These 5 Habits Will Help You Live a Healthier Lifestyle Today
As World Health Day approaches, many of us may feel overwhelmed by the constant barrage of conflicting advice about how to achieve optimal health. In today's fast-paced world, living a healthy lifestyle can often feel like navigating a maze. You're constantly bombarded with ads and opinions, and it's hard to know what advice to trust. But the truth is, you don't need to overcomplicate things to gain optimal health and feel your best. In fact, it can be as easy as following these five simple rules.
Habit 1: Eat a Balanced Diet (and Don't Forget Your Multivitamins)
Eating a balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do for your health. And, no, we're not talking about some fad diet that tells you to cut out carbs or only eat grapefruits for a week. We're talking about a diet that includes plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats. You can start by making small changes to your eating habits. Swap your chips and dip for fresh veggies and hummus, or choose a whole-grain wrap instead of white bread. Aim to include at least one serving of veggies in every meal and snack, and try to eat a variety of colours to make sure you're getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
And, while we're talking about nutrients, you can also take a daily multivitamin to help fill in any nutrient gaps and give your body the extra boost it needs to function at its best.
💚 Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal immune system
💚 Magnesium contributes to reduction of tiredness and fatigue
💚 Biotin contributes to maintenance of normal hair and skin
💚 Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle function
Habit 2: Get Moving and Exercise Regularly
Moving your body regularly is key to living a healthy lifestyle. Exercise not only helps you maintain a healthy weight, but it also reduces your risk of chronic diseases, boosts your energy levels, and improves your mood. However, incorporating regular exercise into your routine can be a challenge.
The good news is that exercise doesn't have to be complicated. Start by finding an activity you enjoy, whether it's dancing, swimming, hiking, or even just taking a brisk walk around the park. The key is to make it something you look forward to and can stick with long-term.
Once you've found an activity that you enjoy, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. If you're short on time, try breaking it up into shorter sessions throughout the day. For example, take a 10-minute walk during your lunch break, do a quick yoga routine before bed, or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Habit 3: Catch Some ZZZ's
Getting enough high-quality sleep is essential for both your physical and mental health. Sleep allows your body to repair and recharge, helps regulate your hormones, and supports your immune system. However, with busy schedules and constant distractions, getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night can be a real challenge.
To prioritise sleep, create a relaxing bedtime routine that works for you. Start by making your bedroom a calming oasis. Ensure your mattress and pillows are comfortable, the room is cool and dark, and minimise any noise or distractions. You should also try to avoid using electronics or engaging in stimulating activities in the hour leading up to bedtime. Instead, wind down with calming activities, such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practising deep breathing exercises. This can help better regulate your body's internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up feeling rested.
If you struggle with falling or staying asleep, a magnesium supplement can go a long way! Magnesium plays a crucial role in the body's relaxation response. It can help calm the nervous system, regulate the heart rhythm, and promote muscle relaxation, all of which can help you sleep better.
Habit 4: Create some time for yourself
Taking time for yourself is a crucial habit for leading a healthy lifestyle. With so many demands on our time and attention, it can be easy to neglect our own needs. However, self-care is essential for our physical and mental well-being.
So, what exactly does “me time” entail? It’s different for everyone! It could be as simple as reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or going for a walk in nature. Whatever it is that brings you joy and helps you unwind, make sure to schedule it into your day.
Another important aspect of self-care is learning to say no when you need to. It can be tempting to take on too many obligations or say yes to every request, but this can lead to burnout and resentment. By setting healthy boundaries and knowing your limits, you can prevent overcommitting and prioritise your own needs.
Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself, either. Remember, you deserve it! It’s an act of self-love and self-respect. By making time for yourself and setting healthy boundaries, you will be better equipped to handle life's challenges and enjoy all the benefits of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Habit 5: Stay connected!
The final habit to incorporate into your daily routine is to stay connected with loved ones and friends. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life and forget to nurture important relationships. However, staying connected with others is crucial for maintaining good mental health.
Studies have shown that having strong social connections can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety, increase feelings of happiness and well-being, and even improve physical health. So, it’s definitely important to spend time with the people who matter most to you.
This doesn't necessarily mean constantly being on the phone or social media. In fact, it's important to disconnect from technology and truly be present with those around you. Plan a regular coffee date with a friend, schedule a weekly family dinner, or join a club or group that aligns with your interests.
Riya Lakhani ANutr is a registered nutritionist and health writer with a special interest in plant-based nutrition. She has completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Human Nutrition, and has developed a passion for writing about all things plant-based.