health and is involved in almost all body processes. More than half of your body composition is water, so it makes sense that you need to drink a lot of it. But how much liquid is “enough” for your body?
The most well-known hydration recommendation is 64 ounces of water per day. However, some people may need more than this, especially if they’re very active. A good rule of thumb is to make it a habit to drink no less than 64 ounces every day. However, the more water you lose through sweat, urine, or other body excretions, the more water you’ll need to replace it.
Caring for your mental wellness is just as important as taking good care of your body. Meditation is the practice of improving your mindfulness. Various studies show a link between meditation and decreased anxiety and depression. Meditation is a practice that most people can learn and there are no associated negative side effects. Therefore, this intervention is a great option for people who want to improve their mental health without medication.
There are many different meditation methods out there. Some are simple while others are a bit more complex. For you, meditation may be as simple as focusing on breathing slowly and deeply for a few minutes every day. Or, you might prefer to follow guided meditations online that walk you through a series of relaxing exercises. No matter what type of meditation you choose, make it a habit to glean the long-term mental wellness benefits.
Your body can’t work hard and function at peak levels around the clock. It needs periods of rest to heal and recuperate. When it’s not busy keeping you awake and alert, your body has the opportunity to do other very important things. From repairing damaged cells to fighting off illnesses, your body is hard at work while you’re sleeping.
Most people need at least seven hours of sleep every night to function optimally. Children typically require between 10 and 12 hours of shuteye. Getting less than six hours of sleep every night can wreak havoc on your short- and long-term health. To develop a healthy sleep habit, always go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Soon, your body will grow so accustomed to your schedule that it will become second nature to you.
You only get one body and one mind. You can’t trade them in for newer models if you fail to take care of them. Even if you’ve adopted undesirable behaviors, you can make small changes now that will have a huge impact down the road. Adopt these simple habits today to ensure a healthier and happier tomorrow.