Your health is important to you, and it should be because your life depends on it. Healthy living is the key to happiness, and an exercise routine will significantly affect your mood and mental state. Many people struggle with being overweight or obese, so they have joined a gym or purchased some home fitness equipment because they know that having extra weight affects everything about their lives.
Most of us know the basics, eat less and exercise more. But what does this mean in practice? How can we live healthier lives, feel better and get that sense of satisfaction that comes with feeling like we're doing something good for ourselves?
The following are 12 tips for living a healthier, happier life. Whether you follow all these suggestions or pick one to focus on every week, you'll be sure to notice positive changes in no time at all.
12 proven ways to achieve overall health and wellness
Stop eating junk food
Most of America doesn't get enough fruits and vegetables; about 70 per cent of people don't eat three servings of fruit each day (about 400 grams) and three servings of vegetables (about 350 grams).
Eating more plants and less processed food is one of the most effective ways to take care of your body. If you're serious about making a change, try going meatless for a couple of days a week, at least. If you aren't ready to make a complete lifestyle change, at least make small changes to incorporate 'real' foods into your diet more often:
- Brown rice instead of white
- Whole-wheat pasta instead of regular pasta
- Oatmeal with fruit and nuts as a healthier breakfast choice
Make it a priority to exercise more. For most of us, this means at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Being active does so much for you! Not only does it combat obesity, but regular physical activity also helps treat or prevent many health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.
It doesn't have to be an intense workout in the gym, either. Just take your dog out for walks before work, take the stairs instead of the elevator, go hiking on the weekend with friends...even gardening counts towards physical activity! Try these ten easy ways to sneak some fitness into everyday life.
Get Enough Sleep
We all know sleep is essential, yet almost half of Americans get less than the recommended minimum of seven hours a night. Many studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can have serious health consequences, including an increased risk of developing chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Lack of sleep has also been associated with weight gain, a weakened immune system and a higher chance of death from all causes.
Not only that, but lack of sleep can affect your mood as well as your performance at school or work. Try to aim for around eight hours a night and see how it goes.
Find Your Passion
Having the support of others is incredibly important to living a happier and healthier life, and nothing beats having a healthy and fulfilling passion in life. Many studies show that people who have power in their lives tend to be more positive, less likely to develop heart disease, stress-free , feel close to other people, and generally satisfied with life. Many studies also show that those passionate about what they do make better parents too.
So whether you want to learn French (or already speak it), are into origami, want to create the next bibimbap or are just passionate about life itself, give it a try and see how it goes.
Turn Your Fitness Into A Game
By turning physical activity into a game, you can make exercise more fun and motivating. For example: try timing yourself while running (and then try again later to beat your record) or compete with friends who can get faster times with the same exercise. You can also play sports to get your body moving, walk or bike at a quicker pace, jump rope more often or spice up your usual workout routine.
Mind Your Health
Having a chronic condition is no easy feat. It takes work to manage the symptoms, monitors the disease, and keep it in check to significantly impact your life. However, many people don't bother taking their medications properly because they don't see immediate results or are afraid of causing side effects.
But here's what you might not be aware of: most conditions are manageable if you take care of yourself by staying active, eating well, monitoring your symptoms and working with your doctor to find the best treatments.
Your skin is a pretty good indication of how well you're sleeping, as it gives lots of clues as to what stage of sleep we're in. If you want more energy during the day and feel refreshed after waking up, try getting enough sleep so your eyes aren't puffy and there are no dark circles under them.
Being thankful can have many positive effects on our health, such as regulating blood pressure, reducing anxiety and simply making us happier! It might seem like keeping a gratitude journal is only something people do in those cheesy self-help books, but it has many benefits.
There are many ways to practice Gratitude, including keeping a journal, talking about what you're grateful for with other people, or simply counting your blessings as they happen. Try writing down three things you're thankful for every day and see how it changes your perspective.
Take It Easy
Ensure not to overdo it when exercising by checking with your doctor what the right amount of physical activity is for you. Being physically active is very important for your health, but there's no need to overexert yourself. Remember that exercise can be anything from walking around instead of taking the elevator to play, so make sure to mix it up.
Keep Your Mind Active Too
Your brain might be the most important muscle of all (that you never work out), and it needs some exercise too! Keeping your mind active can help reduce the risk of developing cognitive decline, memory loss and other mental health problems like anxiety or depression. To do this, you can try learning a new language, reading more books (or listening to audiobooks), playing board games, doing puzzles etc.
Try Something New
Find something completely new that gets you excited about life. It could be big or small depending on what makes you happy but sports, gadgets, travelling or any other activity you like could all be good ways to bring in some novelty and make life more enjoyable.
Be Kind To Yourself
Lastly, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to learn how to love ourselves completely and unconditionally. It sounds cheesy, but it's essential; when you're kind and compassionate with yourself, it'll rub off on others too! You can start by congratulating yourself for waking up today or doing something worthwhile, giving compliments when they're due (and when appropriate), and above all, learning not to judge your thoughts and feelings.